Education Career Information
The Career Center offers various services in support of students seeking teaching careers. We maintain credential files, post job vacancies, and provide a variety of resources relating to careers in the education field.
- Available Career Center Services
- Job Search Process
- Managing Your Application
- Applying for positions in SC and other States
- Information about Recommendation Letters
- Establishing a Credential File
- Teacher Employment Expo
- Career Center Online & Print Resources
- Educator Job Search Booklet (PDF Format). Contains a wealth of information including sample resumes and cover letters.
The College of Charleston Career Center offers a wide variety of services to students and alumni entering the field of Education. These services include:
- Career Counseling
- Resume Critiques
- Preparation for Interviews - Mock Interviews
- Job Search Resources
- Internet Resource Links
- Job Postings (CougarJobLink)
- Graduate School Information
JOB SEARCH PROCESS
The job search process can be overwhelming at times. The best approach is to educate yourself on the process and develop a strong plan of action to achieve your goal. The job search and application process for education related positions—
- Research and Identify Districts / Schools of Interest
- Identify Employment Application Process - online application options
- Collect Application / Credential Materials and Letters of Reference
- Complete and Submit Formal Application
- Complete Screening and Interviewing Process
For more information and resources for your job search, download our Job Search for Educators booklet. (PDF format). The booklet contains a wealth of information including sample resumes and cover letters for those seeking teaching positions.
In the education field, teacher candidates are often asked to submit their “credentials” when applying for teaching positions. Credentials are used by many school systems and other types of employers in their pre-selection process. Credential documents are a testament to your achievements and character in support of your entry into employment.
What does my application package include?
- Final Transcripts
- Test Scores (Praxis or other appropriate test scores)
- Letters of Recommendation / Reference
- Teaching Certificate or Letter of Intent
- Official Application
Managing Your Application PackageWhat are the advantages of self-managing / self-credentialing?
- Allows you to take full responsibility for your job search and career correspondence
- Self-credentialing promotes efficient and timely delivery of application materials directly from you to the employer
How should you go about applying to school systems if you are self-managing / self-credentialing?
It is very important to recognize that every school district’s application procedures are different. Contact the school system in which you are seeking employment to determine their method of application, and follow those instructions precisely.
APPLYING FOR POSITIONS
SOUTH CAROLINA SCHOOL SYSTEM
If you are applying to teach in SC, you may utilize the South Carolina Teacher Application System, which serves all SC public school districts. This site allows you to complete an online application form and supply online references to any school district in South Carolina to which you wish to apply. The site may be accessed at http://www.winthrop.edu/scteach
Important Note: When using the SC State Teacher Application, you must also contact the school district to whom you wish to apply to alert them to the fact you have completed the online application and your references will also be online. School districts will not automatically download these forms and consider you as a viable candidate until you have contacted them personally.
The online SC Teacher Application System also allows you to Request a Reference, which will email the persons you have chosen to serve as references with instructions on how to log into the system and complete an online reference form. A minimum of three (3) references are typically requested by school systems, including those from your classroom co-operating teacher and faculty supervisor of your clinical practice assignment. An additional reference might be requested from a faculty member who is familiar with your work in class, from former employers, or from other teachers or administrators who have observed your performance in the classroom, etc.
Other materials typically required by school systems for application purposes (may include):
- A resume
- College transcripts. You may usually begin the application process by sending an unofficial transcript. Some systems will ask for an official transcript later in the selection process if they are seriously considering you as a candidate. You should then make a request through the Registrars Office for an official transcript to be sent directly to the employer. You will be responsible for paying a fee to the Registrar’s Office for the service.
- Appropriate PRAXIS II scores (send a copy - keep the original)
- Teaching Certificate or Letter of Intent indicating that you have met requirements in order to qualify for certification. The Letter of Intent will be sent to you at the end of the semester from the School of Education. Once you receive your Teaching Certificate, you should include a copy (not the original) whenever you mail your credentials.
Applying to school districts in states other than SC:
- Contact the school district of interest in order to find out how they wish you to apply, and what credentials they require. Follow their instructions.
