How To Know If A Career In Education Is Right for You
By Brian Soika
Are you thinking about becoming a teacher? Are you wondering if an administrative role in education is a good fit for you? It’s one thing to like the idea of helping students succeed or working behind the scenes in a K-12 or higher education setting, but it’s another thing to commit to a long-term career.
Work in education can be highly rewarding, but it also comes with challenges and may require a master’s degree or doctor of education program if you aspire to a senior position. If you’re trying to clarify your professional goals, here are some signs that you may be ready for a career in education.
You’ve Been Inspired by Teachers
Do you have a favorite teacher or professor that still inspires you, perhaps years later?
From elementary school instructors to college enrollment managers, many education professionals were inspired by teachers as students. If you’re driven to positively impact students’ lives (the way your life was impacted), then education may be the right path for you, whether it’s through instruction, conducting research, or driving change through policy.
You Want to Lead
Many people who pursue a career in education want to take an active role in supporting students. As a teacher, this includes leading a classroom. Every day, you are responsible for guiding learners, and are largely accountable for their academic achievement in the subject that you teach (no small task).
As an administrator, you can lead at institutional levels. Depending on your position, this might include tasks such as shaping curriculum, setting admission practices, or overseeing a school district. These types of positions have a lot of responsibility as they affect a greater number of students, and may impact teachers and other administrators as well.
You’re Open to Grad School
While it’s not a requirement for every role in education, graduate school may be a smart idea if you want to boost your job eligibility. Enrolling in a doctor of education program can prepare you for high-level positions, and if you pursue an EdD degree, you’ll gain valuable leadership training as well.
Similarly, a master’s degree will likely help you advance in your desired area. For example, in a master’s program, teachers learn important instructional theory and get classroom experience, while someone interested in enrollment management or academic advising can study with experts in the field. Plus, you can build your professional network, which may increase your career opportunities.
Here are just a few positions for which a master’s or doctoral degree can prepare you:
- Teacher (elementary, secondary or higher education)
- School superintendent
- Enrollment manager
- Educational counselor
- Instructional designer
- Academic advisor
- Director of student affairs
There are many factors to consider when trying to decide if a career in education is right for you. In addition to your desire to lead and openness to graduate school, your decision may ultimately come down to how much you value learning. If you passionately believe that education is a powerful tool that should be available to everyone, then you may have found your calling.