Need advice from fellow Teachers. Please!


Ok, I know some of these threads that are specific don’t get much response, but HOPEFULLY someone will be able to respond.

Here is my dilemma

I just graduated with my Master’s in Psychology and I have been teaching at the University level for the past few semesters, but it has been mostly freshmen. I’m moving to SC and I am considering entering into the Master’s of Teaching program at the university to begin teaching at the High School level…

If possible could anyone that has experience in teaching in public schools give me some advice? I’m not sure if I should go through the trouble…Here is how I see it

Pro: I love to teach and if I went into the public schools (teaching History/social studies/government) I could get a good solid job. Right now, at the community college level, it is very sporadic and not guaranteed.

Con: Not sure if it is worth going through another Master’s program (price wise) and really how difficult the transition from college freshmen to high school kids would be.

Thanks in advance!

PS I would love to be able to teach at a Catholic High School and there are quite a few in my area…oh well


Have you considered going for your Ph.D. in Psychology to improve your credentials for teaching at the University level?


I have had experience with Ph.D programs in psychology and I know that they are not for me. They are completely research focused and that is pure torture for me since I’ve spent the last two years doing it. Plus that would be another 4-5 years of school and I would be required to continue research even if I got a position as a professor at a university.

But thanks for the response


If you decide you do want to teach at the high school level, I would go for certification only instead of any type of degree. I am not sure if it still works this way but I obtained my teaching certificate by sending my transcripts into the state department of education and they sent a list of classes I had to take to become certified in the subject area. It was a lot fewer classes than even a bachelors - I had to go for a year (not even full time - two classes at a time I think) and then student teach. I never had anybody complain that I didn’t have a degree in education. You also will not benefit much from another Masters in the teaching profession - the Masters you have will put you on the Masters pay scale. Then depending on what state you’re in, you’ll need six credits or so every five years to keep your certificate, so don’t overschool yourself before you get there. Anything you took before your hiring will not count.


i wish it were that simple…I was told since I didn’t have a bachelor’s in anything teachable in a high school level (Psychology) I would have to get a degree in teaching in another area…Apparently SC is screwy, b/c if I stayed in NC all I would have to do is what you did. My mother did the same thing. I’ll call the school board personally just in case. I checked their website and that is what it said, and the local university confirmed. Hopefully it will be easier :slight_smile:

How do you like teaching at the public schools?


Let me start this by saying that I am not a teacher in South Carolina and each state has slightly different rules. However, there is a lot of similarities and having taught it a couple of different states I have some experience with the different hoops you have to go through to get ceritified.

So to start with you should have a degree that can be used for teaching. I assume that you B.A. is in psychology. Psychology is a social studies subject and therefore you have the degree. I teach psychology at the high school level so it is definitely a degree that can get you certified. Most of the time they like you to have a degree in history, but it is not required. You may have to take a few extra classes to add to your knowledge, but you should not have to get a new degree.

Secondly if you are going to call anyone I would try Mr. James H. Turner at the Office of Educator Certification for South Carolina. He probably can give you the best info on what to do. His whole job is to know this stuff. School boards or principals will know the basics and that’s about it. Even state school boards will only have general knowledge. Call the guy who’s job is to actually know all this stuff.

Third download the South Carolina Educator Certification Manual from the South Carolina Department of Ed. website. Look at page 43 and it more or less gives you an idea at what you would need to do as far as taking extra classes or what not.

Lastly try talking to somone else at the university. While many would like you to get a degree in education its should not be necessary. Thousands of teachers come into the field from another field. There are definitely ways to get you certified without having to get another degree. I was one of those, although again I’ve never been ceritifed in South Carolina. If necessary speak to head of the teacher ed. department, because frankly it seems like you are being lied to or misled.

Best of luck,



Thanks so much! You were a great help. I’ll def follow your advice…and yeah they told me I would be teaching social studies so I’m REALLY excited about it since that is my other favorite subject. I took a few history courses in undergrad and I wouldn’t mind taking a couple more.

I actually checked out some of the questions on the Praxis II for History/Social Studies and it seemed pretty easy.

Anyway thanks!!


Don’t be afraid to check out alternative teaching certification either. Programs like Teach for America and other similar ones can help you get certification much quicker than traditional certification routes especially if you already have a masters and teaching experience. Like previously said, check out your state requirements and don’t bother talking with local schools to determine what you need – go to the state departments. Good luck!


Like so many others said, talk to the people highest on the chain of command - department of education is your source for the real information. Everyone else may not have or want to share the full story.

The main reason you might need some non-education type courses would be to assure that you are “highly qualified” – part of the No Child Left Behind legislation. That means you completed at least 24 semester hours in the area you are teaching.

I completed my teaching license courses without a second degree, but it was the 90s and I’m in Colorado.

God bless you in your search. And don’t forget to pray for what God wants in all this. You never know what he may have planned, even though the most direct path may be what you want :smiley: Just pray and listen.



Go ahead and take the Praxis exam also. It will show where you have knowledge and where you don’t. This might influence what courses you have to take. Again since you have a degree in psychology you should be considered highly qualified, but each state is different. Colorado, where I’m currently at, is a bit quirky and so was North Carolina. But don’t be afraid to keeping calling people until you get the right answers. Best of luck, and welcome we definitely need some more caring teachers right now.



I will second going for certification first. I was going to study for a masters in education, but was told by my advisor that I would never find a job going that route. Hence, I am completing my certification this fall. Either way, good luck!


Thanks for all the advice everyone!!! I was wondering if anyone could give me some anecdotes from teaching high school students. I figured it would be harder to do than teaching at the college level. Considering in the college level I set my own rules and in public schools you have to follow strict lesson plans etc.

I’m just very curious lol


I’ve only taught elementary and middle school, but after eleven years, I may have something to say about education at every level :shrug:

Whether you teach from a “scripted” lesson found in a text book or create your own lessons to fulfill district curriculum will be determined by someone other than yourself. I have seen very, very, very few areas where scripted lessons were the norm. And I have never heard of it in the middle or high school levels in the two districts I’ve worked at in Colorado.

The biggest difference between teaching at the college level and the high school level is the “buy in” of your students. College students are self-selected. High school students have to be there. The attitude of the students, therefore, is extraordinarily different. Classroom management and student motivation can become the keys to success or failure of a lesson.

Another huge difference is the community of teachers in the K-12 system. In the ideal, you work together in content area teams and as a whole staff to create a schoolwide learning environment. This is waaaay easier at the elementary level than in MS or HS.

Just another thought: have you looked into the plethora of doctoral options available to you? I am working on an education doctorate (EdD) and there’s a woman in the program who’s a nurse! There are doctoral degrees in teacher leadership, adult education, administration, and on and on. There are online and traditional programs as well, and all of these will open up career opportunities you may not yet have considered. One more thing to consider perhaps.

God bless you in your discernment.


Take both your PRAXIS tests. It will definitely help you.
Here in PA, if you pass the PRAXIS (and already have your teacher cert) you are certified to teach that subject area. Classes not required.


I am a retired college professor from California.

You must be willing to re-locate to get a great job in a Community college that pays the best and has the best benefits. You may have to leave your state.

It is best to teach college kids because they are there because they want to be there.


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