If you’re thinking of going to college and pursuing a major in education, or are considering returning to school for your master’s in education, you may be interested to know that specializing can often make you more employable. In a sea of lay-offs, it’s often those teachers who have specialized degrees that are safe. If you want to be a teacher, or you already are one, here are five unique teaching opportunities that you may wish to pursue:
1. Special Education
While some colleges still label the degree as “Special Education”, many are switching to the more accepted vernacular of “Intervention Specialist”. As an Intervention Specialist, you can further concentrate in mild to moderate, or moderate to severe, depending on the type of children you want to work with. To earn a degree as an Intervention Specialist, you’ll spend four years in college and, if your school district requires it, two years in graduate school.
Math teachers are in high demand thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act. The act mandates that teachers in public school classrooms are highly-qualified; meaning that they have to have both a bachelor’s degree and state certification in the subject that they are teaching. In some areas, highly-qualified math teachers are so desirable that there are sign on bonuses for those that are considered to be such.
If you don’t know what ESL stands for, it’s English as a Second Language. These teachers work with students for whom English is not their native language. Many of these students in America come from Puerto Rico or Mexico, though some may come from Asian and European countries as well. To become an ESL teachers, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in education, a basic teaching certificate and a certification in ESL.
Just as with math teachers, science teachers are in high demand. You’ll need to have a desire to work with middle school, junior high or high school students, but teaching future scientists can be extremely rewarding. If you are considering teaching science as a career, think about specializing even further in the areas of chemistry and physics. There is expected to be a significant shortage of math and science teachers by the year 2015, as current teachers begin to retire. If you’re considering going to school for education this fall, specializing in science virtually guarantees you a job when you graduate.
While it’s not a specialty, being willing to teach in an urban, or under-funded settings, could ensure that you are employed for a very long time. If you are dedicated to the idea of helping, and reaching, young people, teaching in an impoverished area may be your cup of tea. In addition to the rewards you will reap from this type of setting, you may also qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. The program will pay up to $17,500 of your student loans. Some districts, in addition, will pay you to go back to school to earn your master’s degree, in exchange for your continued teaching within the district.
If you’re considering teaching as a career, don’t let the news of budget cuts and lay-offs shy you away; teachers will be needed as long as there are children to teach. To be safe, however, you may want to consider specializing in one of these areas. If you have a love of children and a desire to change the future, you’re heading down the right path.
Nicole Morgan is a mom and career counselor, she blogs for mastersineducationguides.org where you can find information about masters in education programs. She enjoys finding unique career opportunities for her students!