Becoming a GED Teacher: How to Get Started
Students drop out of high school for a variety of reasons. Some may have to work to support a family. Others may experience violence in their public schools. Drug use, teen pregnancy, and incarceration all play a role as well. For many of these people, life without a high school degree isn’t easy. They spend their lives competing for jobs with those who have earned a degree, and many professions are closed to them.
GED teachers play an important role in their communities by giving adult students a second chance at an education. The GED, or “General Education Development” certificate, represents knowledge in five subject areas—math, science, social studies, critical reading, and writing—designed to be equivalent to the knowledge a high school senior should have. Students earn the GED by taking and passing a government-administered test.
Classes aren’t required, but many students need help preparing for the GED—especially if they have been out of school for many years. That’s where GED teachers come in. If you’re interested in this important career, here’s what you’ll need to know to get started.
Many organizations hire GED teachers.
Before you get started with this career, it can help to know where you might be working. As a GED teacher, you can find work at an adult education nonprofit, a public or private school, or through the government. The government often hires GED teachers to work in correctional and juvenile detention facilities. Some may be hired by employers to teach at work sites, and others may work for nonprofit, religious, or government adult learning programs in libraries, schools, community centers, or residential care facilities. GED teachers are usually paid professionals, but some organizations use volunteers.
You’ll need a Bachelor’s degree.
Almost every paid position expects a Bachelor’s degree. It doesn’t generally matter what subject your degree is in, as long as you have one. However, if you haven’t earned a degree yet and you plan to go into adult education, there are many different degrees that might be suited for the position. These include education, psychology, social work, and language and cultural degrees.
A Master’s degree couldn’t hurt, but it’s not required.
Some positions prefer to see a online Master’s degree in adult education. But it’s not required for every position. If you have a Bachelor’s degree, you’ll still qualify for many GED teaching positions.
You may or may not need a teaching certification.
Certification requirements for GED teachers vary by state. Some states require GED teachers to take the same tests public schoolteachers do to become certified, while others have a separate test to certify GED teachers. Still other states don’t require any particular certification at all.
Teaching experience helps.
If you’re going for a position as a GED instructor, it can help to have teaching experience. Some positions might value teachers with public school experience, but even then you’ll stand out from other applicants if you can demonstrate an understanding of the needs of adult learners. You may stand a better chance of landing the job if you have teaching experience with adults, even if it’s just volunteering to tutor at your local library.
Network, volunteer, and check the job boards to find a job.
If you want a career as a GED teacher, there are several ways to look for jobs. Perhaps one of the most effective involves volunteering at a local adult learning center. You may be able to offer one-on-one tutoring or in-class assistance to adult learners, and adult learning centers are often delighted to have this type of help from volunteers.
If you’re interested in volunteering, you should have no trouble doing it at a smaller nonprofit, religious, or community program. This will give you a great opportunity to demonstrate your teaching skills and devotion to the job. Once the staff knows you, you’ll have a much better chance at any job openings that come up.
If there’s nowhere near to volunteer—or if you don’t have the time—you can still find GED teaching jobs by checking online job boards. Go to SimplyHired.com, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, or any of the other major job boards and do a search for “GED teacher” in your area. Job boards such as Craigslist may have a local opportunity under “Education” in the job boards. In addition, check nonprofit and education niche board sites such as Idealist.org, NonprofitJobs.org, and EducationJobs.com.
Teaching GED classes can be a rewarding and exciting career. In this job, you can help people get an education, improve their lives, and achieve their dreams. Follow these tips, and you should be able to find a GED teaching position you can excel in.
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