PhDs teaching K-12

Increasingly, as the college and university job market tightens, more PhDs think of teaching at the K-12 level, with the majority of candidates choosing to investigate the middle and high school workplace. Such candidates need to address several issues:

  • Some candidates think of such an experience as a "second choice," reached only in desperation. To the contrary, teaching at this level can be extremely rewarding and challenging, on both a personal and intellectual level. Many high schools, especially the more prestigious private schools, actively recruit PhDs and, quite often, pay them handsomely.
  • Performance counts more than vita entries at this level. Be prepared to prove to prospective employers (some of whom are suspicious of PhDs) that teaching is your first priority and that you have an interest in pre-collegiate students. Provide student evaluations and, when possible, reports by experienced teachers who have observed you teach.
  • Be prepared to engage in further training. Some schools will accept you provisionally but require you to obtain state certification within a specified time. 
  • Pedagogical training in a doctoral program can be useful to someone deciding to opt for K-12 teaching, but training specific to the age group to be taught will still be necessary.

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