Education includes a variety of areas such as counseling, librarians, administration, school bus driver, etc., yet teaching occupations account for nearly half of this industry. Teachers play an important role in society, for they are responsible for fostering the intellectual and social development of children during their most formative years and ultimately help determine their students’ future prospects. “Teachers act as facilitators or coaches, using classroom presentations or individual instruction to help students learn. They plan, evaluate, and assign lessons; prepare, administer and grade tests; listen to oral presentations; and maintain classroom discipline. Teachers observe and evaluate a student’s performance and potential and increasingly are asked to use new assessment methods. Teachers also grade papers, prepare report cards, and meet with parents and school staff to discuss a student’s academic progress or personal problems.”
There is widespread recognition of American’s need to build a highly skilled, diverse teacher workforce. “States are now raising their standards for teacher licensing and increasing salaries to attract well-educated people who otherwise would be inclined to work in other areas.” Teacher salaries have improved in recent years, yet they still vary considerably from state to state.3 The average teacher salary in the 2006-2007 school year was $51,009; it generally takes teachers 14 years to reach the average salary level. Salaries can be increased through advanced education, such as a Master’s degree, or through helping with extra-curricular activities, as well as in other ways.
Many teachers work more than 40 hours a week, although part-time schedules are more common at the preschool and kindergarten level. Many work for the traditional 10-month school year with a 2-month vacation during the summer. During their break, most take other jobs, travel, teach summer sessions, continue their education, or pursue other personal interests.
The job outlook for teaching professions is projected to grow about as fast as average. Job prospects are favorable particularly for teachers in high-demand fields such as math, science, and bilingual education, or in less desirable urban or rural school districts.
Many new financial incentives are growing in the field of teaching. For example, if you are a teacher in a low-income or subject matter shortage area, it might be possible for you to cancel or defer your student loans. In addition, since the high cost of a college education discourages many people from the teaching profession, many federal government grant programs have been developed for potential teachers. Some of the most common are: Pell Grants, Stafford Loan Programs, Federal PLUS loans, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program (FSEOG), Perkins Loan Program, and the Federal Work Study Program. Many states offer some form of loan forgiveness program for students who commit to teach in that state for a certain number of years.
Who They Serve:
Teachers primarily work to serve their students, whether that constitutes children or adults. Yet, teachers serve these students in a variety of institutions, including public and private elementary or secondary schools, as well as universities. Deciding whether to work in the public or private sphere is a consideration every prospective teacher must evaluate. While teachers in either sphere have the reward of seeing their students develop new skills and gain an appreciation of knowledge and learning, teachers in private schools generally enjoy smaller class sizes and more control over establishing the curriculum and setting standards for performance and discipline. Their students also tend to be more motivated, since private schools can be selective in their admission processes.
While there are advantages to private schools, it is important to realize that private schools offer the lowest base salary for teachers, with teachers with a bachelor’s degree and no experience earning $20,302 annually versus $25,888 for public school districts. Private schools are also less racially and ethnically diverse, and are less likely than public schools to enroll LEP students or students who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program.
There are a variety of areas of specialization in the teaching industry. While some teachers are better suited or prefer to work with younger students, others lean towards special education or teaching older students. Here is a more comprehensive examination of the major areas of specialization in the teaching profession:
- Preschool, Kindergarten, and Elementary School - These teachers focus on the early development of children. Often they instruct a variety of subjects such as mathematics, languages, science, and social studies. Some teaching tools they employ include games, artwork, music, and computers.12 Usually, a less structured approach, including small-group lessons, one-on-one instruction, and learning through creative activities, is adopted to teach preschool children. Most Elementary school teachers instruct one classroom of children on various subjects.
- Middle and Secondary School Teachers - These teachers focus on expanding upon the skills students learned in elementary school. Often they specialize in a specific academic subject. Some supervise after-school extracurricular activities while others may help students deal with academic problems such as choosing courses, colleges, and careers.
- Special Education Teachers - Special education teachers work with students of many ages who have various learning and physical disabilities. “While most work in traditional schools and assist those students who require extra support, some work in school specifically designed to serve students with the most severe disabilities. With all but the most severe cases, special education teachers modify the instruction of the general education curriculum and, when necessary, develop alternative assessment methods to accommodate a student’s special needs. They also help special education students develop emotionally, feel comfortable in social situations, and be aware of socially acceptable behavior.”
