Money & Retire

How to Become a Second-Career Teacher

Teaching has emerged as perhaps the most popular encore career path, and would-be teachers now have several new resources to help them get prepared.

EducationDegree.com lists more than 20,000 teacher education degree and certificate programs throughout the U.S., allowing users to search by specialty, state or type of degree. The California Teachers Corps, as part of its effort to place 100,000 new teachers by 2020, has identified 70 alternative-certification programs in the state.

Joe Deal, who developed a similar site for second-career nurses, spent most of the summer building EducationDegree.com. “The database behind it is pretty large. It was quite a bear to put together,” he said. For individuals seeking encore careers in teaching, Deal recommends visiting the alternative certification page, which lists fast-track programs.

EducationDegree.com includes lots of tips, background information about the history of alternative certification programs and teacher training programs, including Teach for America, which is attracting more older applicants.

Deal used the same compilation method that he used to build BecomeRN.com, his guide to second-career nursing programs. Remuneration works the same way as the nursing site, with some schools paying a small referral fee.

He advises checking with the Department of Education in the state where you wish to teach to verify certification requirements and to find out what other states might honor its teaching certificate. “It’s staggering how many variations in degrees there are,” he noted.

The California Teachers Corps lists both district- and university-based programs that provide alternative routes to teacher certification in all 58 counties in California on its Web site. In 2007-2008, half of all math teachers credentialed came from these programs. A location map on the site makes it easy to connect with a program coordinator in the area where a prospective teacher would like to become certified.

Another good resource is the Masters in Education Guide, which lists more than graduate education programs. It also contains interviews with current students, job resources, informative articles and state-by-state certification information.

Courtesy of Encore.org photo from Shutterstock.com

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