The Corps Member Experience
Joining Teach For America does not mean you will automatically have a teaching job. Corps members are hired full-time employees of their school, district, or charter organization (not Teach For America). You'll have support from staff in your region throughout the hiring process. Your salary and benefits will be the same as other beginning teachers working for the same employer. Learn more about getting hired as a teacher.
Our corps members serve as lead teachers of record for at least two years within their placement school and region. Shortly after receiving an offer to the corps, incoming corps members begin the process of preparing to teach and obtaining their teaching certification, particularly by taking certification exams. Ahead of the first year of the program, we offer a robust and rigorous Pre-Service Training that takes place both virtually and in-person over the course of about two months. From there, our corps members enter their schools and begin teaching, and receive continuous support and professional development along the way. Learn more about our various forms of support and training. Because they are firstly employed by the schools and districts in which they work, they receive the same financial compensation and benefits as other beginning teachers.
Informed and inspired by their students, many alumni choose to teach beyond their two-year commitments. Others shape the context and conditions in which schools operate. Our alumni are school leaders, policymakers, founders of advocacy organizations, social entrepreneurs, and business leaders working to make change. Learn more on Life as an Alum.
Certification & Graduate School
Your ability to do this will depend on the region. Even if it is permitted in your region, generally corps members do not choose to complete certification at a non-partnering program. If you choose a separate program you would need to apply to the program on your own and independently track that you are meeting alternative certification legal requirements.
While Teach For America has no restrictions about corps members pursuing additional graduate degrees during their two-year commitments, we do encourage you to strongly consider if this would be feasible for you. If you join the corps, you would be teaching full time in addition to attending required certification and/or graduate coursework. Most corps members would not have time to pursue another degree on top of these commitments.
While a background in education isn’t a prerequisite for you to apply to Teach For America, all of our partner regions will require you to complete steps to become highly qualified in the subject(s) you'll teach in the fall.
Most regions also require corps members to work toward full teaching certification during their two-year commitment. Each state has different requirements and rules around teacher certification. Learn more about becoming certified to teach.
Teacher certification costs widely vary across regions, so we recommend that you compare regions with our Explore tool to get a better understanding of what expenses to expect. Costs can include fees for licensing, as well as tuition for required coursework.
You should expect to pay for some, if not all, of your teacher certification expenses, though some regions may offer discounted tuition rates through their university partner and/or other financial benefits.
You may also qualify to receive an AmeriCorps award by serving as a corps member, which can be used to cover some of your certification costs.
Teach For America does not pay for your certification or master's degree, however, there are different benefits available to corps members to help pay for the coursework that you must take in order to teach in your region.
Many regions have relationships with local universities that offer reduced tuition for corps members.
In some regions, you can qualify for tuition exemption based on the fact that youâ€™re a teacher.
Teach For America is currently a member of AmeriCorps, the national service network. Through this relationship, our corps members are AmeriCorps members and are eligible to receive forbearance and interest payment on qualified student loans during their two years of service. Additionally, those who have not previously received AmeriCorps awards may receive an education award of around $6,895 at the end of each year of service. This may be used towards future educational expenses, such as certification or master's degree courses, or to repay qualified student loans. Please note this award is not guaranteed.
In some regions, you must pay for classes up front.
Explore regions to find information about certification costs.
Teach For America is not specifically a certification or graduate education program. However, depending on your region, you may earn your certification after teaching for two years.
In most regions, you will be required to work towards certification while teaching by paying for and completing coursework and exams.
In other regions, you may not be required to become fully certified, but to continue teaching for two years, you will be required to complete and pay for some coursework or to attend professional development programs.
Several of our regions have established partnerships with universities to facilitate your work toward certification and/or master’s degrees. These programs vary from site to site and year to year. Some may be offered at reduced cost.
Learn more about our regions and find information about certification requirements.
The application and training process for certified teachers is the same for non-certified applicants.
If you’re admitted to the corps and are already certified to teach the subject in the state where you’re assigned, you won’t need to retake any certification exams that you’ve already passed. However, you’ll most likely need to submit a copy of your score reports.