- Postsecondary Teachers or Faculty - These teachers generally teach in specified departments dependent upon their particular subject or field. Faculty teach and advise college students and perform research. “They prepare lectures, exercises, and laboratory experiments; grade exams and papers; and advise and work with students individually.” Faculty are responsible for keeping abreast of developments in their field as well as possibly participating in professional conferences.
- Adult Literacy and Remedial Education Teachers - Adult Literacy and Remedial Education teachers “teach English to speakers of other languages, prepare sessions for the General Education Development (GED) exam, and give basic instruction to out-of-school youths and adults.”
What Employers Want:
Few people are aware of the qualities it requires to be a teacher despite their varied experiences with teachers over the years. Primarily, teachers’ first interest should be in helping their students, and they should also have the ability to inspire respect, trust, and confidence. “Strong speaking and writing skills, inquiring and analytical minds, and a desire to pursue and disseminate knowledge are vital prerequisites for teachers.”18 In addition, teachers must be able to recognize and respond to individual and cultural differences in students and employ appropriate teaching methods in response.
Employers look for teachers that have completed a bachelor’s degree from a teacher education program and have then obtained a license. However, many states now offer alternative routes towards licensure for those who have obtained a bachelor’s degree in a field other than teaching.
A bachelor’s degree is not always a prerequisite for preschool teachers or vocational education teachers, but instead employers in this field look for persons with experience rather than specific degrees.
Because private schools are exempt from state licensing standards, they prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in the subject they intend to teach, or in childhood education for elementary school teachers. “They seek candidates among recent college graduates as well as from those who have established careers in other fields.” Private schools associated with religious institutions also desire candidates who share the values that are important to the institution.
Licensure and Certification: Obtaining a teachers license is required in the entirety of the U.S public school system, although it is not required for most teachers in private schools. A teaching license is granted by the State Board of Education or a licensure advisory committee, and requirements for regular licenses to teach kindergarten through grade 12 vary by State. However, all states require teachers to have a bachelor’s degree and to have completed an approved teacher training program with a prescribed number of subject and education credits, as well as supervised practice teaching.
Alternative Licensure Programs: Many states now offer alternative licensure programs for teacher who have a degree in the subject they will teach, but who lack the necessary education courses required for a regular license. Hopkins Arts & Sciences and Engineering students often enter teaching through alternative certification programs.
Many of these programs are designed to ease shortages in certain subject, such as math and science, while other programs provide teachers for urban and rural schools that have difficulty filling positions. “Alternative licensure programs are intended to attract people into teaching who do not fulfill traditional licensing standards, including recent college graduates who did not complete education programs and those changing from another career to teaching.” Some alternative routes to teaching are the following:
What They Hire Undergraduates to Do:
Employers look to hire undergraduates to fill entry-level teaching positions. Experience is not always required, particularly in the private school sphere, but employers prefer candidates who show some experience in the field, whether through internships or other professional activities, and who display the qualities outlined above. Entry-level teachers receive the base salary, and after three to four years can apply for tenure, which offers some job security. On average, it takes teachers 14 years to reach average salary.
Audrey M Reynolds- Director of College Counseling, Friends Seminary, International Studies, Class of 1993
- How did you get interested in your field? Was it your original goal when you started at Hopkins? - Actually through my volunteer work with admissions. I loved the work and the people in the office; it was a natural fit.
- What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today? - I have worked in college admissions and counseling my entire career. CMU, JHU, NYU, Dwight-Englewood School, Friends Seminary. Every movement was an advancement in title and responsibility, and every school added cache to my resume.
- What was your first job after college? Was it in your current field? - After graduation I was hired as an admissions counselor at CMU in large part because of my experience in admissions at Hopkins, which is a similar school in many respects.
- What advice do you have for current students, especially freshmen and sophomores? - Try different things academically and in your extracurricular activities; find what you love to do/ what you enjoy spending time doing; get real experiences to build a resume; it is never too early to start networking.
- What is your typical day like? - My hours are usually 8am-5pm. I have a lot of evening commitments though and during the fall I am writing recommendations constantly at night and on weekends. I work year round even though I am in a school, but summers are pretty mellow and the hours are shorter and no evening or weekend work.
