Job Search Advice
Understanding the Hiring Process
With over 400 public school districts in Massachusetts, the hiring process can vary. The following tips will help give you a general understanding of the process.
If you are looking to advance in your career, we suggest that you check with your local school district's human resources office (HR) to learn what steps you need to take to advance on your career ladder. If you are exploring a new school district or just starting your teaching career, check with the HR office where you wish to teach and find out how to get on the path that leads to the right job for you.
The busiest hiring period typically begins in April and lasts through August
Large school districts tend to hire later in the spring and summer because they must allow time for internal candidates to request transfers to full vacancies
Substitute teachers are often needed throughout the school year. You can apply as a substitute at any time. Contact the district where you wish to teach to learn the requirements
Finding Job Postings
Some districts - particularly larger ones - require job seekers to submit an application with the district's human resource office before contacting a school principal or department head about a job posting. It's recommended to check with the district and follow their procedure.
Some job seekers send application packages directly to school principals in districts where they would like to teach, even if there are no postings listed. This strategy may work with some principals, but it is best to follow the school district's procedures.
It is important to follow-up periodically with schools after submitting an application package. Jobs can open up, especially in the summer. Stay in contact with the district via email, written notes to those involved in the hiring process or phone calls to the HR office for updates. Be sure to first find out what is the district's or school's policy.
In many of the larger districts in Massachusetts, candidates will first have a screening interview with someone in the HR office, often by phone before being called for a second interview with administrators or screening committees.
It is common practice for candidates that are being considered to be called back for second and third interviews.
Job offers that are made during an interview often need to be approved by the district's HR director, superintendent, school committee, or other hiring committee before they are finalized.
Be prepared for your interviews. Review potential questions in the Preparing for Interviews section.
Contracts can vary from district to district. If you are offered a position, review your contract thoroughly.
If you have questions about a contract, ask the appropriate person in the HR office for clarification or check the following sites to learn more about how Massachusetts's public school associations can help you better understand contracts and benefits:
Career changers should note that some districts have the flexibility to offer higher starting salaries to candidates who have significant work experience that is directly related to the position for which they have applied. You should be prepared to ask the question and negotiate your salary.