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Old 08-15-2011, 05:35 PM
 
Location: Morris County
22 posts, read 31,151 times
Reputation: 15

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I have read many posts about how difficult it is to get a teaching job in New Jersey...I am wondering if having a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree would help? I am planning on teaching high school English, and am considering a dual certification in Special Ed/Teacher of Students with Disabilities.

I also got a near-perfect score on my Praxis II in English Literature - Content (198/200). My high score means ETS provided me with a Certificate of Excellence, marking me in the top 15% of all test takers for that exam.

I wouldn't start the MAT program until Fall 2012, and would likely not finish until 2013 (if I entered an accelerated program) or 2014. What else can I do to increase my chances, or am I positioning myself well?
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:11 PM
 
747 posts, read 1,337,947 times
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Your problem is that you're going to have to deal with the thousands of others who have similar achievements. And, honestly, high test scores don't mean a whole lot when the superintendent's daughter and the Board of Ed. President's nephew are looking for jobs. (Yes, some districts have instituted nepotism policies, but they are few and far between, and there's always loopholes to be exploited in the policies.)

With today's climate, honestly, an MAT might do more harm than good with no experience. Districts are strapped for cash, and administrators are going to look to save money wherever possible. If a B.A. candidate is going to be paid $5,000 per year less, that may be a more attractive option to the administrators than someone with a master's degree. A special ed. certificate will help, but by no means does it guarantee a job these days.

If you have your certificate of eligibility, it might be a good idea to start applying now for jobs. Then, after you get a year or two of experience, you can pursue the master's degree and hopefully get some tuition reimbursement for it. Don't be picky about where you apply. If nothing materializes, then you can reconsider going for the master's degree. Good luck!
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Toms River, NJ
1,048 posts, read 3,183,789 times
Reputation: 560
If you are seriously considering Special Ed., I believe Montclair State has a program where you will get your Special Ed., Cert w/them while working in Newark. However, you really need to be prepared to work in a district like Newark.

Otherwise you really are just another applicant. zhelder is right about your Master's. In some cases it might be advantageous however in a many it may be a detriment. It really is hard to know. I do recommend the Special Ed Certification if that is something you think you would like to do.
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:35 AM
 
Location: NJ
259 posts, read 220,832 times
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I think having an MAT makes you stand out and will help you get a job. Yes, you'll cost the district more money, but $5000 more is not going to hurt your chances. But, it does depend on the district. Good schools will appreciate your advanced degree, bad schools won't.

As for making yourself more marketable, getting a special education certification is a great start. But if you really want to increase your odds of finding a teaching job, get into math or science. With an English cert, you will be up against hundreds of applicants and it may take you several years to find a job. If you had a cert in math or physics or chemistry, you'll be up against maybe a dozen or so applicants for each job opening.

I have an MAT in chemistry, was a chemist most of my life and went into education as a second career. I found a job on my third interview. I have friends from my MAT program that are in social studies, English, and phys ed, that after a year are still looking for work. One social studies friend doesn't even get interviews anymore. There are literally hundreds of applicants for those positions.

Teachers have it very rough these days, finding a job is difficult. You have to go where the demand is, and right now it's in math, science, and special ed. But special ed is becoming flooded also, everyone that can't find work is getting special ed certs. And I'm not sure what the future holds for special ed. I know one district is cutting back on their special ed teachers, just too expensive to have multiple teachers in the classroom.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Midwest transplant
1,498 posts, read 2,863,560 times
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You can certainly impress upon the district that having your MAT will not cost them in continuing education, which is often part of the benefits package overlooked in the big scheme of things. Our district (in PA, not NJ) went from hing experienced/tenured teachers (so as to not have to train a new teacher or work on classroom management, risk of losing them within a few years) to hiring straight out of college teachers to save money.

Guess what? The straight out of college must finish their 24 credits within 6 years, and then they of course want to finish their Masters with the additional 6 or 12 credits needed. At $600 per credit, it would have been less expensive in the long run to pay the MAT salary! Go figure....
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Morris County
22 posts, read 31,151 times
Reputation: 15
Thanks for the tips, everybody! I feel like it's a double-edged sword...on the one hand, I have been told multiple times that schools won't even look at you unless you are certified. I have also heard that the MAT is a bonus because it does establish connections with at least one school district (via the student teaching portion).

fred44, my undergraduate degree is in English, so I'm not qualified to get the MAT in any of the subjects you mentioned. Thanks for the help, though. I figure, special education/teacher of students with disabilities may help...where did you attend your MAT program if I may ask?
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Old 08-17-2011, 06:28 AM
 
166 posts, read 114,320 times
Reputation: 136
Many schools are no longer paying for master degree classes. Why don't you try and get a job teaching first. If you don't get a job you can sub and do your master's degree at the same time getting a foot in the door.
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Old 08-17-2011, 01:33 PM
 
Location: NJ
259 posts, read 220,832 times
Reputation: 412
Quote:
Originally Posted by cherryblossoms View Post
...
fred44, my undergraduate degree is in English, so I'm not qualified to get the MAT in any of the subjects you mentioned. Thanks for the help, though. I figure, special education/teacher of students with disabilities may help...where did you attend your MAT program if I may ask?
I went to Montclair State. I liked it there. For me it is the perfect size school, big enough to have good resources, small enough to get attention from the professors. They have a very good education program, won some awards not too long ago. And the tuition is still reasonable.

It's going to be rough finding work in English. Do as much as you can to make yourself more marketable. I think an MAT and getting special ed certified is needed. Real world experience will help also. Have you written any books? Do you belong to any literary societies? Anything that shows that you can offer more to the students and to the school than the next applicant will greatly improve your chances of getting hired.
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Old 08-17-2011, 02:12 PM
 
Location: Jersey
1,913 posts, read 1,750,746 times
Reputation: 1367
Marry someone with connections.

Nepotism? THIS IS JERSEY!!!!
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Old 08-17-2011, 04:05 PM
 
Location: GA
2,586 posts, read 6,605,599 times
Reputation: 886
Quote:
Originally Posted by TylerJAX View Post
Marry someone with connections.

Nepotism? THIS IS JERSEY!!!!
So right!! Teaching is very political in NJ. You would have a better chance in an urban school. Good luck!
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