- What's most rewarding about your industry and/ or job? What's most challenging? - Rewarding: I get to work with young people as they make the transition onto higher education, to greater independence, to their future. I find that exciting and rewarding. Challenging: There is actually a great deal of pressure being a college counselor, particularly one at an independent school in NYC. Managing student, parent, and board expectations can be challenging in these unusually competitive times.
- What are typical entry-level positions for this field? What tips do you have for students to be successful in these positions? - Admissions Counselor or Assistant College Counselor. I recommend starting on the college side, particularly for people interested ultimately in becoming counselors in independent schools. Volunteer in the admissions office now.
- Where do you see the field going in the next 5-10 years? - As the demographics change, the field will change. As the number of HS seniors rises and falls, competitiveness will follow, making the field easier or harder depending on which side of the fence you are on.
- What skills and out-of-class experiences (i.e. internships, co-curricular activities, volunteering, etc.) are ideal for entering your industry / career field? - Relevant experience in college admissions. Outgoing, good with students, strong analysis skills, strong writing skills, good listener, diplomatic, organized, a sense of humor.
- Where can someone in an entry-level position expect to be in two years? Five years? Ten years? - Depends on which side of things. College- 2 yrs assistant director, 5 yrs sr assistant.
- Which professional organizations and resources should students look into or get involved with? - Employment- Carney, Sandoe. Career- NACAC, local organizations.
Craig Freeman- Associate Professor, Louisiana State University, English, Class of 1992, J.D.
- How did you get interested in your field? Was it your original goal when you started at Hopkins? - Career opportunity. It was not my intent when I attended Hopkins.
- What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today? - I started working for some local papers, moved to television, noticed the need for a better understanding of the law, went to law school, practiced, got an opportunity to teach
- What was your first job after college? Was it in your current field? - Staff writer for the Mt. Airy Times. It was in my current field, but that field has taken a circuitous route.
- What advice do you have for current students, especially freshmen and sophomores? - Take classes in a variety of majors. Don't be afraid to experiment.
- What is your typical day like? - Teach class, research and write about the law.
- What’s most rewarding about your industry and/ or job? What's most challenging? - Rewarding: Watching students grow intellectually. Challenging: Pay
- What are typical entry-level positions for this field? What tips do you have for students to be successful in these positions? - Lecturers start at the assistant professor level. Students need to have a fair amount of publishable work before they start their first job.
- Where do you see the field going in the next 5-10 years? - The graybeards will retire and there will be a real need to fill vacancies
- What skills and out-of-class experiences (i.e. internships, co-curricular activities, volunteering, etc.) are ideal for entering your industry / career field? - You need a strong professional background in my area. It helped to have solid work experience.
- Where can someone in an entry-level position expect to be in two years? Five years? Ten years? - Hopefully, they will be close to tenure in five years and tenured with a full research agenda in ten years.
- Which professional organizations and resources should students look into or get involved with? - It depends on their field.
Meghna Lipcon- 5th Grade Teacher, Montgomery County Public Schools, Psychology, jHU Class of 2000, Master’s In Elementary Education, 2001, Columbia University, Teachers College
- How did you get interested in your field? Was it your original goal when you started at Hopkins? - I started Hopkins thinking I'd become a doctor. While I loved medicine and science, I struggled my first two years. Mainly, I wasn't passionate about the coursework I was taking, and felt like I was going through the motions. I wasn't excited about what I was doing. I worked at a summer camp after sophomore year, and it was there I discovered my passion was teaching young kids. It was like a fire had been lit in me. I remembered enjoying my own elementary school experience... and the connection was made! My last two years at Hopkins I took more psychology courses (which matched my interests more than Neuroscience at purely the molecular level... I guess it is because I thrive on human connection...), and also other courses that would prepare me for graduate school such as Geography and Sociology of Education. After Hopkins I applied to a graduate program in elementary education. I never thought that would be the path I would take! Similarities - I am still highly driven, and love working with people. I teach science (my first passion) and math, and now the people I work with are young students!
