Grad, Undergrad

Getting an Edge in the Teacher Education Market

Few careers are as rewarding or as challenging as those in school teaching. Every class presents an opportunity to make a difference: to encourage, inspire and shape a student’s future. Teaching has never been an easy profession and, in many ways, today it’s more demanding than ever. But for those who are called to teach, it is a career with far more pluses than minuses. Teachers tend to view their profession as a vocation, not a job. They take enormous satisfaction in sharing their knowledge and helping young people realize their potential. Day in and day out, teachers see the results of their efforts. Choosing a career as a school teacher comes with many advantages.

Personal Fulfillment. For many teachers, what matters most is the opportunity to have a positive impact on their students. Every time a student grasps a difficult concept, wants to explore a subject in greater depth, or becomes a little more confident, that’s a victory for a teacher.

The Opportunity to Specialize. Teachers are experts in the subject of their choice. They are lifelong learners, committed to knowing and sharing everything they can about their particular discipline. Areas of specialty include biology, business & marketing, chemistry, Chinese, computer science, Earth science, English, English to Speakers of Other Languages, French, general science, German, Latin, mathematics, physics, social studies, Spanish and technology.

A Different Experience, Every Day. Teachers typically have four or more classes of students — and no two classes or students are alike. “There are always new challenges to tackle and new puzzles to solve,” says Catherine Snyder, Ph.D., Chair, Clarkson University Department of Education. “As a teacher, you will never be bored, and you will make a difference.”

Family-Friendly Schedule. Although teachers work hard in the classroom and typically bring work home, they often have a schedule that’s similar to that of their own children. That can make it easier to juggle family obligations and plan family holidays and vacations.

The need for innovative teachers has increased significantly in recent years and will continue to grow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of high school teachers is projected to grow about 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, matching the pace of all other occupations. Continued growth in the teaching field will be driven by several interrelated factors. As more teachers in the baby-boom generation retire, the need for classroom-ready, qualified teachers will accelerate. Increased enrollment paired with a push for smaller class sizes will also mean more and more opportunities for teachers.

Additionally, it is clear that changes in curriculum emphasis along with the addition of more courses in specific subjects — primarily in the sciences, computer science, business & marketing, technology, engineering, math and languages such as Chinese, Spanish and Latin — will require more teachers with specific subject matter expertise. Demand for more college-level instruction in secondary schools and increasing standards of classroom quality also continues to create opportunities for highly qualified teachers. Increased numbers of immigrants means the demand for English as a new language teachers is rising.

Today’s teachers are in high demand in the U.S. job market, with options available in public, charter, magnet and independent schools for highly qualified, certified teaching professionals. Teachers have more opportunities for leadership and advancement later in their careers with options to pursue administrative positions, act as mentors and model teachers for novice colleagues, and serve as instructors in teacher preparation programs.

There are significant differences among master’s in teaching programs, so it’s important to identify those that exemplify best practices.

Here are some guidelines when considering master’s in teaching programs:

Quality and experience of program faculty. The strongest programs excel at teaching both specialized content and pedagogy. Faculty should include professors who are gifted teachers and subject-matter experts, as well as instructors with extensive hands-on experience as secondary school teachers.

Emphasis on classroom time for prospective teachers. “The more time a prospective teacher spends in the classroom, the more experienced, more skilled, and more marketable he or she will be,” says Catherine Snyder, Ph.D., Chair, Clarkson University Department of Education. Master’s students, who complete a mentored residency in a school classroom for a full school year, graduate ready to teach from day one. “Department chairs tell us it’s like hiring a second-year teacher,” Dr. Snyder says.

Accreditation. Accreditation is the primary means of assuring and improving the quality of higher
education institutions and programs in the United States. Before committing to a teacher preparation
program, be sure it is fully accredited by a federal Department of Education-endorsed accrediting body. Clarkson’s teacher education programs were the first in New York State to be accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation.

Certification exam results. High-quality programs prepare their students to pass state certification
exams and make those test results available to the public.

Job placement support and success rates. Top programs provide comprehensive job placement services, helping students identify opportunities, develop cover letters and other communications, and prepare for high-stakes interviews. Top programs also share their job placement rates with prospective students, and report data on all their graduates.

As with most attractive professions, the job market can be competitive, a factor that aspiring teachers should consider when choosing a master’s in teaching program. Graduates of high-quality programs tend to have the edge.

So, moving forward, what characteristics should you be looking for in a teaching program?

  • A dual focus on comprehensive knowledge of a particular discipline and the study of teaching and learning (pedagogy).
  • Dedicated faculty who have extensive classroom experience.
  • A residency that provides the most in-depth preparation possible.
  • Excellent passing rates on certification exams.
  • Impressive job placement results.

The Clarkson University Department of Education offers master’s programs developed specifically for students who aspire to be among the best school teachers in their field. The first education program in New York State to offer a one-year mentored residency, Clarkson University provides unparalleled teacher preparation. As a result, our graduates routinely outperform their peers — in their job searches and in their classrooms.

To help prepare today’s secondary school teachers, Clarkson University offers a Master of Arts in Teaching in the sciences, mathematics, technology, computer science, business & marketing, English, social studies and several languages. Clarkson also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. This degree leads to a career teaching students in pre-K through 12 grade.

  • You have a bachelor’s degree in a subject of interest to you, but no prior teaching certification.
  • You wish to share your knowledge through creative lessons that build critical and creative thinkers.
  • You want a program that combines strong content knowledge, the study of teaching and learning, and a one-year mentored teaching residency.
  • You aspire to be among the best, most qualified teachers in your field.

To learn more about Clarkson University’s graduate education programs, visit clarkson.edu/academics/graduate/education-department.

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