Education: Teaching Careers
Being a teacher is most commonly associated as the way to enter the education sector, for education careers outside of teaching, you can find resources on our page about Education Careers Outside of Teaching.
In this section, you will find information about:
- How to pursue careers in education
- How to acquire a teaching license at Columbia
- Alternative licensure programs
- Teaching abroad
- Careers outside of teaching in education
- Resources on-campus
How to get started: Acquiring a License:
Teaching is a challenging and rewarding career where your work directly impacts the lives of the students you teach. While certifications for teaching were more rigid, now there are many alternative licensure programs as well as fellowships that help students not enrolled in education degree based programs become teachers in public schools.
However, different types of schools and schools in different areas will have different pre-requisite requirements and needs; however, this will look at traditional licensure methods as well as alternate licensure programs (such as Teach for America).
Columbia Specific Resources - Education Program (Through Barnard)
http://education.barnard.edu/ - While Columbia does not offer education as a major, Columbia has a partnership with the education department at Barnard for students interested in receiving a teaching certification and license to teach in New York State. Students can apply in their sophomore year to begin the program in junior year which involves 23-26 credits in addition to their major, which needs to be in the subject they look to become licensed in (English, Social Studies, Math, foreign language, Science etc.).
Students will have 100 hours of coursework and 200 hours of student teaching in order to finish the program. The Barnard Education program partners with NYC public schools where students can get student teaching experience in their senior year.
For more information about the Barnard Education program, click here. http://education.barnard.edu/
Alternative Licensure Programs
All states require teachers to have some form of certification/licensure before they are hired. In many states college graduates who have not completed a standard program getting a degree in education during undergrad, may still become teachers through alternative licensure programs.
There are many programs (both nationally and regionally) that help target and train college graduates and professionals from many different sectors into becoming classroom teachers. A listing of these organizations and programs are listed below.
Teach for America: Teach for America is a national non-profit where teachers commit two years of service in high-need schools in urban and rural communities across the country. TFA is one of the most selective programs in the country and has a number of Columbia alumni involved. To learn more about the TFA experience, visit our TFA page.
Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship: The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship is considered the “Rhodes Scholarship” of education where students commit to three years of teaching while receiving a Masters in Education working in high-need schools and communities.
Math for America: Math for America is a national fellowship program seeking to improve the quality of math-education by placing highly qualified math teachers into high-need classrooms. In addition to teaching, Math for America, offers a full scholarship for fellows to obtain their Master’s degrees.
Urban Teacher Residency United: A national network of residency programs where prospective teachers can gain valuable skills working in high-need urban schools
New York City Teaching Fellows (NYC) : The NYC Teaching Fellows is a competitive fellowship program for college graduates and young professionals who are interested in teaching in New York City.
Inner-City Teaching Corps (Chicago): A two-year teaching program that puts recent college graduates in high-need Chicago schools while also providing them with summer coursework at the Northwestern school of Education and Social Policy.
Urban Teacher Center (DC + Baltimore): The Urban Teacher Center is a residency program looking to develop teachers in a rigorous four year program where students earn a Master’s degree in education while teaching in Washington D.C. or Baltimore schools.
Philadelphia Teaching Fellows (Philadelphia): The Philadelphia Teaching Fellows is a fellowship program for college graduates and young professionals who are not already certified to teach and look to be public school teachers in Philadelphia.
DC Teaching Fellows (DC): The DC Teaching Fellows is a fellowship program for college graduates and young professionals who are not already certified to teach and look to be public school teachers in Washington D.C.
JET: The JET Program is a Japanese-based program where college graduates from around the world to teach English in Japan for a year being fully immersed in Japanese culture.
Teaching English in Korea: A guide for students interested in teaching English in South Korea.
Peace Corps: As a Peace Corps member, you can serve working in education, teaching English to students across the world. A pre-requisite is often teaching experience or an education degree for these programs. Both City Year and Teach for America have partnerships with Peace Corps and both programs will strengthen a Peace Corps application.
Fulbright: The Fulbright Scholarship is a scholarship offered by the United States State Department with the purpose of increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through education and research programs. To learn more about the Fulbright Scholarship, check out the Columbia University Fellowship Office’s link on the Fulbright.
