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6 Questions About Your Placement and Getting Hired

Learn about your TFA regional and subject placement and the process for getting a teaching position at a school.

6 Questions about your placement and getting hired

By The TFA Editorial Team

August 22, 2018

Teach For America corps members serve in 51 regions across the country. Educational inequity is a nationwide issue, and strong leaders in each region are essential to achieving our mission of equity for all. Corps members are able to have a strong impact on students thanks to partnerships with local districts and schools in each region.

If accepted into the corps, you’ll be assigned to teach a subject and grade level—from early elementary to high school—in one of these 51 regions. This is considered your placement. You’ll receive your placement when you’re notified of your acceptance (such as: New York, elementary school).

Being accepted to the corps and finding out your placement is a huge accomplishment and a moment to celebrate. Yet receiving your placement is only the first step in learning where you will make an impact and develop your skills. As a corps member, you’ll be a full-time employee of a school district, with salary and benefits. In order to become an employee, you’ll need to get hired, much like any first-year teacher.

Once hired, you’ll have a teaching position at a specific school and will know your exact subject and grade level (such as: Bronx Elementary School, 3rd grade). Getting hired requires you to complete additional steps after you’ve accepted your offer to join the corps.

1. How Is My Placement Determined? 

Your TFA placement is determined in the two weeks between completing your interview for the corps and finding out if you’ve been accepted. You’ll be asked to submit a preference form, and our admissions team then matches available positions in regions with those who want to teach there and who meet the certification requirements.

While we rarely change regional placements after you’ve received your placement, it’s important to know that subject assignments are considered tentative. There is also a lot of variability within assignments. For example, “elementary” can mean anything from teaching kindergarten to teaching 5th grade math and science in some regions. This is because it’s often too hard for regions to know exactly what opportunities will be available at the schools they partner with. So your specific placement may seem broad, and that is intentional.

Determining your specific teaching position happens after you’ve accepted your TFA offer, spoken with staff members in your specific region, and completed the hiring process within a particular school district or charter school. When you’re hired, you become a first-year teacher and are employed by the district or school, not TFA.

2. When Will I Find Out My TFA Region and Subject Placement?

You’ll be notified of your assigned region and subject area at the same time that you receive your acceptance to the corps—approximately two weeks after completing your interview. You will then have approximately 10 days to accept your offer to join the corps. Find the specific timelines.

3. When Will I Be Hired By a School? 

For most, this can happen several weeks or months after you’ve been accepted to the corps and have completed hiring steps required by your region. In almost every region, you’ll need to apply and interview for specific teaching positions at schools. The timeline can vary tremendously based on your region, your subject area, and countless other factors. In some regions, corps members will not be hired until the late summer, while others get hired much earlier. You’ll work closely with your regional team to learn more about interviewing and what to expect in the process.

How We Determine Regional Placement

Learn more about how Teach For America decides where corps members will serve and what they will teach.

4. Does That Mean I Have More Interviews?

Yes. You should expect to interview with school districts and principals in the spring and summer before landing a job at a particular school. It’s hard to anticipate just how many you’ll complete because the experience varies region to region. Some corps members interview at multiple schools, some interview with district human resources who decide the best position for you, and some have just one interview with a principal and get a job on the spot.

Your region will provide more information on these details throughout the year before you start teaching, as well as guide you on the best ways to prepare for interviews. In many ways, your TFA interview is great practice for the interviews that you’ll have with schools, with a sample lesson, speaking about your previous leadership experience, and sharing why you’re interested in serving as a corps member.

5. Can I Request to Work at a Particular School in My Regions?

You should plan to receive specific instruction from your TFA region about applying and interviewing for particular teaching roles. You should not reach out to schools or principals unless prompted. While regional staff will do their best to honor your preferences when discussing corps member candidates with schools and arranging interviews, the most important factor is meeting the needs of school communities and students.

6. When Can I Expect to Start Receiving a Salary?

Depending on where you teach, you can expect your first paycheck between late August and late September. Transitional funding and financial aid is available to some corps members.

Learn more about the regions where we work and corps member placement. Use our compare regions tool to evaluate different locations side-by-side based on relevant criteria.