Very few people work in their dream job, down to every detail. And if your dream job is “teacher,” you may not get to teach the exact subject you want to. Many teachers and teachers-in-training discover that there just aren’t many teaching jobs available in their favorite subject. In this post, we’ll look at what you can do if you realize your preferred teaching subject isn’t in demand.
What to do if you can’t find teaching jobs in your subject while you’re still in college
It’s never fun to realize you may not get to teach the subject you wanted to teach. But the best time to figure this out is during your teacher training. As you take teaching courses at your university, check out job boards and investigate the job market. If you’re majoring in, say, French language education, look at school job vacancies and see just how many history teacher positions seem to be available throughout the year.
If you find that not many schools are hiring teachers in your subject, there are a number of ways you can change and redirect your degree plan. In the French example above, you may want to change your major to Spanish education, which is usually in higher demand in U.S. schools, assuming you know Spanish as well as French. Or you may want to switch to a major in teaching English as a Second language. ESL and French education both involve teaching a second language, but the job field for ESL is much bigger, and continuously expanding.
Or you might want to keep your focus on your preferred subject, but take some extra courses for an additional license in another similar subject. Continuing to use the example above, if a teacher gets a double license in French and Spanish, or gets licensed in both French and ESL, that teacher has a good chance of working full time, while getting to teach their preferred language at least part time. And pursuing multiple licenses works for other subjects too. To give another example, suppose a teacher trainee wants to be a high school history teacher and is pursuing that narrowly-focused certification. Such a teacher can increase his or her chances of getting a job by also getting a license in social studies. And because social studies and history are so similar, the student teacher’s history credits could probably be applied to the additional social studies certification.
What to do if you can’t find a teaching job in your preferred subject after you’ve gotten licensed
Suppose you already have a license in a subject you love. And then you realize it’s really hard to get a full-time teaching job in your particular subject area.
One thing you can do is get an additional license in a related subject, just as an undergraduate student teacher would. Unfortunately, this will probably require you to go back to school for a semester or two. If you don’t want to put your career on hold, this may not be the most appealing option.
Luckily, if you’re already a licensed teacher, schools will sometimes be willing to hire you to teach a subject that’s related to the subject you’re licensed in. If you have a degree in business education, you may be able to get a job teaching math. If you are licensed to teach elementary school, you may also be able to find work in early childhood education. You get the idea. In the long run, you should probably still get an additional license that will help secure a long term career. But if you can get hired to teach in a field related to your current certification, you have some time to get that second license, possibly through online or evening courses.
As early on as possible, you should ask yourself the key question of your career: What subject should you teach? The answer to this question should depend both on which subjects you love the most, and which subjects make you the most employable. And the answer to that question can change later in your career. It’s never too late to start teaching a new subject. And there’s always a chance you can return to teaching whatever subject you originally dreamed of teaching.