Transitioning From the Military to Teaching
Do you wish to transition from the military to teaching? Over the last 16 years, I have helped many military professionals make a career change to education successfully.
In fact, there is a strong record of military members obtaining teaching positions in the education sector. School districts often find former military personnel to be an excellent asset in the classroom as well as in helping to build leadership skills among students. If this sounds like the change you want to make, learn how to make a career change to teaching by using your military skills set.
Military members who have become teachers have established an excellent reputation with school administrators and principals. A survey sent out to 1,000 school 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, discipline and strong work ethic, concern for students, and lots of life experience to the job.
Schools are also seeing higher retention rates with former military members than teachers who just finished college. Military members tend to be extremely dedicated and have a great work ethic which translates into staying longer in a position than the average college graduate.
The cultural diversity of the military is also 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 in particular – schools want more positive role models to help fill the void for fatherless children and children who are looking for teachers with whom they can identify.
How Do You Make a Military to Teaching Transition Easier?
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 at the K-12 grade level. You will simply need to gain teaching certification either through a master's program or an alternative certification program.
Many service members may already qualify to become a vocational/technical teacher if that is your goal. 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.
If you don't have an education degree but want to teach…
Alternative certification programs, such as the Military Career Transition Program (MCTP) at Old Dominion University are innovative and supportive options. 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 teacher 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.
Financial Assistance Options
Embarking on such a large career change can be scary and expensive. Thankfully, there are some viable options available to help trim the costs. 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 to military personnel who are looking into transitioning to teaching in 45 U.S. states. Offices can assist military members with state certification requirements. Service members can take advantage of the TTT (Troops to Teachers) website, to correspond with representatives and receive alternative certification information. This is a great resource that can be immensely helpful through the process.
Do your homework before getting started
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. Before selecting your teaching area, make sure that there is demand for it. You don't want to go through the whole process to find out no schools are hiring for your teaching area.
What happens after you get certified to teach?
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 that relate to teaching. Aside from your teaching qualifications, your transferable skills will play a significant role in enhancing your employability. You don't want your resume to look and sound like a military resume. Remember to include education terminology, as well as highlight any teaching-related skills, experiences, or duties. Including the right keywords in your resume and cover letter is vital to get past the applicant tracking system software to ensure you land an interview. As you know securing and acing an interview is what will make your transition from the military to teaching successful. Read this website to find the quickest path to making a career change to education.
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, training, supervising, and disciplining skills. An excellent resume will get you many more job interviews.
We have written many resumes and cover letters for those clients transitioning from the military to teaching and they get results! Learn more about what we offer on our home page; we offer tons of services aside from writing resumes for teachers. 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!