- What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today? - I applied to graduate school and finished my Masters in one year at Columbia University in NYC. I did my student teaching in Manhattan. I started teaching here in Maryland in 2001. After my 3rd year of teaching, I was looking to further myself, but still stay in the classroom. So, I became National Board Certified. This is a 3 year process (which I finished in one year) in which I had to videotape my teaching and reflect on my decisions as an educator. There was a written portfolio as well as a computer based exam. The process focuses on content AND pedagogy. It was highly rewarding and soon after achieving National Board Certification I wanted to give back. So, I became involved in candidate support for teachers pursing National Board Certification themselves. This is a voluntary process that is highly rigorous and support is key to success and a valuable experience. Now that I am on leave from my fulltime teaching job (just had a baby in July), I am able to use my expertise to work part-time as an adjunct professor at George Washington University. This has allowed me to keep teaching, hone my skills as an educator of adults AND also keep in touch with the latest in education at the K-12 level because I ’m working with the most driven teachers who are currently in the classroom.
- What was your first job after college? Was it in your current field? - Yes. My first job was 3rd grade teacher at Broad Acres ES in Silver Spring, MD
- What advice do you have for current Hopkins students? - Keep your minds open about careers- and explore many of them. There are more careers than doctors, lawyers, etc. While those are rewarding, they aren ’t for everyone. Get creative. Even within my teaching career I was able to carve out a path that allows me to stay current and do rewarding work part time while also being a fulltime mom. This is especially important for women, I think. In addition, last year I was doing the adjunct work on top of my fulltime classroom position. Look for ways you can advance in whatever career you choose.
- What is your typical day like? - When I was in the classroom, I would get to work around 7:30, students came at 8:40. I taught and “was on” all day until 3pm. I’d prepare for the next day until about 4:30pm. On Wednesdays we had staff planning and curriculum meetings until 5:30pm. Many times during my planning period (45 mins each day) I would meet with my team about individual students or to look at data on how the kids were doing as a class or grade. At home, I would frequently have papers to grade or lesson plans to write, but as I gained more experience I was able to be more efficient and bring less home. However, I am always reading to learn more about strategies to use with students.
- What's most rewarding about your industry and / or job? What's most challenging? - The most rewarding part of teaching is knowing you are making a difference in a child's life. I wake up every morning excited about what I am doing. No day is the same. There is no down time or time to get bored. I have learned SO much from my students. The rewarding parts are also some of the challenges. Managing a classroom of 20+ individuals... all ranges... is tough. For me personally, discipline and management of the behaviors was what I had to work on. Content was my strength. I knew my content and how to teach it to young kids. I am always looking for more interesting ways to engage young kids in the subject matter. Making it relevant to students is KEY. One of the biggest challenges in teaching kids who are dealing with poverty is that you have to meet their basic needs before they are ready to learn math, reading etc. That is also a rewarding part. I love working with families, counselors, community organizations to make the whole school experience for my students a success. It really does take a village.
- What are typical entry-level positions for this field? What tips do you have for students to be successful in these positions? - If you are interested in teaching elementary school, you can teach anywhere from K-5 typically. Many schools are departmentalized, meaning you teach either math/science or Literacy. There are many different models out there. To be a successful first year teacher, be prepared to be TIRED! Also, reach out to your colleagues. The more you are collaborating, the more you learn, and the students benefit. Too many teachers feel alone when they start out. Seek out a mentor and leadership opportunities (don ’t have to be formal). Be vocal and ask questions. You bring more to the table than you may think! Seek out a school that will value your brain power and your voice.
- Where do you see the field going in the next 5-10 years? - I hope that teachers continue to pursue National Board Certification- not only as a professional development opportunity but as a way to have a voice on the local, state and national stage of education. It is up to us to shape education for the future. Our students deserve the best teachers IN the classroom. A teacher should NOT have to go elsewhere (in to administration for example) to be able to make good money. Hopefully, if teachers begin getting paid at the level of others with Masters degrees, many bright and driven students (like Hopkins undergrads!) will choose teaching as a career.
- What skills and out-of-class experiences (i.e. internships, co-curricular activities, volunteering, etc.) are ideal for entering your industry / career field? - I would volunteer at a local Baltimore City elementary school. Perhaps connect up with CSOS to find out more about issues in education today.
- Where can someone in an entry-level position expect to be in two years? Five years? Ten years? - Two years is required for tenure in most school systems. After that, you can carve out the career you want. Staying in the classroom, you can still seek out advancement and leadership opportunities – I have outlined some in the rest of this document. Many teachers are also pursuing PhDs and staying in the classroom. The NEA and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards also supports professional growth while staying in the classroom to teach kids. This is because students deserve the best teachers. There is also staff development (working with teachers to help them teach students), if a person wants to pursue that. These days, a teacher does not have to go into administration to vary their career and “move up”.
- Which professional organizations and resources should students look into or get involved with? - NBPTS –National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, ASCD – Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, NEA- National Education Association, NCTM - National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, NSTA – National Science Teachers Association, NCTE – National Council for Teachers of English (reading)
- What related occupations and industries would you recommend students explore who are interested in your industry or career field? School counseling and Preschool education
Susan Herman- Assistant Professor of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, Classics and Biology, Class of 1989
- How did you get interested in your field? Was it your original goal when you started at Hopkins? - I was somewhat interested in entering medicine when I started at Hopkins, but wanted to make sure that I got a broad education, not just pre-med. I therefore chose to major in Classics, an excellent decision. I chose to go to medical school after an elective junior year in pediatric urology at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
- What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today? - I obtained my MD at Columbia University. I had a work study job in the Neurology Department doing data entry and chart reviews, which led to my participation in a study of spasmodic dysphonia and several publications. I chose Neurology as a field because of the potential for clinical research, and because of opportunities for long-term relationships with patients.
- What was your first job after college? Was it in your current field? - Neurology resident at Columbia University - yes.
- What advice do you have for current students? - Keep your eyes out for new opportunities - sometimes the unexpected path turns out to be the best!
- What is your typical day like? - I spend about 50% of my time in direct patient care. My subspecialty is in epilepsy, so I make rounds in an inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit, see patients in clinic, and read electroencephalograms. I spend 20% of my time doing administrative work and teaching. I run the EEG lab and epilepsy monitoring unit, and am the associate director of the neurology residency program. Finally, 30% of my time is in clinical research. So, my typical day is long and busy!
- What’s most rewarding about your field? What's most challenging? - Rewarding: The ability to teach neurology residents and fellows, and the opportunity to make research breakthroughs in epilepsy. Challenging: Competing demands on time from clinical and research areas.
- What are typical entry-level positions for this field? Where can someone in an entry-level position expect to be in two years? Five years? Ten years? - Many premedical students work as clinical research assistants or in a research laboratory to gain experience in the field. Medical school, residency, fellowship. Sorry!
- Where do you see the field going in the next 5-10 years? - Many new drugs and treatments, increasing the emphasis on patient outcomes.
Kali Murray- Assistant Professor, Marquette University Law School, History, Class of 1996
- Describe what you do and how you got started in your current career. - I am currently an assistant professor at the Marquette University Law School. I currently teach Patent, Property, and Intellectual Property Law. I got started in my career at the University Mississippi School of Law three years ago. I worked for four years for a law firm (Venable, LLP) and clerked for a federal judge.
- What is most rewarding about your job and/ or industry? What is most challenging? - I love working with students to create an active learning community that reflects what I learned in practice. The most challenging is to research on a consistent basis.
- Is your career the same or different from what you had envisioned your career would be when you started at Hopkins as an undergraduate? How is it similar and/or different? - Oddly, I did picture myself as a professor at Hopkins--except I did so in history. My master's degree cured me of wanting to be a history professor. I got my master's early (at 21) and that process showed me that I did not have the discipline to write in the sustained manner. I decided to go to law school instead, which proved to be the right choice. Once in practice, I realized that being a mentor was the part of the job I enjoyed and then teaching seemed to be the logical choice. Moreover, by the time I finished law school and practiced for a couple of years, I had enough discipline to write consistently.
Hugh Scott II- Science Teacher, Nash Rocky Mount Public Schools (Teach for America), Public Health, Class of 2006
- How did you get interested in your field? Was it your original goal when you started at Hopkins? - I always had the goal of teaching at some point in my career. When I came into Hopkins I wanted to be a doctor, as many people do. I thought I would practice medicine for a while, retire and then teach. However, the opportunity arose to teach during my summers at JHU with the Teach Baltimore program. In the program I was able to teach 1st and 3rd grades in a local, public school.
