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From technician to teacher – career transition case study

From technician to teacher – career transition case study

Switching from technical to non-technical field (or contrariwise) is probably the most common career transition people experience. It’s a 180 degrees change, and it can often bring new joy and motivation to your everyday routine. Times when people stuck to the same career for their entire lives are long gone. Now you always have a chance to start afresh, to try something new…. But what steps should you take to transit your career smoothly?


Not every technician can be a good teacher

Skills required for a technician differ strongly from those required for a teacher. While one deals with machines (computers, assembly lines, electronics), the other one should not only deal with people, but actually lead and teach them. Before you decide to make a move to teaching, you should realistically consider (or hire someone who is able to consider it) whether you have inside of you the potential to become a good teacher, and whether you are ready to improve on your weaknesses.

If you had a chance to attend twenty different lectures at any University in the world, you would observe a common phenomenon–teaching technicians. Those are people who are extremely skilled in their field, but can’t really transfer the knowledge to another person. It’s a sad spectacle indeed, and you’d find it in every single high school or University.

In fact, if they wanted, they could have worked more on their communication skills, trying to improve their emotional intelligence. They could have learned various teaching methods, and actually became better teachers. So, even if you feel like not having the right teaching skills at the moment, you can still succeed in changing your career to teaching. It will just take you a little longer to realize your dream, and you should hire a career coach to suggest you the right steps to take.


Starting with your field, preparing for an interview

You’ll have much better chances if you opt for teaching your field. That means, if you are an IT guy, you should try getting a potion of an IT teacher. If you lack formal qualification required by law, your best bet at the beginning will be a private educational institution. Since not regulated by government, private institutions don’t need to stick to the laws regarding teachers’ qualification.

Once you get a job there you can work on your qualification simultaneously, completing a bachelor degree in education, and start working in a traditional school later. This path is often followed by technicians who decided to change their career, but lacked the degree in education.

Now you may ask the following question: Why would they choose you for the job, if there were many other applicants with the degree in education? Qualification isn’t the only deciding factor in an interview, especially if you apply for a job at a private institution. You should do your best to prepare for this meeting. Websites like can help you to understand which question they will ask you, and how to answer them. Be sure to study the most common questions and to practice your answers.


Alternative way

You can eventually avoid all the hassle with job interviews and earning a degree. World is full of private teachers (language teachers, math  teachers, IT teachers) who give lessons to students from all levels of society, ranging from children to adults, from school pupils to corporate leaders.

All you have to do to start teaching privately is getting a freelancing license, and preparing some marketing strategy to get your first clients. Nevertheless you’ll need to improve your teaching skills, so you not only get the students, but also retain them….

From Teaching to Special Education – Career Transition Case Study

From Teaching to Special Education – Career Transition Case Study

Transition within the same field of industry is a specific one, and many would call it rather a job change. That would be a misconception, however, since even within the same filed, different jobs may require completely different education and competencies.

Experience of one of my latest clients, Masha, demonstrate it perfectly. She wanted to move from general teaching to special education, a transition that may seem easy for someone who hasn’t experienced it, or someone who considers all teaching jobs the same. However we can point out few crucial differences in these two careers, on both operational and emotional level.


Differences  between general teaching and special edu

  • Special education teachers must regularly assess student’s learning progress using critical thinking skills and work with students struggling with dyslexia, ADHD, learning disabilities or mental and physical handicaps. They prepare individualized learning plans based on each student’s needs. General teachers, on the contrary, work with students without a special condition, don’t prepare individual lesson plans, and interact with lesser number of bodies in their job.
  • Special education teachers need to obtain a license and bachelor’s degree in education and special education. On the contrary, bachelor in general education is enough for a teacher. Some states may offer an alternative special education licensing program for individuals with a bachelor’s degree, in a subject other than teaching (this was the case of Masha). Some states and/or employers require even more education, with a master’s degree requirement in special education for all special education teachers. Individuals interested in working with special needs children must check the specific degree requirements of their state.
  • Teaching is emotionally challenging, but special education takes the pressure to entirely new level. Dealing with special need children, one needs an increased level of patience and empathy, to be able to understand their needs, some of which they aren’t able to express. Consulting general teachers and parents also becomes more difficult for special education.
  • Special education teachers may choose to work with students bearing a specific condition or disorder. For example, students with autism,and those who are visually impaired require very unique needs. Choosing to specialize on one type of student can provide an advanced skill set and specialized knowledge to prepare more comprehensive and effective teaching plans. When in a process of transition, you need to choose the field (or opt for general) for your specialization. General teachers don’t face this obstacle, since their degree allows them to teach on all levels outside of special needs.

The differences are plenty, and it’s important to talk about each one. One thing is to follow a mission in your life, and believing that special education is your new calling, another one, however, is understanding the impact the change can have on all other areas of your life. Life is not only work and a wrongly chosen filed can prove costly at the end.


Steps on making a transition within the same job area

  1. Understanding all the nuances of the new field, as well as differences to the old one. Discussing the impact the change will have on other areas of life, and the family of the prospect.
  2. Planning necessary educational changes, looking for the easiest possible way to obtain required qualification.
  3. Making a plan with milestones, starting with taking final decision (for special education) and ending with being successfully established in the new career.
  4. Preparing for the process of job application. Helping with resume writing, internal/external application, preparing for an interview (in Masha’s case we used to practice interview answers).
  5. Once the job is acquired, understanding all formal needs, and supporting the client emotionally, with regular phone calls, discussing the emotional challenges the transitions brings.
  6. Final establishment in the new setting.



Many people underestimate career transitions from one related field to another. However, as you can see, even transition from teaching (general field) to special education (specialized filed within the general field) presents a lot of challenges. Having someone around who understands the challenges will help you to navigate through the process safely and sound….