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As a kid, I remember thinking teachers had great jobs because they got to take summers off. I didn't quite grasp the challenges of the position nor did I understand that, unlike their students, teachers do not spend the summer at sleep-away camp or catching up on video games.

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Trying to land that first (or second) teaching job can be a nerve-wracking experience. While some areas are in desperate need of qualified teachers, other markets are flooded with candidates. Having a professional, attention-grabbing cover letter and portfolio can make all the difference when trying to impress a hiring committee.

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Whether you're a college student trying to figure out where your true calling lies, or an experienced professional getting back to work, or someone just looking for a career in another field, you need to make your choice carefully. With women making considerable strides in fields that were previously male-dominated, the lines of career limitations have blurred.

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Are you thinking about becoming a teacher? As a young elementary school educator, I've learned some important lessons after being in the field for the past few years.

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It’s a thrilling experience to walk across the stage to receive your college diploma. However, graduating requires some major decision making. Where will you live? Where will you work? What job will you find the most fulfilling? Related: Why Teaching Is Not A Back-Up Career If you have decided that you want to become a teacher, then you can look forward to a satisfying teaching career enriching the lives of youth. But it's not as simple as applying for any position that looks interesting and waiting to hear back from an administrator. The path to becoming a teacher is rigorous, and you need to meet specific state certification requirements as well as compete for your desirable position. Here are some tips to jump-start your teaching career:

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