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Applicant Resources

What to Consider When Deciding Your Regional and Subject Preferences

Not sure what your preferences are for where and what you’d like to teach? We’re here to help.

January 30, 2020

Teach For America Student with Flashcards

Once you’ve begun the Teach for America admissions process, you will be thinking about logistics. You're probably starting to think about what regions you're interested in and what subjects you'll want to teach. We understand it might seem daunting to think about pursuing this opportunity without knowing these specific details. That is why we make sure the vast majority of applicants are placed in their top-choice regions and that we offer training and ongoing coaching to ensure your success in teaching whatever subject you teach. Here is some advice as you consider which regions and subjects to include in your preferences.

What should I consider when selecting my region?

Teach For America applicants rank their top regional preferences (up to 10) out of the 50 regions to choose from. You must attend summer training, which lasts several weeks, so it’s essential that you’re available on the dates your region holds its training. Applicants are highly likely to be placed in one of their top three regions.

You will want to consider the reality of spending at least two years in your selected location. An urban environment may be ideal for some, but others may prefer a rural setting. Cost of living is another aspect to think about. You may also need to consider the legal protections in your region if you are a DACA recipient or identify as LGBTQ. If you are seeking a large support network, you may want to factor in the size of the region’s corps. If you are seeking a religious community, you will want to explore whether the region has the houses of worship and other resources that suit your needs. Entertainment, arts, and culture are also relevant factors to consider.

Some regions require their corps members to become certified, and many require teachers to be pursuing a master's degree; costs for these can vary greatly between regions.

Consider what you might do after your two-year corps commitment. If you may continue teaching or move into other school-based roles, can you see yourself staying in that region? If you might pursue graduate studies, you will want to know what it will be like to continue pursuing your career goals in the region. You’ll want to explore local graduate schools, the local economy, and the region’s job outlook.

Each region provides its own opportunities for impact, and it is important for corps members to identify regions in which they can picture themselves thriving. The easiest way to analyze each region is to utilize our Compare Regions tool, where you view the regions in which TFA places corps members with information about each one listed side by side.

Your placement is based on the following factors: local need, eligibility, and your preferences. The Compare Regions tool also highlights high-need regions, where Teach For America is in particular need of teachers, allowing you to help bring educational equity where your leadership is needed most.

TFA understands that your region placement is important to you and integral to your success and will do their best to assign you to your preferred region.

Redefine Opportunity

Wherever you go and whatever you teach, you will make a difference in students’ lives as a Teach For America corps member.


How We Decide Where You Will Teach

Learn more about how Teach For America assigns corps members to our regions.

What am I qualified to teach? How do I know?

Just like regional preferences, applicants are asked to rank their top subject and grade choices.

You will not be able to select a region or subject that you are not qualified for, based on the information you have already submitted to TFA. Keep in mind that the regions and subjects you are qualified for may change as the Admissions Team reviews your transcript.

Your previous experiences will inform what subject you are assigned to teach. However, you are not locked into your college major or your prior work experience. For instance, a political science major isn’t automatically going to be assigned to teach social studies, and a finance major is not automatically going to teach math. Each region looks at your course transcript to determine what you are qualified to teach. Your preference is taken into consideration as well. It is good to think about what subjects and age groups you are passionate about and where your knowledge and experience lies.

Just as there are high-need regions, there are also high-need subjects. And we need high-quality, equity-minded Diverse Learning and Early Education teachers across all regions.

Licensing qualifications vary from region to region. Each area’s guidelines can change on a regular basis and are complex. More information on regional qualifications is available on our website and will be provided to you when you are assigned to a region and begin your onboarding.

TFA staff is available to provide guidance through each step of the process. The Applicant Center and your recruiter are valuable sources of information and further insights and resources. And when you’re ready, apply to the Teach For America corps.