Do you have an interest in teaching or helping others? Do you feel like you have the skills to listen, give advice, or guidance? You can make a difference in the lives of others through a career in education, consulting, human resources, human/social services, or nonprofit work. Many of the occupations in these sectors do require background checks, licensure, and in some cases a graduate degree. The demand for occupations in this industry is growing at a fast or faster than average pace. Employers in this industry include K-12 public and private school systems, higher education, consulting, federal, state, and local government, nonprofits, counseling, libraries, Fortune 500 companies, museums, and more.
Examples of occupations in these sectors include*:
*Note: These links take you to Firsthand career guides. You will need to login with your W&M credentials in order to access the resources for free.
The Office of Career Development and Professional Engagement Resources in Ed & Human Service Careers
Education & Human Services Careers Newsletter
The Education & Human Services Newsletter is a bi-monthly publication and a match for students who want to help and teach others. This newsletter offers announcements on industry-specific programs and events, resources for students, job and internship opportunities, and much more. To sign up to receive the newsletter, login to TribeCareers. Click on the circle on the top right of the page, then My Account, then Industry Newsletters/Career Interests and update your Industry Newsletters section by checking the box next to all of the newsletters you'd like to receive.
Events & Programs
Education and human service programs and events are scheduled throughout the fall and spring semesters. These planned activities are meant to build your confidence, knowledge, and offer perspective before you transition into the world of work. To stay informed on all of the upcoming education and human services events, please check out the Events tab in TribeCareers and/or subscribe to the industry newsletter. Some of the scheduled events include:
K-12 Education Recruitment Day: The K-12 Education Recruitment Day brings several public and private school districts from Virginia and neighboring states to recruit students pursuing a degree in education for positions in Curriculum & Instruction, School Counseling, School Psychology, and School Administration. This event is targeted to students who will be graduating in May and is typically held in person in the W&M School of Education. Come prepared to hold individual “chats” with these school districts and other recruiters in this space and to share your interests in education. The K-12 Education Recruitment Day occurs during the spring semester.
Government, Education, and Nonprofit (GEN) Career Fair at Georgetown: A consortium of career centers at 12 colleges and universities in mid-Atlantic and northern states help to plan and coordinate the Government, Education, and Nonprofit Career Fair at Georgetown University. This fair occurs during the spring semester and includes several education and nonprofit employers that participate each year. You can connect and network with these employers who are offering full-time, part-time, and internship opportunities.
Meet Ups: Meet Ups are informal industry-specific career chats with alumni working in various sectors who talk with students and highlight their background, career pathway, trends, day in life, and offer advice. These chats occur at different times during the fall and spring semesters. Some examples of past Meet Ups have featured alumni in teaching, counseling, museums, school psychology, school administration, social work, and more.
Information Sessions: Information Sessions are scheduled throughout the fall and spring semesters. An information session is generally employer-led and provides an overview of the employer’s work, including their recruitment timelines and available roles, internship opportunities, skills they look for in potential candidates, and the overall hiring process. Examples of previous information sessions are Teach for America, Peace Corps, The Literacy Lab, and Project Horseshoe Farm, to name a few. Sign into TribeCareers and click on Events, then Information Sessions to see the current schedule and RSVP to those that interest you.
Panel Discussions: Panel discussions are scheduled throughout the fall and spring semesters and are based on an industry topic featuring alumni or other professionals working in the field. These discussions are led by a moderator who may have a list of prepared questions but also takes questions from the participants. Examples of previous panel discussions are Careers in Education, Alternative Careers in Education, and much more.
Workshops: General workshops are scheduled throughout the fall and spring semesters. These workshops are called Crash Courses. Crash Courses introduce you to a career management topic such as federal resumes, standard resumes and cover letters, job search strategies, networking, and more to build your skills and confidence. From time to time, we deliver workshops in the classroom as they are requested by professors and based on a career development topic. Sign into TribeCareers and click on Events, then Workshops to see the current schedule and RSVP to those that interest you.
There are several internship opportunities for students interested in education and human services. The Office of Career Development & Professional Engagement has an internship Blackboard site that includes a list of employers where students have interned previously as well as a list of current opportunities. You can also search for internships using our Internship Search Databases. You will want to pay close attention to program deadlines and eligibility requirements. Many opportunities are provided throughout the summer, fall, and spring semesters.
Education and human service employers recruit college graduates from all types of majors and backgrounds for entry-level positions. To advance in these careers, you may want to consider a graduate school program. Some majors that students pursue who have an interest in working in this space include:
Teaching License: If you are planning on teaching in the public school system, you will need a teaching license. Teaching licenses are conferred by a state agency and given to teachers who have completed certain state-mandated requirements. To review the requirements for licensure and to access the Virginia application for a Virginia license please visit the Virginia Department of Education. If you are applying for teaching positions in a private school you typically will not need to apply for or need a teaching license.
Provisional License: Before applying for a provisional teaching license, you must be hired by a school division first. If you have at least a bachelor’s degree and an interest in teaching, you may apply for teaching positions and subsequently a provisional license. Once you are hired and a provisional license has been approved, you will be given time to complete the requirements for a teaching license.
Licensure: Other sectors in education and human services may require licensure to demonstrate your preparation and content knowledge such as school social work and school counseling. Both of these fields require a license or endorsement from your state agency. Other professions will require independent licensure from an independent professional board. Licensed mental health counselors and licensed clinical social workers are two different examples that require a certain amount of time of post-graduate (school) supervision and then successfully pass a national board exam before you can practice in these professions.
Praxis II: The Praxis will assess your requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities as a K-12 education professional. There are three types of Praxis tests: Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, Praxis Subject Assessment, and Praxis Content Knowledge. The core tests for teaching educators are reading, writing, and mathematics. The Praxis is a required exam for all public school professionals in Virginia.
Professional Associations: You may want to consider joining a professional association that matches your professional interests. Professional associations help you to advance in your profession, support your interests and advancement, and network with other colleagues in the industry. Many of these professional associations offer continuing education, seminars, and other events that support your lifelong learning. You can also enhance your leadership skills by serving on a committee or board. Some of the national associations have a corresponding local or state association. Examples of associations to consider while starting a career in education or human services include:
Recruiting Timelines & Breaking into Professional Roles
There are several important factors for you to consider as you pursue a career in education or human services. If you are applying to work in a school system, many positions will be hired based on the academic year, therefore school districts will be hiring in the spring semester and summer for positions that start in the new school year. Most public school districts require that you sign an annual contract and breaking it could result in the school system placing a hold on your license, thus preventing you from accepting a position with a different school system while you’re still under contract. You will renew your teaching contract once a year.
Positions found in human services and non-profit organizations are generally offered throughout the year and as employer needs exist. If you are applying for a job in human services, you will want to pay attention to the educational and experience requirements as some human service positions will require a graduate degree, licensure, and two years or more of prior work experience.
It can be very important to utilize networking in your job search as well, as many positions are competitive in nature. Keep in mind that it’s best to cultivate your network before you need it. Check out our networking page for more information on networking strategies.
W&M Clubs & Organizations
There are several clubs and student organizations at William & Mary that you can join related to education, human services, and the non-profit sectors. You can further develop your leadership or professional skills in a leadership position or join as a member.
Log into TribeLink to find a full list of organizations, learn more and sign up for a club/organization that interests you. Here are just a few of the clubs and organizations you may want to explore: