College Wraps Up Career Day

More than 60 districts joined one of the biggest hiring events in North Texas.

Wednesday, Mar 27, 2024 • Written by Monique Bird :

Khalia Garcia PhotoMore than 150 aspiring student teachers at UTA have officially hit the job market. 

The students were all attendees at the College of Education's Education Career Day, an annual event that brings local and national school districts and educational organizations to campus to recruit and hire new talent. More than 60 organizations attended the 2024 event. 

For many candidates, it was their first-ever job fair. 

"I was very nervous if I'm being completely honest," said senior Khaila Garcia. "I had never gone to a job fair before." 

Still, she says advanced preparation — and a few emails from the college —  helped her know what to expect. The messaging provided profiles about the various districts, and shared details on what students should expect at the event, what to wear, and how prepare a resume. Among early data from the college of polled students, 97 percent said they felt adequately prepared for the event. 

"I liked that you guys were sending emails regularly with information," said Garcia, who is completing an all-level certification in special education, which is often referred to as SPED. "I wrote down the names of the I.S.D.s that I wanted to talk to, and I wrote down a few questions that were particular to SPED to help me determine if that was a good school or not. I didn't know how to ask questions like 'what curriculum do you use for SPED?' But the more they talked to you, the easier it just became." 

Emily Chavez PhotoEmily Chavez, a senior completing a secondary certification in science, said she also didn't know what to fully expect.  

"I was really nervous because I had never been to a job fair before. It was way better than I expected," said Chavez, who received a provisional job offer from an area school. "I've had a lot of mentors tell me that I will never lack for a job, and I see that today." 

Among the college's certification pass rate, more than 92 percent pass their content exams on the first two attempts, according to data from the Texas Education Agency. Of those students, nearly 100 percent who seek jobs as teachers land jobs in the field. And of the district attendees of career day, early data from a recent survey shows that 18% — nearly one out of five — offered a UTA student a provisional job offer or teaching position. 

It's data that has made the event popular with local news outlets. Several media organizations — including WFAA, KLIF-AM, Telemundo, NBC 5, Spectrum News, and WBAP — covered Education Career Day, reporting on the ways UTA is helping the state tackle its teacher shortage.

Alissa Darby (center) photo with Dr. Robin Jocius (far right) and classmatesStudent Alissa Darby, who is seeking certification in grades 4-8 math and science, said she enjoyed learning about how the different districts elevated education around science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

"I brought my binder with my lesson plans, the units that I taught," said Darby, who is enrolled in the college's Bachelor of Science in Education. "I was able to show everything I've done. It was good to be able to get more information because STEM is important to me."

By the event's end, she said she had several job interviews lined up for future dates.

"I loved the support that UTA shows — especially Dr. Robin Jocius, who made us all take our certification exams before we graduated. That was really helpful," Darby added.

Denisse Pavlovich said she also entered the job fair hoping to line up interviews. 

"Today was very successful," said Pavlovich. "It's great to see all the school districts come out. A lot of my classmates are really excited and know now where they want to teach next August."

As a mom of 4 and non-traditional student, Pavlovich said she felt well prepared before the fair. 

Denisse Pavlovich Photo"When I started at UTA, I felt old because I was a lot older than a lot of my classmates," she said. "But now I see that was an advantage. I know what I'm looking for, I know my value, and I know how much time I have invested in this degree." 

For her bachelor's degree, the UTA senior is seeking certification through the college's Bachelor of Arts in Education. Her certification area is early childhood - grade 6 with core subjects and English as a Second Language, or ESL. However, she is fluent in Spanish and plans to test for the state's bilingual education certification, a detail that impressed many potential employers. In Texas, students who complete their initial teacher certification are often able to earn other state certifications by taking the appropriate exam

Her advise to future Education students is to their their "homework" on various districts before the career fair. 

"Do your research. Come prepared to ask districts, 'what makes you different than other I.S.D.s," said Pavlovich. "Dr. Joyce Myers told us to come prepared with at least 15 copies of our resume, so I did that last night. I had my clothes ready, too, so I would say [to other students], have your outfit ready a week prior so you feel confident. Rest the night before." 

For all the students, today marked the beginning of a new phase in their journey toward teacher certification in Texas. 

"I'm looking forward to this next step," said Chavez. "I'm super nervous, but I'm ready to have a classroom."