(Closed) Career Change…to Teaching. Teacher Bees I Need You!

posted 4 years ago in Career
Post # 2
210 posts
Helper bee

MrsHalpert:  Hi!

I went from working in property maangemnt to being a teacher…I live in southern cal however, when I got my licence back in 2011 we were still in the throes of government cut backs down here.  In other words they werent hiring teachers until this year basically.  But, the thing is every single state is different with their requiremts etc.  Personally, I feel like there should be a national credential that a teacher can get that would allow them to teach in any state without having to be recertified every single time they teach in a different state.  But with the whole hoopla about “states rights” they will most likely never let this happen.  THey have national board certification now…but it doesnt really mean anything…it just means you went through a program with that name lol.

That said most staes, most likely AL, will allow you to teach in the subject area you have a BA in without taking state subject matter tests.  In CA you must take the college coursework pertaining to education 9the courses a educationmajor woul have taken), so meaning enter a credential program, which usually takes 1 year or so to complete if you have already obtained your BA in something else besides education.  The teaching cred program is bascially psychology and classroom mangement type courses.  During that time you shadow a teacher for a few months and gradually take over their class as a teacher…that is usually the last step in the program.  Some states where there is a greater need will issue emergency teaching credintials to people with BA degrees…it really just depends:)  You might want to call your School District and talk to HR for direct answers for the area you live.  Oh and lots of credntial programs are offered as night classes so you can work up until you have to do your shadowing a teacher (student teaching).

As far as teaching goes, it is a very underpaid, underappreciated profession but incredibly fulfilling for the right person:)  People don’t realize how many hours are spent lesson planning after work hours, emailing/talking to parents, attending workshops, and paying for things for your class out of your own pocket.  Not to mention these days we also have to deal with the possability of gun violence in schools.  Of course…being an educator is a pretty good job for a mom or someone with kids bc you are generally off work when your kids are i.e. summer vacation.  Lets pray they keep the great benefits/retirement that has always gone hand in hand with this career:)  We need great teachers, and we are losing so many these days…..Hope that helps alittle…and feel free to ask anything else if you have questions. XX

Post # 3
210 posts
Helper bee

Ahhh and my undergrad degree was in Journalism/Broadcasting and I was just shy of two courses to have a minor in education…but when I did my teaching credential program it was 10 yeras after completing my Bachelors so I would say it really had  no bearing on anything.

My mom is a retired teacher…she taught kindergarden for 40 years:)  SO I’ve kinda heard the good, bad and the ugly on education my whole life.

Post # 4
11110 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

MrsHalpert: I was like you so went and did it and realised it wasn’t fully me and I in fact wasn’t using my networking skills anymore. Answers to your questions below.

Have you transitioned to teaching without having studied education. Yes

 If so, what was your degree in, and how did you transition to teaching? Business. I went back to uni for a year and did a PGCE in secondary education to teach Food Technology

What are the pros/cons of teaching?

Pros; Teaching nice kids, empowering, making a positive impact on so many lives

cons; can take the horse to water but you can’t make it drink, slyness from kids, behaviour, marking and planning

What do you love and what makes you want to quit? Love – the pros stated above, behaviour made me quit

Post # 5
8471 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

There are no pros….DO NOT BECOME A TEACHER!

Post # 7
3236 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

I’m a high school English teacher, and I definitely have days where I come home and start looking online for other jobs I could do. I also have days that are great where I honestly feel like I reached my kids in some way. Behavior is definitely what keeps me reconsidering most days. I love working in education, but I don’t think I’ll retire as a teacher. 

Post # 8
158 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I transitioned to teaching from construction while studying physics in college. I did a teaching credential/masters program and was adequately prepared leaving the program.  I had no problems finding a job in 2010 in CA, but I teach in a high demand area (high school science). Things I love: summer break, spring break, winter break ๐Ÿ™‚ hilarious conversations with my high schoolers, sharing my passion of physics, opening their eyes to the world around them, inspiring them to go to college. Things I hate: the politics, the grading, the planning, the grading, the poopy money, being underappreciated. Good luck making the decision…teaching is definitely not for everyone and it is easy to get burned out! Especially with common core coming!

Post # 9
1262 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

I got my BA in anthropology and bartended after college. I decided I  needed to do more with my life so I stumbled into teaching. I was unprepared for it but I rose to the occasion because I had such a deep respect for education and academia in general.

I teach first grade in an urban school. I also bartend on the side. It’s a lot of work especially since I am working on my masters degree in early education. But it’s very rewarding. 

I suggest you not go into the field unless you truly want to teach. I have seen way too many teachers hit burnout  (myself included) And it isn’t pretty when it happens. Be prepared to constantly deal with dynamic changes in the classroom, the school, and state standards. I don’t know one teacher who hasn’t had to recertify or get new certification depending on the changing laws. It truly is a career that you have to be dedicated to and being a lifetime learner yourself.


Post # 10
103 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

To answer your questions, yes, I’m another one who got a teaching certification without a background in education. I did one of the first “master’s leading to initial certification” programs in my state (this was about eight years ago), which was intensive and only took one year instead of the two that a traditional master’s takes. The program itself wasn’t hard; it just required you to work and study most of the time. Up until a year or two ago, these programs were super popular where I live and a bunch of people I knew ended up enrolling in them with no education experience whatsoever. So it isn’t terribly unusual to enter the field having done something completely different before.

Alabama may have different rules (I’m thinking it does) but in my state, teachers are required to hold a certification in the subject area they plan to teach and the only way you can get that is through completing a teaching program at an accredited university. Other states will let you teach any subject as long as you can pass the PRAXIS in that subject area. That seems like the way to go! Research the requirements where you live and see what prospective teachers are expected to do to become certified.

