Find Your Calling, Become a Teacher

A toddler running around a childcare worker.
Rebecca A. Eckland

Imagine: a career in which you can develop your management, communication, leadership and organizational skills while making a real, tangible difference in someone’s life.  As they say: there’s a TMCC program that can prepare you for that! But before you envision a far-away career as a corporate executive or foreign diplomat, let’s also be clear: this is a stable, rewarding career that you can create for yourself, right here in Nevada where K-12 classrooms are increasingly missing one very important element: the teacher.

In 2022, Nevada ranked second among the top 10 states with the highest number of teacher shortages. According to an article published in the Nevada Independent, as of February, the number of teacher vacancies in Clark County was 1,270—a considerable increase from the 777 vacancies reported in August 2021 and more than double the pre-pandemic average of roughly 530.

This shortage has inspired discussions on improving teacher retention and training, which means if you’re looking for a career that will give you skill sets that can take you anywhere, if you value giving back and making the world a better place and you want a stable occupation... well, as they say: teaching is “so hot right now.” 

Luckily, TMCC’s two-year associate of arts and associate of science degrees in education can provide you with the perfect starting point to gain tons of hands-on, practical experience while preparing you for one of many options for continuing your education and obtaining licensure. Interested in taking a look? 

Catch up with TMCC’s Education Program on Wednesday, May 4 for a live event that happens in the Sierra Building, Room 211 from 5:30–7 p.m. Learn about updates to the Teacher Preparation Program, as well as attend live presentations from representatives from regional institutions with transfer options where you can complete your bachelor’s degree. These include the University of Nevada, Reno, Grand Canyon University, and Nevada State College. Washoe County School District will also present on the unique opportunities for students interested in learning more about becoming a substitute teacher.

TMCC’s Culinary Arts program is also making the night all about education by providing snacks inspired by everyone’s favorite pieces of literature: 

  • Apple slices with caramel dip - The Giving Tree
  • Green Deviled Eggs with Ham Rolls - Green Eggs & Ham 
  • Carrot & Celery Sticks with Ranch Dip - Peter Rabbit 
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies - If You Give a Mouse a Cookie  

So, don’t leave as A Very Hungry Caterpillar! Stop by Where the Wild Things Are and learn more about this highly rewarding career that may not line your pockets in gold exactly, but that will definitely ensure your work will create positive changes in the lives of those around you, as well as in the community and the world at large. 

Teaching: It’s a Better Gig Than You Think

If that was too sweet of a discussion, let’s cook the real numbers on what it actually would take to become a teacher. First off, if you’re not interested in teaching, stop reading right now. This isn’t the kind of job you can do half-heartedly. Save yourself and the next generation a lot of pain and find the career that calls to you. However, if teaching sounds interesting, ignore the voice in your head that is saying: “teachers don’t make any money” and keep reading. 

We know you don’t want to hear this right now: but money doesn’t mean everything. Sure, a large salary sounds great when you’re in college and your meals come from vending machines and cans, but having a “well-paying” job isn’t all it's cracked up to be, either, especially if you don’t really enjoy any aspect of the work you do, aside from the compensation it provides.

If you’re a full-time employee, you will spend 2,080 hours at work each year. This is more hours than you will spend doing anything else, even sleeping. It makes sense that if you spend the majority of your time doing something you don’t love—or even hate—no matter how much money you make, you’re going to be miserable. Or, at the very least, you will be surprised at what factors into your sense of security and fulfillment; one’s salary is often only a small part of a larger, and more complicated equation. 

If you’re on the fence about whether or not education is the career for you, consider these ideas:

  • Take the salary out as a consideration. We know: it’s not the greatest, especially when you’re starting out! But if you’re so focused on your yearly income as a new teacher, you’re forgetting to consider that teachers earn full benefits right from the start, and the retirement is phenomenal. 
  • The work-life balance can be a real thing. We hate to break it to you, but most jobs don’t really support a healthy work-life balance. Chances are, you’ll be asked to work on holidays, during summer and sometimes for a longer period of time than the standard 9-hour workday. As a teacher, though, you will be given the same holidays as the students. If you’re planning to raise a family, chances are you will have the same holidays as your children, too, so planning a family vacation becomes a snap.
  • If you’re in it for the long haul, you could actually make a lot of money. Say whaaaaat? Yes, you read that right. If you start teaching in a rural area, it’s not crazy to think you could start earning a $61,000 salary with full benefits. If you are interested in leadership positions, becoming an administrator is a sure-fire way to make a six-figure salary. And all of this while working a job that will hardly ever require you to work on weekends or holidays. 
  • You won’t have any kind of education debt. If you don’t want to have a large student loan debt, you won’t if you become a teacher. Most programs are streamlined to take as little time as possible and even if you do have debt, there are several grants and loan forgiveness programs intended to help those who will become a front-line worker helping our younger generations to learn and grow. 
  • You won’t find a job with this much stability. Like doctors, nurses, first responders and others in essential industries, no matter what challenges the future holds–recessions, pandemics, natural disasters—the world will always need teachers. No matter where you want to live, or even if you want a job that is exclusively online, chances are you will be able to fulfill this vital role. Perhaps more importantly, the result of your work is bound to make a positive difference in the world. We have to admit: that’s not bad for a day’s work. 

If you are wondering what are my next steps, a good place to start would be by attending the Information Night event on May 4. There, you can learn more about TMCC’s hands-on two-year associate degree program that is transferable to the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada State College and Grand Canyon University. 

If nothing else, you can enjoy the snacks… but leave with knowing whether or not you are ready for a fun, diverse, mobile and meaningful career that’s sure to last a lifetime. 

For more information about the Teacher Preparation Program at TMCC, contact the Social Sciences Department at 775–673-7185.