For service members who have a passion for serving and are interested in continuing to serve in a different fashion outside the military, there is a program called Troops-to-Teachers.
The TTT program assists eligible military personnel in taking the next steps to transition into a new career as an elementary, secondary, vocational or technical school teacher. The program also provides participants with counseling and assistance regarding certification requirements and employment leads.
Service members who are interested in the program must have at least four years of service, and their last period of service in the armed force must be honorable.
The program started in 1994 as a transition assistance program for service members separating as the military began downsizing, said John Scheuer, Troops-to-Teachers Arizona and Colorado state director.
“We wanted to come up with a way to offer separating service members a way to continue to serve in some capacity,” he said.
TTT candidates must have a baccalaureate or advanced degree. Participants will also need to obtain a certification or license as an elementary, secondary or vocation/technical teacher in subjects such as math, science, special education and other critical subject areas.
Under the program, the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support program provides assistance, including stipends of up to $5,000 (pending availability of funds), to help pay for costs or in lieu of stipends. DANTES may pay $10,000 bonuses to participants who agree to teach at high-poverty schools. Participants who accept the stipend or bonus must agree to teach for three years in targeted schools.
For Staff Sgt. Natalie Eslinger, 756th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron unit training manager, becoming a teacher has been a lifelong dream and she is currently working toward a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education to teach kindergarten through third grade.
“I love working with children and seeing their faces light up when something clicks,” she said. “Molding young minds and helping develop children will be a huge reward. I believe in order to be a successful student, you need a strong educational foundation, which is what I will have the pleasure of providing.”
For more information about the TTT program, call the Airman and Family Readiness Center at (623) 856-6550.