Journalism and Computer Science Masters Program

If you are a writer, you must know how to use a computer with ease. These careers will go hand-in-hand and the key to your writing success may lay in how well you can function on the computer.

Benefits of Combining these Programs

Being a journalist will require a great deal of typing and writing on a daily basis. The benefits of being a writer include the ability to readily apply your creativity to the content your write and make a decent living.

When you combine the training of a journalist with that of a computer science professional, this is a winning combination. Daily duties of using a computer and being able to repair small problems as these arise are sure make your job easier as a writer.

Careers you can Consider

Graduating with a dual major has a number of benefits. The ability to have a variety of careers to select from is sure to be at the top of the list.

Listed below are careers for a person who receives a dual education in these areas:

  1. Online editor for any writer organization or website.
  2. A web creator for websites and businesses
  3. Start your own company in the writing or editing business online.
  4. Work with clients all over the world online by editing copy or writing.
  5. Preparing data for journalist companies required for publication and verifying facts.

There are many careers that are readily available for the person who has a degree in journalism and computer science can achieve.

Salary Range

One of the major benefits for completing a dual degree program is the salary you will have the potential to earn. The salary is high with an extensive range and largely based on how much business you do each day. You can expect to earn between $60,000.00 – $100,000.00 and possibly more when you are educated in both of these areas.

Finally, take advantage of this idea by enrolling in your local college or university for the amount of training required to allow for success in your career.

Embark On A Career As A College Professor In Finance

If you love the classroom, then consider teaching finance. If you have completed you Certified Public Accounting programme then teaching is a possibility. A career in academia could be very fulfilling and at the moment there is a shortage of financial educators. Salaries are in the region of $120,000, so this is an excellent career choice to broaden your horizons and your bank balance. A job in academia can be very rewarding, knowing that you are contributing to the next generation of accountants.

You will need to be an excellent communicator and be able to explain complex material in a way that students are able to understand and relate to. If you like to disseminate information and ideas then this is an ideal role for you.

Working in academia will keep you abreast of current legislation and financial regulations so is also excellent for your portfolio if you decide to step back into the business world at a later date. Working in academia can also open doors for you if you decide to work in the research field.

Many educators go on to study at PHD, although this is not a necessary requirement, depending on which level of teaching you are hoping to aspire to. Whether you get a PhD or not, more study is often required to keep up on the most recent requirements that are needed by a CPA.


If you are not sure if you are ready to teach, try an adjunct position first. You may wish to dip a toe in the water by offering some lectures at a local college to see if you have a feel for this type of work. This can be as a part time position alongside your normal day to day work.

There are also positions available if you wish to pursue teaching as an assistant professor, this would allow you to teach at an institution where you would be granted tenure, which can provide you with added job security. Following on from this the next step would be a post tenure position as an Associate professor; this role would allow you to undertake research in your chosen area and will help determine your expertise.

A full professor appointment is then possible; this can be a demanding role where you are much more involved in the running and direction of the University, but can be a very fulfilling role once you have the requisite experience.

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Education Requirements Are Different For Accountants And Auditors

An undergraduate degree in accounting is needed for a career in auditing. An auditor is a variation of an accountant, although it involves dealing with financial information the main emphasis is on ensuring that a company’s financial transactions are accurate and transparent. There are two fields of auditing; internal and external.

In order to work as an auditor you require an accounting degree (which opens doors to entry level jobs), further certification is usually required at master’s level. There is a choice of undertaking the Certified Public Accountant accreditation for external auditors, or the Certified Internal Auditor for internal auditing. There is also the choice of a Master of Accountancy degree which is a one year study course full time.

The Bureau of Labour exchange predicts a rise of 16% in auditing jobs. Internal auditors tend to work for private companies, ensuring that all financial transactions comply with industry regulation and legislation. The internal auditor can advise companies regarding finances and highlight policies that can benefit the company.  External auditors tend to work for public accounting firms.

Average pay after 4 years’ experience is between the regions of $38,000 – $63,000.


You don’t need a Bachelor’s degree to be an accountant; you can get into the field of accounting with an Associate degree. An Associate degree will cover aspects of spread sheet applications, accounting principles, business and managerial accounting, computer technology, business and tax law etc. The focus is on maths, English and science. These subject matters will prepare you if you decide at a future date to undertake the 4 year Bachelor degree. The Associate degree takes two years to complete and quite often you will need to have a high school diploma or GED in order to successfully apply.

Graduates of the associate degree program will find a wide variety of career options available to them including; junior book keeper, business officer manager, accounts payable coordinator etc. Average salary is in the region of $35,000. Once you have your Associate degree you can continue your education allowing you to climb up the career ladder as your expertise grows

The Life and Challenges of a Certified Public Accountant

A certified public accountant is a career involved in accounting and auditing. It requires a thorough working knowledge of laws and regulations that pertain to all financial dealings. To become a certified public accountant (CPA) you will need to pass further exams and this will allow you to be professionally registered with a board of accountancy. Different states award different CPA licenses.