If you're admitted to the corps in one state but are currently certified in another, you also may be exempt from taking additional coursework during your two-year commitment, depending on certification reciprocity between states. Information about certification reciprocity can usually be found on a state’s department of education website.
If you’re assigned to a state where you’re not certified to teach, you can take the certification tests and participate in the coursework, or apply to transfer your license on your own. If you’re already certified in other states, our regional offices will work with you to determine which coursework may still be required. Once admitted, you will want to speak to your regional staff for more information.
Several of our regions have established partnerships with universities to facilitate your work toward a master's degree during your two-year commitment. These programs vary from site to site and year to year. Some may be offered at reduced cost.
Please keep in mind that because of these programs change frequently, we encourage you to avoid selecting regions solely based on these partnerships. We ask that you remain flexible as to where you are willing to teach so that we can best meet the needs of students.
Learn more about our regions and find information about master's degree options.
Training & Support
Teach For America is committed to providing ongoing support for corps members throughout their two-year commitment. All corps members begin their commitment by completing our Pre-Service training, which extends into the first 90 days of teaching. Once in their classrooms, corps members continue to receive ongoing support and development through coaching and certification coursework. Additionally, corps members are able to connect virtually with one another across the country sharing unit plans, lesson plans, worksheets, and other resources.
That being said, changing the educational trajectory of your students will be incredibly challenging, and like all new teachers, you’ll have a lot to learn before, during, and following your initial training. We have developed a network of resources and support systems that are designed to help you climb the learning curve as quickly as possible. Our program, however, will not provide you with every single tool you need to be successful. Each community, school, and classroom is unique, and we rely on your leadership skills and drive for constant improvement to seek out any additional tools you may need to develop for your students.
Teach For America corps members do not receive a salary during pre-service. Corps members are not employees of Teach For America and thus are not paid a salary by Teach for America. However, all incoming corps members receive a stipend to offset some of the costs of onboarding and transitioning into the corps. Learn more about available financial support here.
All of our training and support is towards the goal of developing anti-racist teacher leaders who realize ambitious outcomes for students. This work is grounded in a CM roadmap of development with the following domains: rigorous instruction, inclusive classrooms, learning, and relationships.
As a TFA Corps Member, you will engage in a pre-service model with corps members from across the country, the goal of which is to develop you as an aspiring anti-racist teacher leader, ready to lead a classroom towards strong student outcomes. Our Pre-Service model has the four phases:
- Launch: Launch contains a set of asynchronous modules to prepare corps members for summer training
- Launch Live!: Launch Live! is a synchronous experience to welcome corps members and lay the foundations for Pre-Service Training.
- Training: During Training, corps members will spend two weeks on centralized learning experiences, primarily done synchronously with some asynchronous engagements throughout.
- Practicum: Over a 3+-week Practicum experience, corps members will split their time between virtual centralized training and in-person practicum training, which will include regional programming, classroom teaching, and coaching.
Ongoing, you will be supported by a dedicated coach who will guide your overall development from the time you accept your offer to the corps. You will have access to a robust and flexible Ecosystem of Support that includes instructional coaching, wellness resources, on-demand tools and resources, in addition to what is available and provided within your regional context. You will also engage in ongoing equity-focused leadership development experiences.
During the summer, all corps members engage with our Pre-Service experience. The aim of this period of time is to develop corps members as anti-racist teacher leaders and we focus our training on 4 domains: rigorous instruction, classroom learning environment, relationships, and learning. Pre-Service begins with asynchronous onboarding modules, which we term "Launch". It's then followed by about 2 weeks of virtual synchronous Launch Live! and Training, where corps members begin to build pedagogical understanding and skills. During this time, corps members are expected to be fully present virtually. Synchronous sessions are live and range from 6-8 hours per day. From there, corps members teach students at summer school in their region during our Practicum. Supports during Pre-Service include: 1:1 coaching, group coaching, content development, curriculum and planning supports, etc.
If you are already living in your placement region, you would be able to live at home during Pre-Service training. If you are not already living in your placement region, you will need to move to your region at some point during Pre-Service training. Your regional staff will be able to provide you with more information regarding your training dates and location.
We encourage applicants to evaluate their personal flexibility and comfort with our program, as it may involve relocation and includes five to seven weeks of training. We know there are some applicants who have a highly urgent personal circumstance or need to teach in a region which corresponds to a training that poses a conflict. In these cases, we recommend applicants still apply and share this information when they complete their Classroom and Regional Preferences. We review these conflicts on a case-by-case basis and, in exceptionally rare cases, may approve a corps member request to attend a training that does not correspond with his or her assigned region.
Not all of our regions can currently place DACA recipients because of hiring and certification requirements. If you are invited to attend a final interview, the Admissions Team will reach out to you with specific instructions on how to complete your Assignment Preference Form.
While we do our best to place corps members in one of their highly preferred regions, we cannot guarantee it. We encourage you to be flexible when selecting your regional preferences.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was established by President Obama via executive action in June 2012 to provide temporary relief from deportation and two-year work permits to qualified young adults who were brought to the United States as children. DACA unlocked countless economic opportunities for roughly 800,000 young people, 700,000 of whom are in the workforce and pay income taxes. In addition to providing work permits, DACA allows young immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, get health insurance, open bank accounts, pay taxes, enroll in college, take out mortgages and car loans, and provide for their families.
Beginning with the 2022 corps, TFA is able to consider applicants who have an immigration status such as DACA, TPS, refugee, asylee, etc. that provides them an employment authorization document (EAD) and who will not require employer sponsorship. The eligible EAD categories include: A02, A03, A05, A10, A11, A12, A16, A19, A20, C08, C09, C10, C14, C18, C19, C21, C25, C31, C33. TFA is unable to accept applicants on student, work, tourist or other visas/statuses that would require employer sponsorship.
All 2023 TFA corps members will receive $5,000 in transitional funding support. Pell grant recipients, DACA recipients, and other eligible EAD holders in the 2023 corps will also be eligible for an additional $5,000 in financial support—for a total of $10,000.
The Corps Member Finances team will be able to help you apply for funding.
While DACA recipients are not eligible for AmeriCorps funding due to the federal program’s citizenship requirements, Teach For America does provide DACA recipients funding that matches AmeriCorps funding.
Salary, Benefits & Aid
Teach For America doesn't specifically offer loan cancellation or forgiveness to corps members. As a nonprofit organization with limited funds, we unfortunately don't have the resources to forgive the student loans of all of our corps members. However, some school districts and programs offer loan cancellation to teachers who serve a number of years in a school district.
Teach For America is also a member of AmeriCorps, the national service network. Through this relationship, our corps members are AmeriCorps members and are eligible to receive forbearance and interest payment on qualified student loans during their two years of service. Additionally, those who have not previously received AmeriCorps awards may receive an education award of up to $6,495 at the end of each year of service, which may be used towards future educational expenses or to repay qualified student loans. However, given the uncertainty around AmeriCorps funding and the nature of the AmeriCorps competitive grant process, we cannot guarantee these benefits to all corps members.
Most corps members receive their first paycheck between late August and late September depending on regional assignment. In an effort to ensure that qualified candidates from all economic situations are able to join the corps, we offer a few financial support options to help you make it to your first paycheck. Our Transitional Financial Support is designed to assist with costs including travel to the community where you will teach, relocation expenses, and testing and initial certification fees. Funding is awarded at the beginning of pre-service. You can learn more about our financial support programs on this page.
Corps members are full-time, salaried employees of their school district, charter school, or pre-K center. Their salary and benefits are the same as those of other beginning teachers working for the same employers. These vary by school and region, based on cost of living, regional education budgets, and many other factors. You can learn more about salary and cost of living using the Explore Regions tool of our website.
No. Corps members are employed directly by the schools and districts in which they are hired. While we offer transitional financial support, corps members are not paid their salary through Teach For America.