- Is your career the same or different from what you had envisioned your career would be when you started at Hopkins as an undergraduate? How is it similar and/or different? - After two years teaching in Baltimore schools for the summer, I was hungry for more opportunities to teach. I applied for the Teach for America program my senior year and was accepted the 1st round. I was placed in Eastern North Carolina and received my training in Atlanta, GA in the summer of 2006. With my public health major, I still have the goal of being a health educator. The great thing about teaching science is I get to teach my students the required information, and I slip in my facts and knowledge about health as well. However, I do plan on going back to graduate school to get my master’s in public health in the future.
- What was your first job after college? Was it in your current field? - My first job was (and still is) a science teaching position in Nash Central High.
- What advice do you have for current Hopkins students in general? - Keep your options open when moving into the career field. Apply early for whatever career you plan on going into.
- What advice do you have for a Hopkins student entering your career field / industry? - Keep an open mind when dealing with students; you may not know their background and what they have to struggle through. If you are willing to listen, they will open up to you.
- What is your typical day like? - I wake up at 6:00 AM and prepare for my day. I leave for school at 7:10 AM and arrive at 7:15AM. I work in four block-scheduled class periods from 7:45 to 2:45. I also serve lunch duty and bus lot duty during lunch and in the morning respectively. After school, I have students come in for tutoring and makeup work. After leaving the students, I go to coach or assist with a sporting event (soccer, basketball, softball, track, football). After sports (about 7:00), I go home and get something to eat, grade some papers, and go to bed (by 10:30 or 11:00).
- What's most rewarding about your industry and / or job? What's most challenging? - My student’s success: if you can see your student’s progress and be thankful for what you have done for them, you’re in the wrong field. The most challenging is managing the student’s respect and trust. Teenagers are very skeptical of new teachers and will test teachers over the course of a semester/year to see if they will bend or break. Once you have survived you have gained some respect.
- What are typical entry-level positions for this field? What tips do you have for students to be successful in these positions? - In teaching, there are many lateral entry positions available for people to receive. Lateral entry simply means you didn’t go to school for an education major to teach, but have an adjacent degree to a subject that is taught. In order to be successful, here is the motto for successful teachers: Beg, borrow, and steal resources from fellow teachers, it helps you and it allowed. There is a PRAXIS exam that is usually required in any state you teach. Check with the state you want to teach in as to what scores are required. Also, be expected to take course work to receive your license to continue to teach.
Dean of Students, The Avalon School
Classics, Class of 1996
- How did you get interested in your field? Was it your original goal when you started at Hopkins? -
To avoid the "parochialism of time", to develop my intellectual, communication and analytical abilities while studying the roots of Western Civilization. Gilman Hall offered so many intellectual treasures in one building and a Classics major was flexible enough to allow me to take advantage of many of them.
- What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today? - After leaving my beloved Gilman Hall, where breadth and depth of intellectual pursuit where everywhere available, I headed into graduate work in the Classics, after a great Fulbright year in Switzerland, where I was only able to study in depth. I missed the breadth that Hopkins had offered and left grad school when offered a teaching position. I then started an independent school. I have been able to teach in a variety of disciplines as well as coach numerous athletic teams and become involved in administration and development.
- What was your first job after college? Was it in your current field? - My first full-time job was in teaching.
- What advice do you have for current students, especially freshmen and sophomores? - Don't skip class (at least until you’re a senior). Take classes outside of your major and field of expertise. Freshmen should eat lunch with different people often that first semester. Read as much as you can. Get to know non-tourist Baltimore and some Baltimore history.
- What is your typical day like? - Faculty Meeting in the morning and then some time to get ready for the day's classes. Usually I have planned the classes out the night before. This past year I taught five classes of grades 7-11 in four different subject matters. Teachers cover breaks and lunch to keep a veneer of civility on the rambunctious "creativity" of youthful exuberance. Most of us also coach after school. I coached varsity basketball which was from 6-8 every evening. Between the end of school at 3 until practice I often graded or prepare for the next day, hang out with colleagues, etc.
- What’s most rewarding about your industry and/ or job? What's most challenging? - Rewarding: The fertile intellectual ground provided by a very intelligent, creative and interesting faculty as well as the gifted and inquisitive students who always provoke new ways of looking at things. Seeing a student turn on, find that spark of interest in the world outside of himself. Usually excellence in one field drags the habits in other fields upward.
