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Changing Careers: From Business to K-12 Administration

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Q:
I am looking for a career change, and I am considering a career in education. I have a background in Business Administration and Marketing, and I am looking for an administrative position. I would rather work for public k-12, but I am not sure what positions I should look for. Any advice would be appreciated.

A:
Public K-12 may be a very different environment in your state than your current career so there are several critical steps you should take as you begin consideration of a career change. They include:

  1. Talk to someone in your local school district or your state administrative association regarding the career options that may exist for you in your state or area. Most states have a business manager association and community relations/public relations association. These organizations may be able to give you guidance as to the options that exist.
  2. Consider how mobile you are as that may significantly impact the choices you can make in the public k-12 sector.
  3. Check on the certification requirements that exist in any state you may be considering for a job change. Certification requirements differ greatly from state to state so make sure you are qualified or able to become certified for any position you may seek.
  4. Join the state association in which you may wish to work and attend some meetings in order to get to know people in the field. Developing some personal connections in the profession may help you get to know what possibilities may exist.
  5. Volunteer in your local district assisting with special projects or anywhere else you may want to work. A reference from someone currently in the field will be essential to landing your first job in public k-12.
  6. Consider starting in a position that is not your ultimate goal. Moving into public k-12 can sometimes be challenging if your early career path was in a different sector.
  7. Call education sector search firms that work in the states where you may want to work and ask to meet with someone from the firm to learn more about what options you may have.
  8. Actively pursue positions in districts where they may be looking for someone with business experience. This is the case in some districts and they prefer to hire someone who did not follow a traditional career path. The connections that you made in the steps above may help you identify districts where you may be a highly desirable candidate.

-- Hank Gmitro, President, HYA Executive Search Division, ECRA Group, Inc.

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