Non-Degree Teaching Jobs
Teaching Abilities, Pleasant Disposition and Patience Will Get You Far
If you love helping children learn, there are several career opportunities available to those without a four-year degree or a teaching credential. You can work with older children, all the way through high school, or focus on the little ones. Early childhood education is especially important and rewarding work; through it you can play an invaluable role in shaping the lives of the next generation. Here are four educational career options for you to consider.
As a teacher aide, your primary responsibilities are to help children learn the classroom material and handle clerical tasks for the teacher. You may also provide one-on-one attention to students who need extra help.
To work as a teacher aide or education aide, you need to complete some college courses in teacher education, early childhood education, special education and counseling, in addition to having a high school diploma or a GED.
Good communication skills are important, as is the ability to be a team player. Knowing a second language such as Spanish or American Sign Language can make you more marketable.
Another option is a job as a teacher assistant; required training varies from a high school diploma to some college training, depending upon the position. Second-language skills and experience with special needs children are in demand. Teacher assistants who provide direct instruction to students will need more training.
Your duties will include providing instructional and clerical assistance and student supervision in the cafeteria, during recess or on field trips. You may also be responsible for preparing materials and recording grades.
For employment in a Title 1 school — those with a large proportion of students from low-income households — you must either hold at a two-year or higher degree, have a minimum of two years of college study, or pass a qualifying state or local exam. A background check and fingerprinting are often required. Because of the increased emphasis on accountability in the classroom due to the No Child Left Behind Act, there is likely to be more demand for teacher assistants.
If you have more of a passion for working with younger children, consider a career as a preschool teacher. Preschool teachers help young children prepare for their formal education. They use storytelling and games to help the children with language development and social skills, and to introduce beginning mathematical concepts.
To be a preschool teacher in a private school you must be at least 18 years old and either complete 12 semester units in early childhood education, six months of work experience in a licensed day care center, or hold a current valid Child Development Associate Credential (CDA), along with six months of on-the-job training and/or work experience. In a public school you must have either a regular instructional permit, a limited children's center instructional permit, or an emergency instructional permit, all issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Childcare workers care for children who are too young for formal schooling and for school-age children before and after school. Childcare workers include those who work in private homes as babysitters, infant nurses and nannies. Their job is to ensure that the child’s basic needs are met and help to stimulate his or her physical, emotional and intellectual growth and interpersonal skills. In some situations only a high school diploma is required. Other childcare workers have completed some college courses; still others hold a CDA.
Private household workers are generally paid by the hour; their duties include bathing, dressing, feeding and general supervision. Housekeeping duties may be included. They may work full or part time for one family, sometimes caring for the children from infancy to puberty. More and more nanny training schools are popping up in the United States. Some of the courses include child development, nutrition, family dynamics, safety, play activities, first aid and CPR.
Governess or Au Pair
Unlike a nanny, a governess should have a college degree in childhood education or nursing and/or a teaching credential. A governess serves more in the capacity of a tutor and does very little if any housework or physical care of the children. Perhaps you are wondering about work as an au pair. An au pair is a young man or woman living on an equal basis — as a type of extended family member — with the host family in a foreign country. The au pair program in the United States gives candidates the chance to live and study here for one or two years in exchange for providing up to 45 hours of child care each week.
Working with children is often challenging and rewarding. The opportunities are varied and caring for young lives is a career of which you can always be proud.
• EdRef College Search Directory: Teacher Aide Certification Programs
• California Career Videos: Teacher Aides and Educational Assistants
• World Wide Learn: Online Programs in Early Childhood Education and Child Development Programs
• Ed-Reference: California Childcare Colleges and Teacher Assistant and Aide Colleges
• The National Resource Center for Paraprofessionals
• The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing
• Center for Childcare Workforce
• International Au Pair Association
• Au Pair in America