Teachers have the potential to change the lives of their students. That fact alone is what calls most people to a career in education. For some, that call comes early in life. For others, it comes after spending years in a job only to realize later that they want to make a career change to teaching.
That second group includes mid-career professionals who may no longer feel motivated and inspired by their current positions. They want to use their talent, skills, and experience to help guide and inspire future generations. And they come from every profession – scientists, journalists, healthcare. business people, child care manufacturing, retail, and the tech industry. Their backgrounds are different, but they all share a passion for helping students achieve a better life through education.
The transition can seem daunting for those who want to make a career change to teaching. But it doesn’t have to be. Professionals with a bachelor’s degree in any discipline can apply to a Master of Education program at Marian University. These include two online degree programs, the MA in Education Focus on Teacher Education (With License) and MA in Education Focus on Special Education (With License).
Through these programs, career changers learn to become successful teachers, eventually earning their teaching licenses in Wisconsin.
“We’ve designed the MA in Education programs in a way that makes it perfect for career changers. That includes a focus on supporting them as they learn the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they need to make the transition,” said Dr. Kimiko Ott, Associate Dean/Chair of the Marian University Education Department. “Teaching is a profession that has always welcomed those who have worked in other careers. They often make outstanding teachers because of the real-world experience they bring to the classroom.’
Skills Needed to Make a Career Change To Teaching
Any life decision that involves leaving the security of what a person knows is fraught with anxiety and maybe even a little fear. For those who want to make a career change to teaching, it’s especially intimidating because of the job’s importance.
However, the teaching profession offers many rewards that motivate professionals to enter the classroom. These rewards include making a personal difference in the lives of children and teens, educating future generations, removing barriers to learning, and helping them become productive members of society. Teachers also play a crucial role in supporting the local community.
An Indeed article highlights the traits of good teachers:
- Patience, kindness, empathy, diligence, dedication, and adaptability.
- An ability to impact students’ lives by modeling effective communication skills, respect for others, sharing, and positivity.
- A dedication to the local community.
- Enjoy new tasks and challenges every day.
- Deriving a sense of fulfillment in watching students learn and grow.
- A willingness to incorporate engaging technology into the classroom.
Indeed also emphasizes that variety is one of the attractions of teaching. Teachers can focus on teaching math, science, language arts, history and social studies, art, music, theater, and physical education, among other subjects.
Demand for Teachers Is High
Because of their professional experience, mid-career professionals (as well as military veterans) can bring maturity and confidence to the classroom. They also offer a different perspective that can benefit students. That’s why many states encourage teaching for professionals seeking a career change.
The demand for teachers remains high in many places. In Wisconsin, the Department of Public Instruction says schools face historic teacher shortages. Some public officials seek ways to motivate people toward a teaching career, including raising pay. The average salary for a teacher in Wisconsin reached $61,440 in May 2021.
“I think that we have to do everything humanly possible to make sure that we are recruiting the best and the brightest minds to educate our children,” State Sen. LaTonya Johnson told PBS Wisconsin.
What Career Changers Learn in an MA Program
The MA in Education programs at Marian University provide a smooth path for making a career change into teaching. The 100% online programs allow professionals the flexibility to learn the skills and knowledge they need to succeed as a teacher while working full-time in their current job.
Marian University provides MA in Education students field experiences in the licensure program, offering the opportunity to learn in real-world settings. Students learn how to plan, teach, and assess for learning in various curricular disciplines: reading, language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics.
Students spend time in the classroom, observing teachers and studying their instructional decisions, approaches to the planning-teaching-assessment cycle, classroom management, and differentiation strategies.
MA in Education students also participate in student teaching, a semester-long field experience during which students take on increased responsibility for small groups and a whole class. The experience includes planning and teaching differentiated lessons and units of study, assessing student learning, and creating an inclusive, relevant learning environment through culturally and linguistically responsive practices.
Throughout their time at Marian, career changers receive dedicated support from the university’s Education Department. For example, Marian helps online students not currently working in a school find an appropriate school for field experience and student teaching. Pre-clinical and clinical students receive timely, constructive feedback from their university supervisors and cooperating teachers. During the final phase of the program, student teachers are observed four times and participate in seminars and coaching sessions that support growth and self-confidence in essential teaching competencies.