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3 Big Reasons Why Professionals Should Consider Teach For America

For working professionals looking for a career change, here are three ways teaching in the corps can amplify your impact and leadership trajectory.

Corps member with children.

By The TFA Editorial Team

February 14, 2024

Whether you’re a grad student, a young professional a few years out of college, or a mid-career pro, your management, communication, and problem-solving skills can play a vital role in ensuring that kids in low-income communities receive an equitable and excellent education.

Not all Teach For America corps members (what we call classroom leaders in our two-year teaching program) come to the classroom directly from college. Many corps members come to Teach For America after having spent several years—even decades—in the workforce or after attending graduate school

We know you have specific needs and questions because of your “non-traditional” pathway to teaching. Working with Teach For America you will have support every step of the way, no matter your concern—finances, training, certification, and identifying where you will work. Here are three reasons why Teach For America is a competitive opportunity that will set you apart, amplify your purpose, and give you a chance to shape the future of our country.

1. Making an Impact With Your Unique Skills

This is not your average 9-to-5.

Teach For America helps develop policymakers, doctors, lawyers, nonprofit leaders, social entrepreneurs, and educators to work together in a coalition for systemic change.

As a corps member, you will be at the forefront of tackling educational inequity and increasing opportunity for kids in one of the nearly 40 regions across the country. Every day you’ll use your talents and prior experiences to address systemic injustice in the classroom and the broader community. This means that you’ll work closely with different people and groups on a daily basis, including other teachers in your school and district, partner organizations in your community, TFA alumni, and, of course, students and their families and caregivers.

The experience and impact you’ll have as a corps member fosters a sense of drive and ambition. Getting proximate with issues like inequity up close will motivate you to take action and explore the depths of what you're capable of.

“Nothing can take the place of classroom experience in systems leadership—it is absolutely critical that the people making staffing, strategy, and policy experience have that context and experience, and TFA provides just that.”

Lindsey Smith

Deputy Chief of Academics and Instruction, NewOrg

Colorado Corps Member 2009

2. Understanding Your Needs

We are looking for the nation’s most promising leaders to help tackle one of our country’s most deep-seated issues—educational equity. Changing your career to one that addresses these disparities can feel overwhelming. We understand that professionals have special circumstances and concerns that need to be addressed before starting an application. Two of the biggest concerns are placement and finances.


who joined the corps were working professionals.

One of the biggest considerations for applicants is identifying where you will teach. We understand that your mortgage, spouse or partner, or children may make it a challenge for you to relocate. You may already have a place in mind or a favorite subject or grade level. You may also be open to going to any of our regions and teaching any age group or subject. No matter where you are, we have resources that can help guide you through the process for landing in your preferred region and identifying what subject matter you are eligible to teach.

It’s no secret that teaching as a profession doesn’t come with a large compensation package, even if we think it should. We know that financial stability matters, which is why we don’t want money to be a barrier to entering the classroom. Teach For America provides financial support to address your immediate needs throughout summer training and potential relocation. We also have options to contribute to long-term financial wellness throughout your two year commitment and beyond. Learn more about our financial resources here.

3. An Exceptional Leadership Opportunity

From the moment you join TFA, you’ll have access to unparalleled support, leadership, training, and networking opportunities. At summer pre-service, you’ll take part in hands-on training that combines immersive teaching practice and coaching with foundational knowledge, skills, and experiences that will prepare you to lead, grow, and support the success of your students.

“TFA is a game changer. I never would have dreamed that serving in the Phoenix Corps would lead me to the role I'm in now, Chief Talent Officer at Seton Education Partners, which allows me to make an exponential impact here in the Bronx, NY.”

Brett Chappell

Chief Talent Officer, Seton Education Partners

Phoenix Corps Member 2012

As a corps member, you’ll have the chance to attend leadership summits and virtual events. These are a fantastic opportunity to build community, learn, and connect with other corps members and leaders. With TFA’s virtual events, you’ll go inside classrooms across the country and hear stories about the diverse career paths of TFA alumni who are making a difference in areas like education, business, medicine, law, public policy, and entrepreneurship.

After completing their two-year commitment as TFA corps members, many alumni continue their work in the classroom or take on school leadership roles. Others go on to launch nonprofits and socially responsible companies together. They work at starts-up and schools run by other alumni, who share a lifelong commitment to change and educational justice.

Teach For America’s network is vast, made up of over 65,000 alumni and corps members. Together they are working to shape the political, economic, and social future of the United States. Being accepted into the corps means you’ll join other leaders, changemakers, and advocates, who go on to achieve their boldest ambitions. Whether they remain in the classroom, return to their previous career path, or begin a new professional journey, they do so with increased confidence, drive, skills, and perspective for what's at stake.

*This post was originally published in 2018. The post was updated in February 2024 by the TFA Editorial Team to reflect new information.

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