Corps members are paid directly by the schools for whom they work. Their benefits will be determined by the school. In general, corps members can expect to receive the same benefits as other teachers within the school.
There will be several financial support programs available to ease your transition into the classroom. These include a baseline transitional financial support awarded to all corps members; the exact amount will vary by region. We also offer need-based financial support packages such as grants and loans, and access to AmeriCorps benefits including federal funding to help pay off student loans and cover some of the costs incurred while earning your teaching certification.
Funding is awarded at the beginning of pre-service training and may be used as reimbursement for travel costs to pre-service commitments and regional practicums. Applicants can also use their need-based financial support to pay for personal and moving expenses (e.g., deposits on apartments) and necessary coursework, testing, and district-processing fees.
Teach For America is currently a member of AmeriCorps, the national service network. Our corps members are AmeriCorps members and are eligible to receive forbearance and interest payment on qualified student loans during their two years of service. Additionally, those who have not previously received AmeriCorps awards may receive an education award of up to $6,495 at the end of each year of service, which can be used towards future educational expenses or to repay qualified student loans. As AmeriCorps members, corps members also join a national network of other service programs and have opportunities to meet others in the network and to participate in AmeriCorps events in their regions.
Given the nature of the AmeriCorps competitive grant process and the dependence on Congressional funding cycles, we cannot guarantee these benefits for corps members serving during the 2024-2025 school year until receiving final confirmation in June 2024. Recent changes in national service laws may result in an adjustment to the education award. Per regulations, the AmeriCorps education award and interest accrual payments are considered to be taxable income for the year in which they are used.
What & Where You'll Teach
It's very difficult to predict in advance what you will be qualified to teach in a given region. Your eligibility to teach a certain subject or grade level is partly dependent on the specific requirements of a state, school district, and university partner. Unfortunately, these requirements are quite complex and change often, so we do not have a requirements list available for applicants.
Even if you qualify to teach a particular subject or grade level in a particular region, those factors do not solely determine your assignment. In determining your subject/grade-level assignment, we consider your preferences and each region's grade-level and subject needs.
Learn more about how we place corps members.
Yes, (with limited exceptions) our corps members must pass at least one certification test to be eligible to teach. If you are admitted to the corps, your region will work with you on test preparation. Corps members who don't pass the exam may need to repeat the test in time for the start of the school year.
You will have the opportunity to research and submit your regional selection(s) in your initial application, and you will have an opportunity to revisit these selection(s) after you've completed your interview.
At this time, you will also indicate your preferences for the classroom subjects you want to teach.
Depending on your application timeline, you'll receive your regional and subject assignment about two weeks after finalizing your regional selections.
Then, you'll have about 2 weeks to consider and accept your offer.
You will get to tell us where you would like to teach as a part of your initial application. After you've completed your interview, you will have the opportunity to revisit your regional selection(s).
As you consider where you would like to teach, you should consider the factors most important to you in a region, compare cost of living, most likely subject placements in a region, master's degree options, etc. to determine which region(s) may be a good fit for you.
The ability to select a region in your application and/or after your interview depends on several factors, such as meeting the requirements for eligibility in the region as set by the state or licensing partner (GPA, coursework, etc.), being available when the region has their summer training, and the number of placements still available.
Your regional selection(s) have no bearing on your admissions decision.
If you are invited to attend an interview, you will submit your Classroom Preferences and Regional Selections, where you can list any personal circumstances you would like us to consider when determining your assignment, such as a spouse or significant other.
We encourage you and your partner to submit identical Classroom Preferences and Regional Selections and indicate your desire to be placed together. We will do our best to place you in the same region, but cannot guarantee that you will work in the same district or school.
Teach For America will not change an applicant's regional assignment unless they request it. This can happen when special circumstances arise that could not have been anticipated when completing their Classroom & Regional Preferences. For example, an accepted applicant who finds they have an irresolvable conflict with their assigned region's Pre-Service training schedule will be reassigned to another region where they are able to attend Pre-Service training.