Challenging: The pay is difficult, cultural condescension to the teaching field is amusingly annoying, parents who have a hard time seeing their children for who they are not who they wish they were. Keeping kids interested and awake in the completely unnatural and inhuman environment of rows of desks.
- What are typical entry-level positions for this field? What tips do you have for students to be successful in these positions? - Patience. Because you mean well and want to inspire kids like teachers in movies does not matter at all to them. Their perception is the reality. Be patient and firm. Be friendly but don't be a "friend".
- Where do you see the field going in the next 5-10 years? - I think the industrial school model we've been using for the past hundred years will continue to fail most of its students. I see localized and decentralized non-traditional education taking off.
- What skills and out-of-class experiences (i.e. internships, co-curricular activities, volunteering, etc.) are ideal for entering your industry / career field? - Good humor, humility, patience, toughness, intellectual curiosity.
- Where can someone in an entry-level position expect to be in two years? Five years? Ten years? - If you are still teaching after five years then it's your calling. You should get involved in camps and extracurricular activities. School administration is the logical step after a few years in most schools.
- What related occupations and industries would you recommend students explore who are interested in your industry or career field? - Organization Behavior, communications, development.
John P. Fisher- Associate Professor & Associate Chair, University of Maryland, Fischell Department of Bioengineering
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, JHU Class of 1995, Master’s in Chemical Engineering
PhD/Doctorate in Bioengineering
- How did you get interested in your field? Was it your original goal when you started at Hopkins? - My interest in research and a career in academia began while I was pursuing a MS in chemical engineering. I had originally planned to go directly into industry after my BS from Hopkins.
- What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today? - I obtained a PhD and then completed a short postdoctoral fellowship before beginning as an assistant professor.
- What was your first job after college? Was it in your current field? - I went directly from Hopkins into graduate school.
- What advice do you have for current students? - Learn how to work hard and be persistent. Find a profession you enjoy.
- What is your typical day like? - I work about 10 hours a day on a variety of different tasks: teaching, research, meetings, undergraduate programming, and collaborative work.
- What’s most rewarding about your industry and/ or job? What's most challenging? - An academic researcher basically runs a small business within an university, so your successes are yours and your failures are yours.
- What are typical entry-level positions for this field? What tips do you have for students to be successful in these positions? - A position as a professor typically requires a PhD and often requires a postdoctoral position.
- Where do you see the field going in the next 5-10 years? - I work in tissue engineering and hopefully our field will see some clear clinical successes in the next 5 to 10 years.
- What skills and out-of-class experiences are ideal for entering your industry / career field? - Our field, similar to others, requires significant guidance from mentors and advisors, so great professional relationships are critical.
- Where can someone in an entry-level position expect to be in two years? Five years? Ten years? - Once hired as an assistant professor, promotion and tenure usually comes after 6 years, and promotion to full professor at 10 years.
- Which professional organizations and resources should students look into or get involved with? - All relevant scientific societies are important for a research career.
- What related occupations and industries would you recommend students explore who are interested in your industry or career field? - Teaching and research are obviously key components, but writing is a fundamental skill that is often overlooked.
Additional Alumni Profiles
Networking with alumni and other professionals who work in these fields can help you learn very specific information about a career field. Use Johns Hopkins Connect to contact alumni to ask for their advice. You may also find professional contacts through professional associations, faculty, friends and family.
If you would like to talk about how your search is going, we invite you to make an appointment with a Career Counselor by calling 410-516-8056.
LinkedIn.com - a professional networking site where you can identify Hopkins alumni. Join the LinkedIn Johns Hopkins University Alumni Group to add over 4000+ alumni to your network.
LinkedIn Hopkins Alumni in Teaching and Education - LinkedIn is a professional networking site where you connect with and identify alumni and other professionals by industry, geographic location and organization.
Networking with professionals who work in this field can help you learn very specific information about a career field. Professional contacts through professional associations, faculty, friends and family can be very helpful. You may also explore career opportunities by talking with employers at career fairs, and company presentations.
Internships - research positions and summer employment are highly effective ways for you to try out a field, gain experience and skills and make professional contacts.
If you would like to talk about how your search is going, we invite you to make an appointment with a Career Counselor by calling 410-516-8056.