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  • Writer's pictureTaylon Mann

Stick with it!

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

There's a reason you decided to study Education.

People who study education are driven by a desire to help others. They are willing to sacrifice for their future students. This love is most likely what motivated you to start down the path of becoming a teacher. However, for whatever reason, you may be shopping around other majors, considering switching to something shorter.

It's a long road.

Because BYU Education programs are among some of the longer majors on campus, some students get tempted to change their plans and opt into shorter majors that correlate with classes they've already taken. Changing majors is normal and even encouraged when you find something you love, but in this case students who could have followed their dreams to make a difference as a teacher choose to quickly finish a bachelor's program instead -- ultimately sacrificing teaching.

Perhaps a spouse is finishing their program and will move across the country soon. Maybe you get pregnant and want to lighten your workload. These and other real-life dilemmas cause many to switch to shorter majors, but while it might seem easier now it won't be as easy post-college -- and here's why.

Job security

With the exception of "Education Majors," the groupings of majors represented in the graph below all take 50 credit hours or less to complete at BYU. By way of comparison, Education programs hover around the 70-80 credit hour range -- a stark contrast, we know. But majors that include a relatively high amount of required credit hours are most often career-specific while the opposite is also true. This national data shows how completing those extra credit hours literally pays off in full-time employment opportunities. If you want to start seeing that paycheck, a few more semesters will be worth the time and effort expended.

Data taken from survey administered by NACE:

As the data indicates, quick job placement is very high in the field of education. Teachers receive amazing benefits from the first day on the job, including competitive insurance and almost unbeatable retirement plans. As opposed to looking for a full-time job for a while and possibly even going back to school, you could be starting your career off early, making sure you are prepared for medical mishaps and allowing your retirement plan to compound interest longer.

Those who are forfeiting a future in education with the hopes that their short major will still lead to a different career, may be in for a bumpy road. Shorter majors that have non-linear career paths can result in difficult job searches and patches of unemployment, or contract/part-time jobs without health or retirement benefits. Many students in the shorter majors may possibly even need to spend more money and time getting a masters degree to break into a satisfying career path. This isn't to say that those who study short majors won't find a job, only that the search could be arduous and the path may be less direct.

But aren't there other ways to become a teacher besides studying education?

Some of you may have heard of programs such as ARL (Alternate Route to Licensure) or APT (Academic Pathway to Teaching) which help those who major in non-education fields to become teachers. While these programs do exist, there have been recent changes made. For example, as of September 1, 2019 APT is permanently gone. ARL has also tightened their admittance rates. Currently, the application process for ARL is strictly reserved for those who are already hired by a principle who cannot otherwise fill a teaching position. Once you meet the requirements and are accepted, you will have yet another year of pedagogy courses to take through Salt Lake Community College before you receive your teaching license. If you want to teach, save yourself the trouble and finish your education degree. School districts, parents, and students want education professionals who have specialized in this field to fill teaching positions.

It's worth it!

Sticking with the extra couple semesters it might take you to finish up your teaching degree will be worth your effort and time. You can become the teacher you want to be, and your students will thank you for completing those extra credit hours!

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