Teach for China: Teach for China is a two year fellowship program based off the Teach for America model helping bridge the educational gap for China’s most underserved communities. Fellows do not need knowledge of Chinese; however, Chinese language skills are considered an asset.
Teach for India: Teach for India is a two year fellowship program based off the Teach for America model helping bridge the educational gap for India’s most underserved communities. Fellows need to be of Indian-descent or Indian citizens in order to be eligible to apply.
Princeton in Asia : PiA is a non-profit foundation committed to providing bright and motivated people with a vivid "Asian experience." Teaching and workplace internships are available in a range of countries annually.
ESLJOBS.com: Search by region of the world to browse jobs teaching English as a Second Language.
TeachAwayInc.: Works with teachers across North America (from new university graduates to experienced teachers), placing them in jobs around the world. Offering ESL teaching jobs, along with positions for licensed teachers.
Similar Programs/Available to Undergraduate Students
If you are unsure if you want to be a teacher, you can explore a career in education through various programs and volunteer opportunities. Getting involved with the various community organizations on campus and in the community can be a first step to finding if a career in education is right for you. In addition there are various national programs where students can explore an interest in various programs that you can explore below.
City Year is a national Americorps program in 19 U.S. cities where 17-24 year
olds give a year of powerful service to work with students most-at-risk to drop
out. City Year Corps Members serve as full-time tutors, mentors, and role
models in underserved schools and communities.
Breakthrough Collaborative: Breakthrough Collaborative is a national network of programs designed to engage high-achieving underserved students in communities across the United States. Students can work as summer interns in a 10 week program teaching summer school to middle school students or be a part-time mentor and tutor during the school year.
Center for Talented Youth: The Center for Talented Youth is a summer program run by Johns Hopkins University in the summer for high potential middle school and high school students. College students are selected as instructors and can make as much as $1000 per week as a CTY instructor over the summer.
Charter schools are schools that receive public school funding without being subject to as stringent of rules and regulations governing more traditional public schools in exchange for accountability of producing certain results. Charter schools have grown in popularity over the last decade hiring teachers who have obtained alternative licensures. Many people feel as if teaching at a private school allows greater flexibility and freedom as charter schools are not necessarily required to follow the state guidelines for their entire curriculum.
KIPP: KIPP is a national network of free, open-enrollment, charter schools dedicated to preparing students in undeserved communities for success in college and in life.
Because many students don’t know if teaching is a career that would interest them, there are various ways to get exposure to possibly pursuing teaching as a career. The first is to get involved with on-campus clubs that work in classrooms or with students (listed below). Another path is to pursue teaching apprenticeships at independent and private schools, primarily located in the Northeast. A listing of opportunities is listed below. Typically fellows/apprentices will receive a stipend of approximately 25,000, receive supervised teaching experience, and also get free room and board on campus and all meals paid for. These are highly selective programs, so we would recommend that students apply to more than one program and also knowing that they might have to be flexible in terms of relocating.
Belmont Hill School Belmont, MA
Choate Rosemary Hall Wallingford, CT
Concord Academy Wilcox Fellowship Program (For teaching talent among groups underrepresented on independent school faculties) Concord, MA
Deerfield Academy Deerfield, MA
Phillips Academy Andover, MA
If education is a field that interests you, there are many clubs on campus that serve students in the community. While this is not an exhaustive list of resources students can utilize, it is a guide for students interested looking not only to get involved, but learn more about the education field.
- Project Tutors: A weekly one hour commitment where students can work in public schools as classroom aides and tutors at P.S. 145 and P.S. 165.
- After Hours Tutoring: A two-hour a week off-campus commitment where volunteers engage elementary school children from the Volunteers of America Family Residence at 104th and Broadway in a range of disciplines, including reading, math, and test preparation.
- One-to-One Tutoring: A two hour a week commitment where volunteers work with elementary students who come on campus to Lerner Hall for one-to-one tutoring.
- America Reads: A 4-10 hour a week off-campus commitment where volunteers participate in a literacy program for elementary students with 4 different sites throughout Harlem.
Double Discovery Center: An on-campus service organization reaching out to students in Harlem to provide tutoring, assistance with college preparation, and mentoring.
Youth for Debate: A national non-profit and club founded at Columbia where volunteers teach public speaking and debate at under-resourced middle and high schools in New York.