Is teaching a good career?
A pathway to success if you’re interested in molding young minds
You need a career. The country needs teachers. It seems like a perfect match.
If you’re undecided about which career to pursue and like kids, you should consider teaching.
Making the decision to head down any career path is an important one. You’ll want to weigh carefully the reasons for it and the reasons against. Your education will costs a considerable amount of money, and your choice will affect every part of your life.
You’ll want good, solid information about why people pursue teaching. You'll also want to know what salary and benefits are typical. Finally, you'll want to know the path you'll need to follow to obtain teaching credentials.
From teacher candidate to teaching your own class, you'll be supported every step of the way. Discover what teacher education looks like at Central Michigan University.
Why become a teacher? 5 reasons to think about
People choose a career path for a lot of different reasons. Some people look for the highest pay. Some people want to work near their hometown. Some want to make a difference in their community.
What reasons do people have to pursue the teaching profession?
Here are five reasons to consider teaching. The answer to whether you should become a teacher might be one of them.
- Teachers help shape young minds. Outside the home, most children spend more time around their teachers than any other adult. That means as a teacher you have an opportunity to provide them with a role model and help shape who they become.
- There is a good demand for teachers. At the start of the 2023-24 academic year, 45 percent of all public schools reported teaching vacancies. At the start of the 2021-22 academic year, there were at least 1,228 open teaching positions in Michigan.
- Summers provide a relaxed schedule. Summers provide a great opportunity to further your education and take part in new, exciting professional development programs.
- There are lots of opportunities to show off your creativity. Your classroom is yours to express yourself while creating an atmosphere right for kids to learn.
- Teachers are experts in their subject areas. You don’t just become an expert in how to teach children, you also need to know about the subjects you teach. That means learning a lot about something that interests you and applying it every day.
How much do teachers get paid?
Lots of people pick their career based on the salary they can expect. People have lifestyle desires or loans to repay. Some people want to buy homes and start families.
While teaching isn’t the most lucrative career to pursue, especially in the first years, teachers receive regular raises and can earn a six-figure salary over time.
Most teachers earn between $46,480 and $101,710, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many teachers work in states where they receive health care and an annual pay raise for most of their careers. There are also retirement programs and every state has education unions, which could provide other benefits.
Education loan forgiveness for teachers
Teachers are required to have a college education. The is such a demand for educators that the U.S. Department of Education has generous student loan forgiveness programs for teachers.
One program provides for the complete forgiveness of student loans after 10 years of successful payments. The promise of loan forgiveness to qualifying teachers provides a significant incentive for teachers to stay in the profession for the long-term.
Another program provides for the forgiveness of up to $17,500 in direct or Federal Stafford loans for people who teach secondary math or science at a qualifying school for five full years. Up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness is available for teachers in other disciplines.
This program is available for people who taught in qualifying school districts at least one year after the 1997-98 academic year.
Teachers in low-income schools can also pursue the forgiveness of Perkins Loans.
In addition, some states have their own loan forgiveness programs.
How do I become a teacher?
If you’ve decided to pursue a teaching degree, the next question is how you become a teacher.
Almost every route to teaching requires earning a bachelor’s degree, especially for a public school teacher. Most states also require that you complete some kind of teacher preparation program. Michigan is among them.
Talk to a guidance counselor to learn what your home state's requires. If you plan to move to another state, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper credentials to teach there.
What kinds of teacher preparation programs are there?
Most states - including Michigan - require that you attend a teacher preparation program at an approved college or university. A teacher preparation program provides direct training about how to teach and interact with students.
Most of them also have a hands-on requirement traditionally known as student teaching. Graduates leave college as subject matter experts trained in the latest teaching techniques, and have hands-on classroom experience.
Traditional teacher preparation programs require a bachelor’s degree, student teaching and successful passage of a certification test.
Michigan has two additional non-traditional paths to earning teaching credentials.
The first is for students who already have a bachelor’s degree but who have decided that they want to go into teaching. Students pursuing this option can share their extensive knowledge in a subject area in a classroom. It’s also a practical option for people who want to change careers but who don’t want to complete another full degree program.
The other allows people to obtain a temporary certification while they work towards full certification. This option allows people who need to work to start doing so while they complete their course work. It can offer an effective way to start a teaching career because it balances real-world experience with theoretical learning.
Once you complete your teacher preparation program, your state might require a final test to qualify for teacher credentials. In Michigan, that test is the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification.
Teaching is a rewarding career that provides an opportunity to shape the minds that will lead tomorrow’s world. It offers lots of opportunities for personal and professional growth.
It might not pay as well as other careers, but you can earn enough to live a comfortable life and have considerable time off during the summers. You can also find ways to have your student loans forgiven.
Becoming a teacher isn't as simple as graduating from college and applying for jobs. Most states require that you complete an approved teacher preparation program.
The good news is there are currently plenty of openings. Schools across the country need teachers.
Central Michigan University’s accredited Office of Educator Preparation Programs can provide you with the information necessary to pursue a teaching career. CMU was founded as a teacher’s college in 1892 and is still known for its teacher preparation programs.