Teaching is, without a doubt, one of the most admirable careers you can go into. Given that this choice means literally shaping the minds, passions, and pursuits of the next generation, you could even say that this it’s right up there with medical pursuits.
The trouble is that, with teaching more so than with many careers, there’s more than just one clear path for you to take. It’s therefore not unusual to be at a total loss as to what type of teacher you want to be.
By this, we don’t mean your chosen teaching style, although that obviously matters as well. More, we mean whether you want to teach pre-school, high school, or higher education. These are key distinctions, and knowing which path is right for you can be harder than you might imagine.
That’s why we’ve put a few key considerations to help you, once and for all, settle on the right teaching tier.
Let’s be frank – the salary on offer is always going to get a look in here. Admittedly, most people do teach for love because this isn’t the highest-earning option at any level, but salaries do vary across the board. The best chance you have at settling on an amount that suits is, therefore, to do your research. Take a little time to uncover the average college professor salary compared with primary level pay and think about which would work best. Speak with teacher friends about any potential extras to boost your pay, and consider whether they see you leaning in any one direction.
Admittedly, salary considerations alone aren’t enough alone, as the hours and work necessary for each role also varies. But, developing a ballpark figure for each tier can still prove fantastic as a starting point. Then, you simply need to hold these amounts up against our other points to make your final choice.
Educational requirements are also a vital factor. After all, each teaching tier requires a slightly different level of studying from you. This can impact everything from how much you have to spend before getting your qualification, right through to how long it’ll be before you can get started.
Luckily, this is a far easier issue to understand. In most instances, for example, primary workers require the lowest degree tier, while requirements increase right up to college level, where subject-specific degrees are often expected as standard.
Once you have this information, you’ll be best able to research the specific educational paths necessary, considering everything from student costs through to course durations. You’ll even be able to check whether you could study alongside a placement or other such position that sees you earning as you qualify. Each of which is a significant indication of how realistic a path may prove.
The hours on offer
Spare some thought, too, for the hours on offer. In all their guises, teaching positions tend to be full-time, but variations still exist. For instance, a primary school teacher will have full control over a group of children all day every day, while a high school teacher may get some free periods. This goes right up to a college professor, who may only have to host two or three lectures each week. Admittedly, you will also need to consider the time spent marking, etc., which typically works the opposite way. Either way, knowing your stuff can give you a better understanding of which commitment would best suit your availability, and also which salary is best for the number of hours you’ll work.
The age group you feel comfortable with
It’s also vital you don’t underestimate the importance of considering which age groups you’d feel most comfortable teaching. After all, kids are likely your leading reason for breaking through here. With that in mind, the best salary isn’t going to make up for an age group that doesn’t suit your motivation. If you’re looking to inspire kids early, for instance, primary level is likely your best shot. If, however, you’re looking for more intellectual conversations with students who already share a passion for your subject, college is a no-brainer.
There really is no right or wrong in the starting stages of teaching, so make sure you consider these fundamentals before jumping into a position that doesn’t suit. Bear in mind, too, that teaching can often work out as a progressive career. You just need to get your foot on that ladder so that you can start climbing and inspiring, at last.