Putting Your Education Degree to Work

Whether you're still working toward your education degree or you've already received your diploma, it takes some planning and effort to find your niche in the education field. First of all, you'll need to be certified if you want to teach in a school setting. Certification differs by state, so check out the certification process for the state in which you want to teach. Your college advisor or peer group can help you gather the information you need.

Finding your first teaching job

Where should you begin your job search? What about at the school where you student-taught? If you enjoyed your experience there and, more importantly, the school's administrators and teachers were impressed with your attitude and abilities, you might end up with a job offer. But if your experience at the school where you student-taught was less than pleasurable, relax. Other resources are available.

The most obvious place for an elementary, middle, or high school teacher to begin a job search is at the college placement office. However, don't underestimate the Internet and newspaper employment sections as sources for job openings. There's a very high turnover in the education professions, and sometimes school districts are desperate to fill vacant positions. The quickest way to reach job seekers is through the want ads and Internet job search engines.

Finding a job as a principal or superintendent

If you hope to become a principal or superintendent, you'll have a lengthier road to travel. The typical price of entry into these career paths is an advanced degree. Once you have your advanced degree in hand, however, you'll need to work yourself up the career ladder to your desired position.

Almost all principals have a master's degree. In addition, every state requires principals to acquire a license in school administration.

If you want to become a principal, chances are you'll begin your professional career as an assistant principal. Take the opportunity as an assistant principal to learn as much as you can; you'll receive some valuable on-the-job training that you'll be able to take to your job interviews for subsequent principal positions.

Superintendents are another story. Most superintendents begin their careers as teachers before moving on as assistant principals and principals. If you want to become a superintendent, you'll need good contacts; many superintendents are hired from within the school district.