As far as the prod and cons, I think others have pretty much summed it up. The obvious pro is feeling like you’re making a difference in your students’ lives. The cons…well, in my opinion there are many. I’m not currently teaching and don’t plan on ever returning to K-12 public education so please know that my viewpoint is biased; however, I will say that the main reason I quit was the politics and the fact that teachers are held personally accountable for somehow magically making each and every student perform like Einstein. It’s extremely unrealistic and demoralizing to expect so much from one person when common sense tells you that 1) not all students have the same abilities and aptitudes, and 2) even the brightest kid in the world won’t perform if s/he does not want to. Apparently it’s even worse now because I hear all my teacher friends complaining about it and the ones I know are leaving the profession in droves. Even my dad, a 30-year veteran teacher and counselor, is retiring a few years earlier than he originally planned. If you’re super dedicated this could be good news for you, because it will mean you could have your pick of jobs instead of it being like it was six or eight years ago when competition was stiff and those who weren’t in math or science had a hell of a time securing a position. Again, I know I’m biased and I’m one of those people who works to live and not the other way round, so when I found a job that paid more with none of the stress or responsibility I was outta there. But I do encourage you to think this all the way through and talk to some education professionals about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Best of luck to you!

Post # 11
3026 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014 - Prague

I got my teaching credential at age 30 in one year. Teaching is fantastic. A lot of work, tears and sweat, but so worth it!

I taught in California for 10 years (Reading Teacher and then ELD teacher) and now I’m a Middle School EAL teacher at an International school. I don’t regret it a bit!

Post # 12
2223 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

MrsHalpert:  I’m going back to get my Master’s in Education in a few weeks! I taught for one year after college (elementary school ESL), but the school and age group just wasn’t the right fit for me. Because I already have background in the subject I wanted to teach (history/social studies with a focus on teaching ELLs), the program will only take me a year. Since you have a BA in English, you could do the same, if you wanted to teach English.

Every state is different, though, so really look into what is required to get a teaching license in your state. For example, in MA, where I live, you can get a Preliminary License to teach without a background in education, which I have in ESL. The only problem is, (basically) no one will hire you with that – every school wants teachers with AT LEAST an Initial License, which requires either a BA or Master’s in education. Massachusetts is a lot stricter/tougher than most states, though, so you might have better luck getting into teaching without a degree/certification under your belt in Alabama.

Post # 13
333 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011


I’m a UK bee so i’m not sure how much specific information I can give you as i’m sure its very different process here to in the US but I can share with you my experience. 

Have you transitioned to teaching without having studied education?


Yes, I did a traditional, unrelated three year undergrad and then a MA, again in an unrelated area. I had been working in a different public sector before retraining as a elementary teacher.

-If so, what was your degree in, and how did you transition to teaching?

In order to transfer to teaching here I did a 1 year intensive PGCE course (post graduate certificate of education). It is fairly common route to teaching here in the UK athough there are other options.

As I am teaching elementary, it didn’t matter what my original degree was in. If I had trained to become a high school teacher, i would have needed to teach the subject my degree is in, in your case English Lit/Language. 

-What are the pros/cons of teaching?

Pros: In general, I love the kids i teach. I love seeing them grow and learn. I enjoy the creativity that comes with elementary school teaching. I love the long holidays ha!

Cons: It is a massively undervalued profession. I regularly work 70+ hour weeks and I still dont get everything done. It can be very frustrating therefore when a child doesn’t make ‘enough’ progress and you are blamed by parents/public/ofsted (Uk governing body for education) – you kind of think to yourself, I literally dont see my own kids because I spend 6 hours a day bringing up your child and another 6 hours a day planning how I am going to make them absorb anything! I dont know about the US but in the UK, the government is making a lot of changes to education and the paperwork involved is getting to the point where is is detrimental to us teachers doing our jobs.

Overall, I think teaching is a job you have to love. I describe it to others as like being a single parent to 31 children – you spend all most of the day teaching them how to be human beings and spending the rest of the day worrying about said children ha! Its not a 9-5, come home and switch off kinda job.

Post # 14
8471 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

MrsHalpert:  Just like sarahalthea said, you have to truly want it in your heart. If you have any ounce of well I’m not 100% sure I want to teach, don’t waste your time.  Children are not brought up properly, you have 25+ different personalities to put up with, not to mention their parents, you are frowned upon when your test results aren’t what they want it to be, no matter how hard you try to make things right in a given situation, it’s never enough, parents actually believe their lying little devils as opposed to a grown adult with a degree…. The list goes on.  You really have to have something special inside you, in my opinion, to basically “survive” being a teacher.  Oh, and the work you put into this job doesn’t match the peanuts you get paid. 

Post # 15
556 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012


 “you have to truly want it in your heart. If you have any ounce of well I’m not 100% sure I want to teach, don’t waste your time.”


<br /> MrsHalpert:  I became a teacher in California when I was 30. My degree is in chemistry and I was actually in a graduate program for chemistry when I made the switch. California requires a “5th year” beyond a bachelor’s degree so I did one year of full time studies to get my license. I teach kindergarten in Arkansas. I LOVE IT! I cannot imagine doing anything else. Switching careers to teaching is one of the best choices I ever made. I love that everyday is different and I love this age of kids. I seriously have fun everyday. But it is really hard. Last year I hated my principal and my school and I almost left the profession because if you’re not in the right situation it is HARD! You really have to be committed and have a passion for it. This year I love my principal and I like my school my love for teaching is returning.

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