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I'm graduating with a math degree next year (BSc Maths - more theoretical than applied) from an African university, and am going to the US next year to visit a friend for a few months. However, I'd like to do something to make a little money while he's at work/school - particularly in Maths.

What can I do with this qualification in the US?

Could I teach high school kids or primary kids? What am I qualified to do? I'd really rather not end up waiting tables at McDonalds or whatever it is that people end up having to do..

Also I want to figure out, during my time there, exactly what I want to do with my maths education and I am really interested in learning what schooling systems work/don't work, all over the world.

Would I need to do additional studying to gain access to this career?

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    $\begingroup$ This might be a good resource to look at: education.uky.edu/AcadServ/content/…. $\endgroup$ – Cameron Williams Sep 30 '13 at 15:15
  • $\begingroup$ A degree in mathematics generally cannot be used to teach primary (below middle school) because the math they learn in those grades is very sample, and the kids don't have a specialized "math teacher" yet in those early grades $\endgroup$ – TBrendle Sep 30 '13 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, @CameronWilliams. That was very helpful! $\endgroup$ – Siyanda Sep 30 '13 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ Note that while you are visiting on a tourist visa (which is my assumption), you cannot seek employment opportunities. Even if you get a job interview, you have to exit and re-enter the US. You can't work (even at McDonalds) unless you have a work visa (and they won't issue you a work visa to for McDonalds). You could tutor students, as that is an underground market in most countries. $\endgroup$ – Calvin Lin Sep 30 '13 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much @CalvinLin. I'm usually very clueless about all this visa business... $\endgroup$ – Siyanda Oct 2 '13 at 19:17
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Almost universally, to teach in a public school (and virtually all private schools) one needs to obtain teaching certification within the state one wants to teach, and almost universally, this requires successful completion of a teacher education program. At many Universities, you can earn "post-bachelor" certification in math (secondary level), provided you have a bachelor's degree in math, and/or have completed a degree with the required math one usually completes if earning a degree to teach math at the secondary school level. These post-bachelor certification programs typically run $1 - 2$ years, largely comprised of education focused coursework and courses in teaching methodology, in addition to a semester of full-time, supervised "student teaching". (Some two-year programs also include a combination of "teacher-certification" requirements, and the coursework required to earn, additionally, a master's degree in teaching.)

To teach at an elementary school typically requires successful completion of a bachelor's degree in Education.

What I'd suggest is looking into tutoring math, and/or working in the standardized test-preparation industry (tutoring and preparing students for the SAT, ACT, Praxis tests, for example). Those sorts of jobs do not necessarily require teaching certification.

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  • $\begingroup$ No. Many states have an "Alternative Route to Certification" that doesn't require additional coursework. $\endgroup$ – TBrendle Sep 30 '13 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ That's rare, @TBrendle, and it would be even more unlikely to qualify for an alternative route if one has earned one's bachelor's degree outside the US, with a very very short time of residency in the US. Perhaps some states are more lenient than others, but in Wisconsin, such alternative routes require simultaneous coursework, and are available only in "stressed" school districts. (This is also true of Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, etc.) $\endgroup$ – Namaste Sep 30 '13 at 16:09
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    $\begingroup$ Well, you make it sound like you have to wait two years to start teaching. I know in my state first you land the teaching job then you complete the coursework during your first year teaching, so effectively the coursework isn't a barrier to entry. And when it comes to math, it's not hard to find "stressed" districts. $\endgroup$ – TBrendle Sep 30 '13 at 16:18
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    $\begingroup$ Even so, @TBrendle, the OP has said that he'll be in the US for "a few months". That would severely limit the prospect of "landing a job." I looked into pursuing teaching after having earned a Master's degree in two different disciplines, including math, and the shortest program I came across was a year-long certification program that was pretty intense. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Sep 30 '13 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ There was an "urban fellows" program I looked into where you started from the get-go teaching (supervised by a school mentor) at a very modest stipend, for one school year, full-time 8 - 4:00 p.m. at a "financially stressed school-district" and then attended college-level classes between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. During the following summer, one attended classes full-time, then, if successful, one was licensed. One had to commit to teaching minimally 3 years in the same district following licensure. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Sep 30 '13 at 16:27

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