Why every undergraduate student should seek a teaching certificate for a living wage employment

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From: Stewart E Brekke, PhD Former NEIU MAT in Physics Teaching student about 1969-73 [email protected] 

Large numbers of higher education graduates with at least BAs in such fields as business, psychology, criminal justice, physical education and even computer science are working as baristas and cashiers at Starbucks and MacDonalds for about $10.00/hr. Many students were not informed when they were in college or university that there probably may be no living wage job available for them when they graduate. 

I recently saw a TV commentator state that he did not know a local TV sports reporter recently stated that their station receives about 40 job inquiry calls a day from journalism and communications college graduates not aware of the low prospect of finding a journalism or TV station job anywhere. 

Many of these Humanities, Physical Education and Social Studies type degrees have little prospect of generating a living wage job and probably no job at all. 

These intelligent and capable college graduates will have to return to higher education at about a cost of $30,000/yr to retrain in some STEM or Medical type program in order to earn a degree or certificate that enables them to obtain a living wage job. 

To save spending this extra money, it is wise to seek certification for teaching or medical type employment before graduation. 

A college graduate with a teaching certificate in mathematics, physics, chemistry or special education will earn about $50,000/y to start and a beginning registered nurses start at about $45,000/yr with openings almost everywhere. 

Without retraining, many graduates of higher education programs other than in STEM or Medical fields may find themselves in a lifetime borderline poverty situation. 

Since every undergraduate must take elective courses, taking education courses leading to teaching certification specifically in mathematics, physics, chemistry or special education or some STEM or Medical type specialty such as registered nursing may be a wise move just to fall back on just in case a living wage job in his/her college undergraduate major does not materialize after graduation. 

A student does not need to have a major or minor to teach a subject, just the courses required for state certification and a bachelor’s degree in any subject. 

Stewart E Brekke is a retired certified high school physics, chemistry and mathematics teacher from the Chicago Public Schools. He has taught mainly inner-city Black and Hispanic students. 

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