Do you need an education to be an instructor?

Disclaimer: Some professional subject matter is subject to official academic requirements and certifications

“I’m just a regular person. I can’t be an instructor. I’m not formally qualified in this. I can’t be a teacher.”

Self doubt is something that every instructor goes through. But what if the doubt meant nothing? Do you need an education to be an instructor? Sure it’ll help. But what if you could transform yourself personally and professionally as an instructor? It can be done!

Right or wrong there is a stigma that is attached to the word ‘teacher‘. Anytime someone calls themselves a teacher we tend to automatically assume their students must be within school, Children or teenagers.

When the students are outside or beyond the academic system, teachers of all types tend to call themselves something different, instructors, educators, facilitators, coaches, etc.

Regardless of the title that people make use of, one thing all ‘teachers’ have had to face at one point or another is the issue of qualification. Even if its just the personal doubt of whether they can run a class.

To that end, the question becomes ‘Are they qualified to run a class?’ Of course the answers to this question are many, but some answers can be found in reflection.

What are you really qualified in?

Take a moment to think about what you’re qualified in officially. Depending on your stage in life, the chances are good that what you do now is not something that you studied for either in school or later in academia.

Generally speaking the school system is designed to simply get you in to the next stage of schooling, and eventually set you up with enough basic/specific knowledge to get you into the workforce. But one thing that school does not and in many ways cannot do is to prepare you for what comes 3, 5, 10 and 20 years into the future.

Academics only goes so far when it comes to your professional future. Once you land that first job, experience and achievement become far more relevant. Nothing else proves this, than going for a position years after you finish your formal schooling. As a thirty-something, your school results will mean virtually nothing.

Teaching is also one of these skills. To ‘teach’ within an educational institution you’ll need the qualifications, however elsewhere ‘teaching’ or the skill of delivering instruction is seldom something that is required in order to do the task.

You already do more than what you’re qualified for!

‘Formal education will get you a job’

‘Experience will give you a lifestyle’

Cherie Barber – Renovating for Profit

Regardless of what your formal education says, it only takes a few short years before your career will take you further than what you studied for and that’s even if you get employed in your field in the first place.

You can start out in Marketing, Office Administration, or even as an Engineer, but with some time and a good track record, it’s not far fetched to end up on the next rung of the corporate ladder in low level management.

Just like teaching which is something that we are all capable of, your first steps into management may not have been with any formal training. In fact in some cases, you may have a mentor elsewhere in the organization or you may just be thrown in the deep end.

When it comes to leadership, you might be be lucky enough to get some company supplied training, but leadership and its qualities are simply things that will be displayed and developed with time. The development and delivery of training is no different.

Teaching is something we all do!

Teaching has taken many forms. The earliest forms of teaching were enabled through the art of story telling. This includes establishing the actors, setting up a goal, and eventually ending with the lesson learnt and why.

Teaching is something we all do. It might be something small like helping a colleague navigate a process in the office. Helping a friend perform the correct technique at the gym or giving a tip or a hack about how to manage their lives better … it does not matter in this case, but teaching is something we all do. More often than not when we do, it is informal – even if it’s because we have not been taught how to deliver a structured lesson.

If teaching was something that strictly had to have a formal setting by specifically qualified people then the development of people everywhere would be far slower, or subject to self learning.

Subject you might not be able to teach

Of course there is subject matter you either can’t teach, or you can’t teach to certain people. Prime examples of this are when we talk about ‘sensitive’ or ‘controlled’ material.

Having instructed in the military I’ve taught recruits material including such as navigation, through to sensitive material such the correct handling of explosives through to highly controlled electronics equipment.

These subjects are typically delivered formally with nominated instructors. But beyond the course, when it comes to ongoing training, or refresher training, the material can be taught by any qualified person.

That being said, in this case it is the audience that has the restriction, not the instructor of the subject.

You will see the same in other ‘controlled’ subjects such as medicine. You will likely see a doctor training other doctors, but the instructor in this case will once again restrict who can learn from him or herself.

In other areas that do not have these restrictions, regulation or the need for specific certification and qualification, anyone with the appropriate experience and knowledge can be the instructor to the audience being taught.

Are you ready to Instruct?

As long as you know the subject and the audience being taught then of course. The Majority of teaching beyond the academic system is typically on the job, and is normally delivered on a ‘on the spot’ basis. Because of this nature of what needs to be learnt and when it needs to be learnt will dictate who can deliver the training.

When it comes to delivering training as part of your business to Adult students, do you need a qualification? (Subject material Pending) Of course not.

All you need is the confidence to understand that you’re a subject expert, the audience to teach and the will to do it.

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#teaching #instructing #instructor #training #facilitation

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