Transitioning From the Military to Teaching

Soilder greeting a child

Military members who have become teachers have established a good reputation with school administrators and principals. A survey sent out to 1,000 principals regarding teachers who have come from the military indicated that 75% were ranked "above average" or higher. Another 17% ranked "average." School districts are finding that former military members are valuable assets in the classroom, bringing leadership skills, concern for students, and a great deal of life experience to the job. Schools are also seeing higher retention rates with former military members than teachers who just finished college. The cultural diversity of the military is a bonus, as former military teachers come from a variety of backgrounds. Schools are looking for more male and minority teachers at the elementary level, positive role models to help fill the void for fatherless children.

Members of the military with a baccalaureate (B.A. or B.S.) degree or higher are eligible to begin the teaching certification process to become an academic subject teacher. Many service members may already qualify to become a vocational/technical teacher. Military members only need the equivalent of one year of college and six years of experience in a vocational or technical field to begin the certification process to be a vocational/technical teacher. To complete the process, members of the military can use an Alternative Certification Program (ACP) or University Teacher Preparation Program. Military

members in Europe may benefit from an ACP, since this method offers online courses to obtain a teaching certification.

Alternative certification programs, such as the Military Career Transition Program (MCTP) at Old Dominion University are innovative and supportive. Approximately 90% of students entering the MCTP program have earned bachelor's degrees, while 45% have earned masters' degrees. The average age of candidates is 42 years old. Several essentials for successful military career transition programs include: collaborative efforts, effective advisement and counseling, placement efforts, career follow-up, excellent instructors, and continuous program evaluation. Current information on MCTP is provided to military members throughout the world via the MCTP home page.

MCTP students must meet the university's general education requirements, as well as state course requirements in their certification areas. The number of courses that constitute training varies depending on the candidate's experiences and academic record. Typically, after earning a B.A., students earn licensure and a master's degree with eleven courses in addition to six credit hours and six weeks of student teaching. MCTP students take the Miller Analogies or Graduate Record Examination for admission. In addition, all students take PRAXIS I. They also take a writing examination early in their studies. At the end of their training, students must pass their PRAXIS II (specialty test) and a comprehensive examination. Upon completing all exams and successfully passing all coursework, students submit their cumulative folder for licensure approval.

Military members can use tuition assistance for their teaching certification while on active duty. Members may also be eligible for financial assistance for teacher certification expenses. A commitment to teach for three years in a "high-need" school district or at a high school with a high percentage of low-income families is part of the requirements for receiving some forms of financial aid.

There are 33 state TTT (Troops To Teachers) offices that offer assistance in 45 U.S. states. Offices can assist military members with state certification requirements. Service members can take advantage of the TTT Web site,, to correspond with representatives and receive alternative certification information.

Before starting a program, check on what your state's requirements are. Teacher certification is done state-to-state, not nationally. But some states recognize other states' certifications. Teaching positions are available at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in all states. There is a higher demand for math, science, and special education teachers.

After you are certified, you are ready to begin your job search. One of the keys, when searching for a teaching job, is including in your resume all of your transferable skills as they relate to teaching. You don't want your resume to look and sound like a military resume. Include your job goal, your educational background, your work experiences, any teaching experiences you have had, and the transferable skills you have, such as leadership, team building, organizing, and disciplining skills. An excellent resume will get you many job interviews.

We have written many resumes and cover letters for those clients transitioning from the military to teaching and they get results! We target jobs in the area in which you want to teach. We can provide mock interviews that train you how to get a job offer by putting your best foot forward!


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