Exploring the Teaching Certification and Career Change of Twelve Military Veterans

Exploring the Teaching Certification and Career Change of Twelve Military Veterans

Author: 
Darryl L. Jones
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
The intent of this qualitative narrative study is to gain insight into how military veterans with a bachelor’s degree who pursued a teaching career complied with certification requirements after separation from service in Phoenix, Arizona. Although there is a host of Department of Defense and Veterans Administration programs in place to ease the transition from active duty to civilian life, beginning a career in teaching presents a unique challenge because of the mandatory certification requirements needed to teach in public schools. The certification process to become a teacher is extensive, time-consuming, and varies by state. This study investigated how to best prepare a pool of military veterans with interesting life experiences and leadership qualities for careers in teaching that can benefit local school districts. The data collection and analysis provided findings revealing that military veterans do experience challenges not only separating from service but even when they have full knowledge of the teacher certification process. The Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) guide does not include teaching as a career choice for service members. Colleges and universities located in education centers on military installations rarely if ever offer teaching as a degree choice because the demand for the program is not financially feasible to sponsor. Data analysis included interviews, a survey, and follow-up interviews resulting in four themes: a) challenges transitioning from active duty to civilian life, b) knowledge of the teacher certification requirements, c) alternate of traditional certification option, d) financial sustainability during certification training.
Dedication: 
First, I would like to dedicate this work to my parents, without their perseverance through difficult times and their ability to navigate obstacles designed for them to fail, I may not have reached this level of success today. Second, I would like to thank my wife, children, and grandson who endured my challenges and lack of quality time from the normal active family routine while I pursued this Doctorate. My hope is that my children and grandson will see this achievement and realize that all things are possible with belief in self, determination, support of family, and faith in Christ. Thank you all, and I Love You!
Acknowledgements: 
Even though this paper was my own work, it would not have been possible without the support and guidance of many people: Dr. Rich Hall – Your guidance, support, and encouragement was instrumental to this achievement. At points in a person’s journey, people enter your life for a specific purpose. You came along at a time when I needed someone who would genuinely provide guidance, support, and encouragement one-step-at-a-time. Many people who start the doctoral journey never finish because of non-supportive committee members; you made sure this did not happen to me. Thank you for your unselfish dedication to my dissertation; I am Grateful! Dr. Regina Carter-Trice, Dr. Michelle Hill and Shana Nicholson – Without your support, I would not have focused on generating such a comprehensive study. Thank you for highlighting the areas that required additional investigation. Mom and Dad – My parents provided the foundation for me to believe that I could achieve any goal if I focused on the objective. Thank you for not accepting excuses and paving the way for me to become successful on this journey and life. My wife – Without your love, understanding, and support throughout this journey I could not have completed my dissertation. Thank you for managing the family affairs that ensured no missteps while I spent countless hours towards completing my paper. Children – My goal was to complete this dissertation to show each of you that all things are possible when you are disciplined, motivated, and goal driven. My parents did not allow excuses from me and I won’t accept any from each of you. Think big and focus on your goals one day at a time while avoiding the pitfalls that are not compatible with your rearing.