What would you like to ask?Ph.D?

By | October 1, 2015

I am a kindergarten teacher in Japan. I first came in January 2008 to teach English. This year in April I began teaching at an English Immersion Kindergarten. I have my M.A. in International Business and would like to get my Doctorate in Education or PH.D. in Education & Leadership.

However, I spoke with my boss and he said that any Ph.D. that I do will be an ‘empty degree’ because I do not have my teaching degree or license, because my undergraduate degree is in International Studies. He says if I want to stay in Japan and do this I would get more benefits, then I should get a teaching license in America or Australia, then I would have more options. Or I should get a TESCO in English and that would broaden my options as well.

However, I do not want to teach English as a second or foreign language. I like being a kindergarten teacher but would like to get the Ph.D. so that I can be a director or principal of a school some day. I just do not want to be stuck in this position or any other position. So should I do an online teaching license and then the doctorate? The teaching license would take a year and then I would get a pay increase at my job.

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One thought on “What would you like to ask?Ph.D?

  1. Gregg DesElms

    Teaching certificates/licenses are issued by states, not the US federal government. So it’s difficult to see how whomever advised you could possibly predict what would be the need or outcome of any of it in Japan. Each US state is different, and in SOME states, all you have to have (not really, but frighteningly close) is a pulse to get a teaching certificate/license… at least at the primary education level.

    Getting a teaching cert/license in someplace like California, though — the fifth largest economy in the world — might make some sense in terms of impressing anyone in Japan.

    That said, whomever is your boss is kinda’ right.

    Here’s the way to think of it…

    If you want to teach grade school, middle school, high school, then you need a bachelors in something at least teaching/education compatible, plus a teaching certificate (and whatever additional courses are necessary to get that; or, even better yet (and, in fact, far preferably, a bachelors degree in education, which will typically allow the teaching certificate/license to be awarded with no additional coursework). Then, in most states, once one with those credentials begins teaching, a five (or so) year clock starts by the end of which time one has to have obtained one’s Masters in Education (MEd). A PhD in Education, or an EdD, would, of course, trump an MEd; but there may be PhD or EdD programs that won’t admit you without the MEd (though I know, for a fact, that there are many out there which don’t require the MEd as requisite for entry). But my point is, if you’ll notice, when one is teaching at the primary thru secondary level, they tend to want the degrees to be in education.

    However, if you’re teaching college, that’s a whole different ballgame. To teach undergrads, your masters needs to be in the area that you’re teaching; and, in fact at least half (some 18 to sometimes as many as 24 semester credit hours) of it needs to be in courses which somehow have the name of the area that you’re teachign in them (or, if not, are just painfully obviously related thereto, or supportive thereof). More or less ditto for the PhD, if teaching masters degree students. A degree is education isn’t even required to teach college… in fact, it’s not even thought or talked about. Pretty much the only people who tend to have an MEd whle teaching college are those who beach bachelor of education students. And, similarly, a PhD in Education (or an EdD), if teaching in college, would kinda’ tend to only be teaching MEd students. So, education degrees don’t really have very much to do with teaching college students.

    Since your MA is in International business, it’s going to be a big jump to a PhD in Education (or even — maybe even especially — an EdD). That may have been at least part of what your boss was talking about, too. I’m not saying it can’t be done; but not having that MEd… believe me, you’ll notice while doing your doctoral work.

    Why not get a graduate certificate in Education? I think that’s what I’d be looking at first. You’ve got a masters, so all the silly dues-paying crap that all masters students must do, you’ve already done. So all you really need is 18 to 24 semester credit hours of the exact same education courses that a person with an MEd has… which a graduate certificate in Education could give you.

    Then you could get a teaching certificate/license almost anywhere fairly easily. And that, plus some experience, would likely start looking pretty good to a PhD in Education (or even an EdD) program. Run THAT past your boss and see what he says.

    And by “TESCO,” did you mean TESOL? If so, yeah, I’d still get that. Then, at least, you have that to fall back on if you need it. It’s a good thing to have if one’s in a situation like yours.

    SEE: http://iteslj.org/links/

    Hope that helps!

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