- Check out the American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE) Job Search Handbook online @ www.aaee.org
- Visit Teachers-Teachers.com or EducationAmerica.net
- Visit the school district website
- Call the school district
- Network at the Teacher Employment Expo
- Check out the Career Center’s online resources @ http://careercenter.cofc.edu: Helpful Web Links
Confidential recommendations should be sent directly to the credential file by the writer.
Most school districts look for recommendations from your classroom co-operating teacher and faculty supervisor of your clinical practice assignment. Additional recommendations should be requested from faculty who are familiar with your preparation in your major course of study and/or from former employers, especially education related jobs.
Letters of recommendation may also be typed on the writer’s own letterhead stationery, but they should include the Recommendation Form in order to indicate whether or not you have waived your right to access the letter.
Confidential vs. Nonconfidential References
Your credential file package contains Recommendation Forms which may be used for Confidential (closed) or Nonconfidential (open) letters of recommendation.
In 1974, the Buckley Amendment was passed into law, stating that all reference letters written after December 1974 are assumed to be non-confidential (open to you), unless you waive your right of access to these letters. The option to waive your right of access to your confidential letters of recommendation is contained on each Recommendation Form. You should read and sign this section of the form if electing to use confidential references.
Why would anyone waive their right to read their own reference letters? Many school district officials feel that a confidential recommendation letter is a more honest appraisal of a job applicant, particularly when it comes to weaknesses, and therefore may be given more credibility by a prospective employer. However, it is up to the individual, in light of his/her relationship with the writer of a recommendation, to decide what he/she finds most appropriate.
Effective August 1, 2015, the Career Center will no longer offer credential services. If you wish to establish a credential file (or dossier), you may wish to use the services of Interfolio (http://www.interfolio.com/services/dossier/), an online resource, for this purpose. There is a nominal fee to use Interfolio to house your dossier.
If you had previously established a Credential File in the Career Center (prior to August 2015), the Career Center will still handle the filing, duplication, and mailing of your credentials to the school districts with whom you have applied. Here is information you may use if you are requesting that your Credential File be sent by the Career Center to potential employers:
The School of Education, Health and Human Performance sponsors a Teacher Employment Expo in the Spring semester in order to allow schools districts to meet with upcoming graduates who are seeking teaching positions.
Please note that although all SC school districts are invited, as well as many school districts from other states, many cannot or do not wish to attend.
Students planning to attend the Teacher Employment Expo are expected to dress appropriately (business / professional attire), and to have resumes available to leave with recruiters if requested.
Check the Events Calendar for the date, time and location of the Teacher Employment Expo.
Additionally, there is a state-wide career fair, South Carolina Teacher Expo, held each spring/summer. Check CERRA's website for details: http://cerra.org/expo.aspx .
Before a Career Fair
- If available, study the list of participating organizations before the event to identify the employers you most want to contact. This will give you extra time to research their organizations and find out more information about available positions. When you arrive at the fair, you’ll have an immediate sense of purpose in seeking out these employers.
- Dress appropriately. Remember, first impressions count. You want to be taken seriously as a potential candidate for career opportunities, so you should dress as if you were ready to go to work in the organization. Business professional or business casual attire is acceptable in most cases. If in doubt as to how to dress, ask the Career Center.
- Take copies of your resume to leave with recruiters. Take more copies than you think you will need.
During a Career Fair
- Once you arrive at the career fair, you will sign in and pick-up a name tag. Be sure to pick-up the list of participating school districts at the registration table. Before you go into the event, review the list and prioritize your list of recruiters to visit.
- At the career fair, you should approach all recruiters representing districts of interest to you. Talk with as many representatives as possible! If you are not familiar with the organization, ask questions! These employers are attending this event in order to talk with you about available careers.
- Broaden your focus and include many different districts. For instance, you may not have considered working in another district or even a different part of the United States.
- Strike up a conversation to introduce yourself and to let the recruiter know your qualifications and interests. For example, “Hello, my name is Jane Smith, and I am a senior majoring in Special Education. I am very interested in your district and would like to speak to you about current or upcoming opportunities.” Once you know what to say when approaching recruiters, you’ll feel more comfortable.
