How Long Does it Take?
I often get asked "What is the average time it takes to get a job?" Now THAT's a loaded question! Usually the real question behind it is "I've been searching for x weeks - is that a long time? What's WRONG with me?"
The short answer is that it varies - varies by person, region and especially by profession! AARP published numbers that said the "average" is 21.4 weeks if you are under 55, or 29.9 for those 55 or "better." The International Business Times had a figure of 8 months (32 weeks) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics has 10.4 weeks as a number. I would wager that little of the sampling was conducted in the educational field.
In education, I don't believe there is any such thing as an "average" time. There are definite "surges" - key hiring times such as July/August (just prior to the opening of schools), January and March/April. For those of you still in school, a key strategy to minimize the length of time is to begin early. Network, scout out openings, have your materials in progress even before student teaching.
You may also find that one of the principal paths to get to your permanent position is by "apprenticeship." Before you contact Donald Trump, let me clarify what I mean. You may want to be listed on substitute lists or long-term sub positions or other "temporary" assignments to gain post-graduation experiences. Be creative! Providing childcare for several families can be described using teaching vernacular - use key words such as "age appropriate," for example. In the old days we often said "pay your dues." The same can apply today. Just remember, when you are in these positions, promote yourself. You should always have a copy of your materials (i.e. resume, references, credentials) close at hand and share them readily!
Finally, if you are worried about how long your search is taking, enlist others in your search. Connect with your career center, seek out former teachers - but be sure they are familiar with the nuances of the educational job search. I have seen many educators go to business experts who are baffled by the length of time it takes and the process - "Aren't you listed on Monster?" "Just post it online and look through the listings... .". And above all, network!
Phil Tripp (Retired)
Twardowki Career Development Center
West Chester University of Pennsylvania