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Typical Career Paths of Professionals in Education

Description and Objectives

This video will demonstrate the potential career path of professionals in the educational arena. It is an important topic because many professionals who are interested in becoming an educator but initially was in a different career could use this video as a guide to see if this is what they truly want to do and what they can potentially achieve. After viewing the educational training video the viewer can decide on what path to choose and what fits their unique situation. The objective is to inform professionals in all fields and to educate them about the world of education.

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nmx_wC0s1_o


Many individuals such as myself did not initially plan on being in education. I started out wanting to be an engineer when I was in middle school and high school. I followed my ambitions so attended Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), one of the finest engineering schools in the country. I majored in Electrical Computer Engineering and after 5 years earned a BSEE with a specialization in Computer Networking; however, I always “liked” to teach others. I actually worked as a tutor to other students in the subjects that I was strong at while at Georgia Tech and later became a Teaching Assistant (TA).

I entered the workforce as a Support Engineer then Network Engineer and worked in corporate America for 5 years while earning my MIT and MBA until an opportunity came presented itself to become an Adjunct Instructor for a local college. I continued teaching and working as an engineer for 5 more years at which time the company closed due to the economy and it was at that time that I pursued my educational career and that is where I am now.


The first and most important step is education. To be an educator you must have the educational background and credentials which includes at least a Master’s Degree in the field that one want to teach. Community and private colleges require a Master’s Degree but most public 4-year universities require terminal degrees such as a Ph.D or a DBA in the field of study that you are pursing to teach.

The next step is the desire to teach. In most cases the educational profession does not compensate as much as corporate careers but can be as if not more rewarding if that is your desire. You must understand both the financial and promotional limitations because organizations that you will work for are much more regulated and thus restricted than in the corporate arena. A desire to teach rarely forms overnight; for example during undergraduate studies a student may already have an ambition to teach such as my case so becoming a Teaching Assistant (TA) is the first formal position.

A TA assists the professor with grading of assignments and tutoring or helping students because in a typical university there may up upwards of 100 or more students in a particular class requiring 3 to 5 TAs in groups to assist the professor which clarification and grading of assignments and projects. This is the foundation where one will determine if academics or education is for him or her so the next step after acquiring the necessary degrees and credentials is to become an Adjunct Instructor or Lecturer.

An adjunct instructor or lecturer is one who not only teaches on a part-time basis but typically teaching is not their primary job. For example, many professional network engineers may teach on an adjunct basis for local a college. These adjuncts not only gain classroom experience but they bring work experience to the classroom so it is a win-win situation.

The next step is full-time instructor, lecturer or professor where the person’s primarily profession is to teach; however, along with teaching a full class load responsibilities such as advisement and administration are also required. The full-time instructor, lecturer or professor has direct contact with the students and for many the career may end there; however, those who want to address curriculum and pursue management positions may continue and strive for Program Director or Division Director positions.

A Program Director or Division Director manages both full-time and adjunct faculty members and makes sure that the program is on track per the institutional goals. Recruiting of new faculty members, recommendations to curriculum updates, scheduling, advisement, registration are all duties of the director. A Program Director focuses on one particular program whereas a Division Director oversees several Program Directors.

In a typical academic institution the Dean is the direct supervisor of all the Directors and is the head of the Academic department. As a Director gains experience of not only his or her division but also accreditation and a solid understanding of policies and procedures he or she may qualify to be a Dean. In many institutions the Dean reports directly to the President who oversees other departments such Admissions, Career Services, Student Services and Financial Aid.

Therefore, the typical career path for professionals in education follow the below diagram:

Teaching Assistant  Adjunct Faculty  Full-time Faculty  Program Director  Division Director  Dean

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