Teaching Careers Off the Beaten Path

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on April 28, 2011

According to the College Board, teaching careers will be some of the hottest careers for college graduates through 2018. Teachers of all kinds – elementary school, postsecondary school – will be in great demand throughout our current decade. There are also teaching careers off the beaten path which you might not have considered. If you're interested in being a teacher but you'd like to go about it in a different way, one of these careers might be just right for you.

ESL and EFL Teacher

If you'd like to go the multicultural route, consider a career as an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher or an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher. The demand for ESL and EFL teachers is growing, both in the U.S. and abroad. ESL teachers instruct students in English so they can live and work in environments where English is the predominant language. EFL teachers, on the other hand, teach English to students as a foreign language, much in the way native English speakers are taught French without intending to live or work where French is the main language that's spoken. To become an ESL or EFL teacher, you'll need to earn a Bachelor's degree and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification.

Vocational Teacher

You might want to look into a career as a vocational teacher if you're interested in teaching young people the skills of a trade. Vocational teachers, sometimes called career and technical education (CTE) teachers, work in middle schools or high schools and prepare students to enter the workforce after high school graduation. Some vocational teachers work in career-focused secondary schools. Subjects taught by vocational teachers are wide-ranging and include such diverse areas as cosmetology, agricultural science, child development and automotive repair. If you're interested in becoming a vocational teacher, you'll need to earn a Bachelor's degree, preferably related to the subject which you want to teach. Next, you'll need to complete a teacher training program and seek licensure that meets the requirements of the state where you'll be teaching.

Special Education Teacher

If you would like to help guide and instruct young people who have disabilities, check into a career as a special education teacher. Some special education teachers work with toddlers and young children, while others work with older children and teenagers. Students can range from those who have mild learning disabilities to those who have severe cognitive or emotional disabilities. Special education teachers often work in elementary and secondary schools, but others work in facilities especially for young people with special needs. If you want to become a special education teacher, you must earn a minimum of a Bachelor's degree, and in some states, a Masters degree is preferred. In all states in the U.S., special education teachers must be licensed, though requirements vary from state to state.

A teaching career will give you a unique opportunity to make a significant difference in people's lives by helping them gain the education they need in order to fulfill their potential.


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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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