- When you leave your resume with an employer, ask what the next step in the process is.
- Collect literature, including the recruiter’s business card, for follow-up discussions or later correspondence purposes.
- Don’t be surprised if you are interviewed on the spot or even offered a contract. Do not rush into signing anything without considering your future goals and plans. It is OK to ask the recruiter for additional time to consider the offer.
After a Career Fair
- Follow up with a short note of thanks to the recruiters who are employed with the organizations that remain of interest to you after the career fair. Students often ask how they can "stand out" above the crowd at events such as this. Sending a follow-up letter within 2-3 days of the fair is one way.
- Follow up with formal applications. Make sure your application package is complete and submitted as directed by the district or school.
INTERVIEW ATTIRETips for Women
- A conservative suit in a neutral or dark color is most professional. The skirt should be just above the knee. Avoid styles that are very tight, too short, or too long. No frills, ruffles, or plunging necklines!
- Conservative pants suits may be acceptable for many employers.
- Solid color blouse or shell under the suit jacket. Avoid sleeveless or spaghetti straps.
- Closed-toe shoes with medium or low heels in a dark or neutral color. No sandals!
- Keep jewelry to a minimum. Wear small earrings, a simple necklace, one ring per hand.
- Hair should be well-groomed and make-up should be conservative. Avoid perfume.
- Carry a small, matching handbag, or put your personal items in your attache case. Avoid having too much “baggage” to deal with.
- Hosiery is a must, even in summer
- No suit? A black, skirt or dress slacks and a conservative blouse or sweater-set is the next best outfit.
Tips for Men
- A two- or three-button dark (navy, black, gray) suit
- Solid color (white or another neutral color) long-sleeved shirt
- Conservative tie (solid, stripe or small pattern)
- Dark, solid color dress shoes with dark socks that match your suit
- Avoid cologne or aftershave or use very sparingly.
- No suit? Dark dress slacks, a long sleeved solid-colored shirt and a tie is the next best outfit.
- Preparing for the interview
- Be sure to get a good night's rest the night before and recognize that this will be a stressful event.
- You will be expected to expand upon the areas you discussed in your first interview, and you will have more opportunities to ask questions. Be prepared to do so.
- Plan to spend most of one day for this interview.
After the Interview
- Ask for a business card at the close of the interview to ensure that you have proper contact information.
- Thank the interviewer(s) for their time and shake hands firmly.
- Indicate that you look forward to hearing from them soon and welcome them to contact you if they need any additional information.
- Send a thank-you letter within 48 hours reiterating your interest in the position.
If you do not hear from the employer within the time frame indicated, make a follow-up phone call to let him/her know you are still interested in the position and to find out if there are additional questions you might address.
Second Interview / Site Visit
You may be asked for a second interview after your initial screening interview. If the initial interview was held at a location other than at the company's facility (i.e. at Career Center), you may be asked to visit the company's offices for this subsequent interview. The follow-up interview will allow for a more in-depth conversation with the employer and often with additional members of the organization. An invitation for a follow-up interview suggests that the employer is very interested in considering you for employment.
Traveling for an Interview
- Be sure to check your schedule regarding classes, tests, and so forth before confirming a date for a follow-up interview, as prior arrangements may have to be made with professors and for travel. The employer will most likely be willing to work with you in arranging suitable dates for your interview.
- The company contact person should provide you with an itinerary of what will be involved in the second interview/site visit. It is acceptable to request an itinerary, information on how to dress, and items you should provide, such as college transcripts.
- Travel arrangements can be handled in a number of ways. You may be asked to make your own arrangements or the organization may coordinate your travel arrangements.
- If the company is making your travel arrangements, verify what expenses will be prepaid and what expenses will be reimbursed. If the employer is paying for your hotel expenses, be considerate of this, and do not charge personal calls to your room, order pay-for-view movies, etc. If you are to be reimbursed for expenses, keep receipts and document the mileage on your personal car.
- Be sure you have clear directions to your hotel and to the location of your interview. Check on parking options if you are driving.
- Take a major credit card and/or cash to handle unexpected expenses and incidentals.
The Career Center’s Online Resources