Careers in Elementary Education

June 29th, 2016 by

A degree in elementary education allows you to enter one of the most rewarding professions, teaching young children and preparing them for future schooling. An elementary school teacher works hard each day to develop the minds and attitudes of future generations. This career path requires compassion, patience and a desire to help children learn.

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The first step towards a career in elementary education is a bachelor’s degree, which will take about four years to complete. Over the course of your education you’ll learn how to work with young students of different ages and abilities and how to create lesson plans.

A bachelor’s degree in elementary education often includes field work, such as student teaching, which is often completed at the same time as teaching certification requirements. Teaching certification differs state-to-state, so you’ll need to find out what your state requires. Some states require you to receive a master’s degree after initial teacher certification to teach.


Elementary school teachers are typically certified to teach preschool through sixth grade, but this also varies state-to-state. As an elementary school teacher, you will cover multiple subjects throughout the day and teach important concepts such as problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration. There is also the opportunity to teach special classes, such as art, music and physical education.

Dedicating your life to educating will require you to be creative. You will need to make lesson plans that keep young students engaged in learning and can be adapted to their needs. Teaching also requires patience and the ability physically, mentally and emotionally keep up with students.

Salary and job outlook
According to, elementary school teachers earned an average of $54,550 per year as of 2014. The field is expected to grow about 6 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as average.

Explore a little more with Next Step Academy’s course “Careers in Education: Primary Education


Five Tips to Nail Your Interview

June 27th, 2016 by

Interviews can be the most stressful part of getting a job, with your future employment dependent on the impression you leave with a total stranger. The key to having a great interview and landing the job is being proactive and confident.pexels-photo-70292

Here are five tips for having a successful interview:

Research. Read up on the company before the interview. Make sure you know exactly what position you are interviewing for and learn about the company’s history and values. This will help you stand out from the beginning of the interview. Bonus points if you learn the names of your interviewer and the higher-ups in the company.

Dress for success. Make sure the clothes you wear to the interview are clean, wrinkle-free and professional. Think you’re under-dressed? Call ahead of time and find out the company’s dress code and use that as a guideline for what to wear to the interview.

Arrive on time. Do not be late, but also don’t arrive too early. Aim to walk into the office five minutes before your interview. Not parking five minutes before, but in the office and ready to shine five minutes before your scheduled interview time.

Come prepared. Review common interview questions and have answers ready. Consider practicing a mock interview with a friend or family member. Bring multiple copies of your resume, a notebook and a pen. Also consider bringing a list of questions you have for the company. Employers tend to ask at the end of the interview if you have questions for them. Make sure you ask something thoughtful like where they see the company going in the next five years — but leave the conversation about salary for the follow-up!

Send a thank you. Follow up with the interviewer by sending a thank you note. An email is adequate, however a handwritten note adds a personal touch and will help you stand out. The best advice I ever received was to write the thank you note BEFORE the interview, and slip it in the company’s mailbox on your way out!


Want more tips for nailing your interview and getting your dream job? Take the Next Step Academy course “Interviewing Skills” to learn more.




In the News: Number of Homeschooled Students in the US Increasing

June 24th, 2016 by

The percentage of children being homeschooled has increased from 2.2 percent in 2003 to 3.4 percent in 2012, as reported by the US Department of Education. This may seem like a relatively small change, but that is almost a 62 percent increase within the last decade.

To help you visualize those numbers a little better, 2.2 percent of all students in the United States is 1,096,000. When that number increases to 3.4 percent, that represents 1,773,000 students. In that way, the number of homeschooled students has increased by 677,000 in less than ten years.

computer-1185626_960_720The rise of virtual learning opportunities is the main reason for the increase in students being homeschooled. There have always been parents dissatisfied with the education system, or wish to remove their children because of bullying, school violence or religious beliefs. Access to virtual learning makes it easier for these parents homeschool their children, especially for single-parent families or families where both parents work. Traditional homeschool methods typically require one parent to stay home to teach the child, but now the child has the ability to learn more independently and track his or her progress online.

Virtual learning takes the form of online classes, full time virtual charter schools or blended online learning where students combine online and classroom-based learning. These programs are flexible and allow students to work at their own pace. Advanced students can move ahead and students who struggle have the opportunity to slow down without falling behind. Coursework can be customized and tailored to the child’s needs and interests.

The number of families choosing to homeschool their children is expected to continue growing as virtual learning develops and homeschooled students continue to excel. Next Step Academy aims to be a part of that cutting edge, offering more than 70 online courses in life skills and careers-in. To find out more how you can integrate online learning into your curriculum, visit


Careers in Sports Management

June 22nd, 2016 by

Students pursuing a business degree have a wide range of options available to them as they work towards finding their career niche. For the sports enthusiast, a career in sports management could be the perfect path that combines business and sports. You don’t have to be athletic — you just need to be a strategic thinker and have a passion for sports and people.


A career in sports management starts with a bachelor’s degree in business. Look for a program that offers a minor in sports management or event planning. Some schools offer a specific sports management degree, but these programs still focus heavily on business fundamentals and are difficult to find.

Upon completing your degree you’ll have a strong understanding of sports marketing, economics, professional communication, business ethics and event management.


Many graduates will go on to work with professional institutions such as the NFL or with non-professional sport leagues. You may also choose to work for a college or high school athletic department, or for a recreational center such as the YMCA.

Sports management allows you to work within every aspect of the industry. You have all the possibilities of a business degree, but with the focus of a booming industry you’re passionate about. You can work directly with sports teams, facilities and stores, but you also have the opportunity to work with sports focused non-profit groups such as the Special Olympics. The possibilities are endless.

If sports management sounds like a career path you’re interested in, then check out Next Step Academy’s “Careers in Sports Management” course to learn more about this exciting field and find out if it’s the right fit for you.



How to: Realize Your Full Professional Potential

June 20th, 2016 by

Making the transition from college to career is a big step and often a daunting one. As you enter the early stages of your career, it’s important to keep up the focus you had while achieving your degree and apply that to reaching your full professional potential.

Here are some tips for improving your potential:tie-690084_960_720

Know yourself. Reflect upon the skills you have and what you have to offer. People tend to underestimate themselves. Take an honest look at what you have accomplished and where you excel and use that to your advantage. Use your talents and strengths to develop a brand for yourself.

Get involved. Volunteer for projects and offer help to others. Taking on more work will allow you to show off your talents and gain more experience. You’ll begin to develop professional relationships and develop a reputation for being dependable. The more involved you become, the more you’ll stand out, making employers more likely to offer you opportunities to grow in the future.

Find a mentor. Seek out an established professional who has already been where you are now and is in a position you aspire to achieve. A mentor will help guide you throughout the course of your professional life will help you build the relationships you will need to be successful.

These tips are a good starting point as you begin to grow within your career. For more professional advice take Next Step Academy’s “Realizing Your Professional Potential” course.


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