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Home  > Article

Moving up the Academic Ranks

By Experience

Teachers who want to take on more responsibility will find that advanced and/or specialized degrees are often required.

 
After three years, teachers have the opportunity to become permanent faculty members at a school, rather than work on a contractual basis.
 

The Inside Track 

There is no "typical" promotion track in teaching. In fact, many teachers find their work so rewarding that they prefer to continue teaching for an entire career rather than "advance" outside of the classroom to a Department Head or administrative position. Those who do want to move up the educational ranks or take on more responsibility will find that advanced and/or specialized degrees are often required. Experienced teachers have access to a variety of interesting and education-related opportunities beyond the school system as well.

School-based Career Opportunities

Entry and Mid-Level Positions

Certification and Degree Requirements

Length of Term

SalaryRange or Average

Classroom Aide

A high school diploma is often sufficient, although an undergraduate degree is helpful.

Aides remain in this position between one and three years.

$10-16K

Public School Teacher

Certification and exam requirements for public school teachers vary by state and local school districts. However, a bachelor's degree, including student teaching and completion of a teacher education program, is usually sufficient for initial certification and entry-level opportunities. A Master's of Art and Teaching degree, however, will increase your chances of landing a job, as well as your potential salary. Some states require the masters for second-stage certification.

Public school teachers are eligible for tenure after three years. Once granted tenure, most teachers continue to teach until they switch fields or retire.

$20-30K without master's

$25-45K with master's

~50K maximum

 

Private School Teacher

A bachelor's degree is often sufficient.

Many private school teachers remain in their position for a two to three years, get their masters' degrees, and then move to public school teaching for higher salaries.

$12-25K

Special Education Teacher

The ideal degree is a Masters in Special Education, which provides certification in two areas: Teachers of Children with Special Needs (pre K-9 or 5-12) and Teacher of Children with Intensive Special Needs. In a longer program, you can earn dual degrees that certify you for both special and regular education.

Some special ed. teachers teach until retirement, while others burn out quickly--there is no "typical" term of service.

$25-40K

ESL Teacher

While most institutions do require some type of teaching experience and/or certification, there are some low-paying opportunities for recent graduates with only a bachelor's degree (preferably in English or a foreign language) and little or no teaching experience. The ideal degrees for this profession, however, are a Master of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) or a Master of Education (M.Ed.).

Since this position requires a special degree, ESL teachers tend to stay in this position until they switch careers or retire.

$19-30K

 


 

Upper-level Positions

Certification and Degree Requirements

Length of Term

SalaryRange or Average

Department Head

Department Heads are usually former teachers who have acquired a Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.) in the particular area or discipline of their specialty.

After several years in the position, some Department Heads advance to the schools administration staff, while many are content to remain in this role that allows them to continue to teach.

$35-50K

Vice Principal

Masters of Education (M.Ed.) or Masters of Educational Administration (M.Ed. in Administration).

Many Vice Principals aspire for a Principal position, but must often transfer to another school for such a promotion.

$50-58K

Principal

At least a M.Ed. or M.Ed. in Administration. A Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) or Ph.D. is helpful, though not required.

Since there are only so many Superintendent positions available, this is where many administrators choose to end their ascent. Many remain Principals until retirement age.

$60-70K

Superintendent

At least a M.Ed. or M.Ed. in Administration. A Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) or Ph.D. is helpful, though not required.

This is the top rung of the local education system ladder. Many Superintendents hold their position until retirement.

Public school district average salary: $94,229

 

Master's of Art and Teaching Degree

Otherwise known as the MAT, this degree automatically grants students state certification to teach. The Provisional Certification degree requires only six months of student teaching. Most undergraduates majoring in education receive their provisional degree upon graduation, which typically enables them to teach grades 9-12 in one particular subject area (e.g. history, English, science, or math). The Standard Education Certification, on the other hand, is more comprehensive and involves a yearlong internship program. The standard certification allows recent graduates to teach early childhood, elementary, middle, or high school--but just one particular age group. In regards to middle and high school teaching, graduates are certified to teach only one specified subject area.

Tenure

After three years, teachers have the opportunity to become permanent faculty members at a school, rather than work on a contractual basis. Tenure is granted to teachers who have received positive evaluations throughout their first three years; in some school systems, teachers must present a project as well. Tenure offers teachers long-term job security.






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