Careers in Education
The field of education offers a wide range of career opportunities for liberal arts graduates both within, and outside, the classroom.
Getting Started: Three Visions
The job search process in the field of Education does not have to be a daunting task. Follow these steps below to get started:
Create three visions for yourself: when you think about the year(s) following your time studying at the university, what are three versions of yourself that you can imagine:
- Ideal: where do you see yourself located? Which populations are you serving? What type of people are you surrounded by? Which types of tasks/projects/activities are you engaged with? What might you be exploring (inside and outside of the workplace)?
- Best Alternative: if the Ideal Vision is not available to you at this time, what other version of you comes to mind? (This is not the ‘safety plan’ or the ‘back burner’ idea – this is something you are equally excited about, but it is different from your Ideal Vision). Use the same questions listed above in the ‘Ideal’ vision to flesh out your ideas.
- Wild: what if you could explore something that feels and seems really out there? What does that look like for you? Use the same questions listed above in the ‘Ideal’ vision to flesh out your ideas.
Target Employer Lists & Networking
After you’ve completed the vision exercise, develop your target employer list. Look for 5-7 organizations/employers that align for each of your visions (i.e. 5-7 for Ideal, 5-7 for Best Alternative, and 5-7 for Wild). Once you’ve identified names of the organizations/employers that initially seem of interest to you, find the following information for each:
- Contact: use peer networking lists, LinkedIn, Yale Cross Campus, and CareerShift (located in your Yale Career Link account) to identify a specific person to reach out to at the organization/employer. This can be a Yale alum, a recruiter, or someone else entirely.
- Recruiting timeline: does the organization hire on an as-needed basis, or is there a specific time of the year?
- Facts: identify key information about the organizations – what are their goals? missions? needs? Which trends are they following?
Make time to host informational interviews with contacts at the organizations that are of interest to you.
- Yale’s Office of Career Strategy offers clear guidance on informational interviewing. Spending 30-minutes on a call with a contact can give you essential information you need to perform well in the job application process. Nuanced information that is shared can often inform your cover letters, resumes, and other application materials (including essay responses and writing samples). Take extensive notes while speaking with contacts, including current and former employees.
Different Roles in Education
Within education, teaching is the area most often thought; however, there are opportunities in education administration, curriculum development, governance and leadership, and educational research and policy. An individual can choose to work within a public or private education setting, and it is not uncommon for young professionals to start their career in the classroom as a teacher, then use the knowledge gained from their teaching experience to expand into other professional roles in education.
Read the articles posted below on different job functional roles and environments to learn which skills are needed and which areas might be best suited for you. Or, access the articles here:
The Yale Education Studies Program (EDST) provides robust guidance and resources on obtaining Teaching Practice, including volunteering through clubs and local organizations, obtaining a formal teaching internship or part-time job in New Haven, engaging in international summer teaching, and post-graduate pathways into the teaching.
Join an EDST mailing list to receive news about informational gatherings and education-related opportunities:
Yale’s Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning also provides resources for the teaching profession.
Education Alumni Community: Are you a Yale student or alum who is interested in connecting with fellow Yale students or alums who have worked in, or currently work in, Education? Be sure to visit the Peer Networking Lists in your Yale Career Link account and join the LinkedIn ‘Yale Careers in Education’ group.
Teaching in the U.S. & Abroad
There are several pathways to become a teacher in the United States:
- Teacher certification through undergraduate degree programs – this path typically includes 1-1.5 years of coursework and practicum training at a higher education institution
- Master’s Teacher Preparatory – students enroll fulltime in Education-related Master’s programs that are specifically for the teaching profession and typically take 1-2 years to complete
- Alternative Certification Programs – each state in the U.S. is different; however, similar components include: coursework and training with fulltime teaching commitments, on-site/on-the-job mentorship, and tuition coverage for a Master’s degree or teacher certification upon completion of a 2-5 year commitment
- Private School Teaching – typically, certification is not required, and some schools may have on-site housing/boarding availability for teachers
What to consider when determining which teaching certification path is right for you:
- Location – certification to teach is granted on a state-by-state basis with little reciprocity. Be sure to consider the location (city vs. rural, state, geographic proximity to future opportunities or needs, etc.)
- Cost of alternative certification – some states offer state-run alternative certification courses and practicum training, but it might come at a financial cost
- Training – consider the length of time programs offer training (depth vs. breadth), and learn which programs emphasize subject-matter training verses behavioral or discipline-based training
Several organizations are positioned to hire and train students, or recent college graduates, to engage in the teaching profession outside of the United States. Examples include: Peace Corps, Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, and Yale China Teaching Fellowships.
Public Service: Responsible Engagement
For those interested in public service work, whether that be through structured internship programs, post-graduate employment, community service, or volunteer work, it’s important to think about what responsible engagement looks like.
Review this page on Planning Public Service Projects to learn more about what responsible engagement looks like and how you can develop a plan that aligns well for you and the community you are hoping to serve.