WRITTEN BY Kian Northcote • 8 min
Kian Northcote is a freelance journalist and writer with a background in education.
The economic fallout from COVID-19 resulted in job losses on an unprecedented scale last year, with some industries not expected to recover for years.
As a result, we’re seeing more people than ever transition into careers that are likely to offer both stability and the potential for future growth.
Education is one such sector.
Job opportunities in online learning have soared during the pandemic.
At the same time, the ongoing national teacher shortage means there is a need for educators in the real world and the virtual.
So, if you love learning, enjoy a challenge and are excited by the idea of making a difference in the lives of young people, a career switch to teaching could be ideal!
There are many reasons why pursuing a career in education this year makes sense.
Let’s get started by unpacking the following questions:
- Why is teaching recession-proof?
- Do I need to return to college to qualify as a teacher?
- Is it important to have transferable skills?
- What subjects are most in-demand?
- What kind of benefits do teachers enjoy?
1. Why is teaching recession-proof?
Although educators have experienced their fair share of instability over the past twelve months, we have not witnessed the same level of job losses as in many other professions.
There is one key reason for this: the rise of online learning.
Education is extremely adaptable, and it was already well-equipped for the digital age before the pandemic struck.
Since then, we’ve seen record levels of investment in educational technology (Edtech), with greater emphasis on making the transition into online education as seamless as possible for both students and teachers.
Technology will continue to improve and integrate with traditional face-to-face learning, which will also encourage more educators to invest their time in online platforms.
But that’s not all!
Teaching is largely recession-proof because many teachers are protected by unions like the American Federation of Teachers.
Being a member of your local union makes it much harder to terminate your employment because you’ll have access to someone who understands your legal rights and can advocate on your behalf.
That’s a pretty big deal when you consider how few rights a lot of employees have in our ever-expanding gig economy.
Plus, it’s worth remembering that even during a period of economic downturn, children still need to receive an education, and schools will need to safely re-open over the coming months.
So, even if you’re making the switch into teaching later in life, you’re going to be moving into a resilient industry that offers both stability and room for growth, even during times of economic uncertainty.
That’s why so many graduates are now exploring career opportunities in the teaching profession.
2. Do I need to return to college to qualify as a teacher?
Traditionally, the only way you could become a public-school teacher in the States was by completing a four-year degree in Education at a recognized university, even if you already completed a degree.
But alternative teacher certifications have modernized the process by offering college graduates who are passionate about pursuing a career in education a direct route to full certification.
Plus, this route is more time and cost-efficient.
Online teacher certification programs like Klassroom’s take the concept of accelerated learning one step further by allowing core modules to be completed online, which means you can learn at your own pace and fit your studies around your lifestyle.
Here are three additional benefits to alternative teacher certification:
1. Better organization: The more personable nature of online learning helps instructors give more constructive feedback, while instant access to online tools can improve overall lesson quality.
2. Convenience: Students can save valuable time and money on travel costs while the problems caused by lockdowns and school closures are greatly reduced.
3. Concentration: Learning in a classroom environment can be distracting for both instructors and students. Studying online can help improve your overall focus.
The emergence and increasing popularity of online certification programs is another great reason why now is the perfect time for a career switch to teaching.
You can take advantage of affordable tuition without sacrificing quality.
Our Teacher Certification Program (TCP) is fully accredited and can be completed in just nine months.
3. Is it important to have transferable skills?
Are you worried you might not have what it takes to succeed in teaching?
One of the great things about retraining as a teacher is that you probably already have many transferable skills such as:
- Conflict resolution
These are all great personal assets to have if you’re serious about pursuing a career in education.
But it’s also worth thinking about your current role and the skills you’ve acquired that could serve you well in the classroom.
Do you often need to meet deadlines?
Do you have experience in project management?
Are giving presentations and writing reports key aspects of your current job?
These skills and many others are relevant to the teaching profession and will benefit you tremendously if you decide to pursue a job in the education sector.
Another advantage of switching into teaching from a previous career is that you can bring real-life experience into the classroom.
Your knowledge and unique insight into what it takes to succeed outside of school will be invaluable for students who are already facing a hyper-competitive job market.
4. What subjects are most in-demand?
There are many career opportunities in the teaching profession right now, largely due to our shortage of qualified educators.
And although there is a real need for teachers in most subjects, exact requirements can vary from state to state.
You can use the Department of Education website to identify nationwide shortages across the country.
Here are three subjects with a high demand for qualified teachers.
Yet, despite the obvious need for more specialists in this field, there is a shortage in almost all school districts.
The problem is most keenly felt in California, where recent studies have revealed there are now more than 700,000 students with learning difficulties across the state.
At the same time, enrollment in teacher preparation courses has dropped by a staggering 70% over the past two decades.
The specialized nature of the role means you need specific skill sets, and you can learn more about what the job entails right here.
The sudden shift to online learning caught a lot of us unprepared, but school leaders and local districts now understand just how important EdTech is and why both students and teachers must be well versed in all things digital.
There will be a growing demand for computer technology teachers in the coming years as students and schools prioritize industries that are moving online.
Check out this useful resource on working as a computer technology teacher.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
There are now more than 5 million English language learners in schools across the nation.
Although ESL-related degrees are more popular than ever, there still aren’t enough qualified specialists working in schools as demand continues to outweigh supply.
In the past, English language teaching was often overlooked by a lot of aspiring educators, but with salaries for experienced practitioners now exceeding $65,000 in public schools, it’s no wonder more graduates see ESL as a viable career option.
5. What kind of benefits do teachers enjoy?
Teachers work hard… that is a fact.
Some might assume that educators clock out at 4 pm along with their students and get most weekends off, but the reality is very different.
A lot of your free time will be dedicated to lesson prep and other administrative duties, while professional development programs often occur during the school holidays.
Having said that, teachers still enjoy some excellent benefits, which makes a career in the classroom all the more tempting.
A stable salary, healthcare, a pension and long holidays are all good reasons for exploring career opportunities in the teaching profession.
And it’s no exaggeration to say that because we will always need teachers, you’ll effectively have a job for life.
How many other occupations can say the same?
If you are now seriously considering a career shift to education, there’s one more thing you really need to take note of.
Although teachers qualify for state pensions, this is generally tied to your length of service and earning history.
It’s common practice for teachers who’ve moved into the profession later in life to boost their retirement funds by supplementing their state pensions with defined contribution plans as soon as they are able to.
You should definitely think about doing the same if you embark on a teaching career.
Teaching is both challenging and rewarding
If you’re planning a career change and are coming from a very different field to education, your first few years in the job may seem like a challenge.
Don’t let this scare you or hold you back!
It takes time to develop a strong resource bank, and attuning yourself to your students’ needs can be tiring.
But the rewards are always worth it.
The chance to mould future generations in a profession where you can make a genuine difference and the benefit of job stability makes teaching a great option going forwards.
Contact us today and take the first step in your new career.