Working as a TA in rural AK. Experience--no certification.

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Working as a TA in rural AK. Experience--no certification.

Postby stephanie_schneider » Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:29 pm

I am just finishing a summer working for the National Park Service in Kotzebue. My job as an interpretive ranger was to teach the local kids about nature/culture/etc. I have been working as an NPS interpreter (teacher) for six years, and have also been working as a K-8 school group educator in inner city areas of Michigan for the past three winters. In other words, I have a lot of teaching experience--BUT I do not have certification. I have a BA in English, a BA in political science, AND a BA in journalism (past career goals).

My fiancé has only an Associate's Degree in liberal arts, due to lack of money, but is fantastic with kids and interacting with the public.

I recently met a man who has been working as a TA here for three years, with only his trade school certification in welding. He said that both my fiancé and I could work as TAs here in Kotzebue, and that if I completed certification via online courses, I could get a job as a full-fledged teacher. He also said that TAs still get a decent wage, and subsidized housing.

This all seemed too good to be true, so I checked with the Northwest Arctic Borough School District’s HR guy, who said that, yes, my fiancé could get a job as a TA here with his Associate's degree. This would help him get is foot in the door, since he has been working minimum wage retail jobs since graduating college in 2006. However, I am still somewhat skeptical, since it seems too easy. There has to be a catch.

There is nothing on this forum that I could find about being a TA, or having a BA and no certification (me)/an Associate's degree and no teaching experience (him). Based on my experience living here for four months, and the fact that there is very little opportunity for my fiancé back in Michigan, we are seriously considering working here in Kotzebue starting in the 2016 school year.

What should we know? What's the "catch"? As I said, he has an Associate's and I have several BAs and teaching experience, but no teacher certification. Could we really both get decently-paying jobs as TAs here in Kotz, like the HR guy at the NWABSD said?

I would really appreciate a reply, even though this post is in the wrong spot. I loved being here this summer, and am sad to leave the kids I have gotten to know; it would be nice to come back as a "real" resident. And, of course, my fiancé and I have been engaged for three years, and haven't gotten married because I don't have a stable job (my seasonal NPS work takes me all over the country) and he only gets minimum wage. This looks like it could be the answer.

What is the "catch"? Or is it all true?

Thank you SO much for your replies.


Stephanie Schneider
Park Ranger and Outreach Educator
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:36 am

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