The CPA license can help promote your career, allowing you to command a higher salary and providing you with more autonomy in your working practices. As a CPA you may oversee other accountants.

Careers are available in the public sector either within financial firms such as banks, insurance offices and investment firms. Other public sector jobs include working within government or law enforcement agencies. Careers are also available within the private sector, working for large international companies. Generally the private sector will allow you to earn a higher salary.

In 2011 the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the average accountant salary was in the region of $59,430. The lowest 10% of accountant salary was in the region of $36,720 and the highest 10% of accountant earnings were in the region of $102380.
Accountancy jobs come within the top ten percent of high paying jobs.

The majority of accountants worked in the fields of bookkeeping, payroll or tax preparation. Accountancy careers are on the rise, this means there is plenty of opportunity for new graduates to get on the career ladder.

A CPA plays a vital role within any organization, the CPA is responsible for keeping a check on the organizations financial concerns involving, auditing, financial forecasts, budgeting and analyzing financial trends. The role involves meticulous attention to detail as accuracy is paramount with the aim of making financial dealings transparent to others.

It is important not to be fazed when dealing with numbers, have good communication skills, be computer literate, have oodles of patience and be happy to continue with life long learning- so that you are up to date with all the current regulations.

CPA Job Description (Certified Public Accountant)

Getting Started in the field of Accounting

There are many different types of accounting jobs such as forensic accounting,
Management accounting, Governmental accounting and International accounting etc.
What all these careers have in common is a high level of re-numeration, chance to rise up through the ranks, possibility of international travel and the opportunity to work with other agencies to undermine criminal organisations.

To get ahead in accounting it is important to obtain an appropriate degree. Accounting allows you to have a high paying entry job with the possibility of gaining an even higher salary as your experience and expertise grows.

After getting your accountancy degree you can expect to receive a salary within the region of $61,690 per annum, but further specialization in the field of accountancy could see you receiving an even higher salary. Working in the private sector tends to command a higher salary than what might be expected in the public sector, whilst self employed accountants probably earn the highest amount of all.

Many accountancy careers offer additional benefits such as health and life insurance, there may also be the possibility of company cars and financial bonuses.

It usually takes between 3-4 years to qualify as an accountant, and often employers will help towards study costs and exams. The best graduate accountancy jobs include those from large international firms, but smaller firms may offer a host of extra benefits which should not be overlooked. When choosing which sector you would like to work in it is important to weigh up what working conditions you would be happy to work in, and what further experience you would like to gain to further your career.

Important factors to consider include where you want to work, which area you would like to specialise in, do you feel comfortable with the companies ethics and culture, do you want to travel, which type of clients you would prefer to work with and what your future prospects are with a particular company. Entry level jobs can be a good stepping stone to something more lucrative in the future.

Is The Federal Government The Best Way To Refinance Student Loans?

Leaving graduate school behind with a hefty student loan debt can be overwhelming, but by leaving with a professional degree, you made an important investment in your career and future, an investment that will pay rewards for the rest of your life.

Even so, there’s no denying that the burden of student loan debt can be daunting, but there are ways to refinance your student loans and end up with easier to handle payments and sometimes you can even have the debt forgiven. While these aren’t the best ways to handle your debt problem, they are options if all else fails.

Federal and Private Loans

Federal student loans, funded by the Federal government, come with a number of benefits including income based repayment plans and fixed interest rates while private student loans are typically more expensive.

Federal Student Loan Refinancing

Federal loan consolidation is a good choice for borrowers who have a number of student loans. These loans consolidate into one convenient monthly payment and extend the length of time for repayment with the end result being that your monthly payment goes down. The interest rate on your combined loan will be averaged by the rates on your current loans.

You should consider using federal government refinancing options if you’re having trouble keeping up with your monthly payments, aren’t eligible for forbearance or deferment solutions and are trying to keep from defaulting. You won’t have to start paying on your federal student loans until you leave school, graduate, or change your enrollment status.

Private Student Loan Refinancing

Private student loans are non-federal and offered by lenders that include credit unions, banks, a state agency or school. A lot of private student loans call for payments while you’re still attending school. In addition, private student loans typically require an established credit record and the cost of refinancing can depend on your credit score among other variables. While refinancing with a private lender may lower your payments, the total interest you pay over the term of the loan may increase if your credit is less than perfect.

Forgives Some Student Loans

There are some circumstances that can lead to your student loans being forgiven , including if you are permanently disabled, are facing bankruptcy, if you die, your school closes while you’re enrolled, are employed in selected public service jobs and have made a minimum of 120 payments under certain repayment plans. Student loan forgiveness is a complicated process and one you want to avoid if at all possible.

Refinancing or consolidating student loans isn’t for everybody; you’ll need to be employed and in most cases, to even be considered (at a fair interest rate), you’ll need to have a good credit score, especially if it has improved since you took on the loans. If you decide to refinance your student loans one of the more important things you’ll want to ensure is that you’ll get a lower interest rate; it should go down not up (along with your monthly payment). Do your homework and get all the specifics before you sign on the dotted line.

Building Credit As A College Student: The Facts

One of the best things about growing up is the thrill of independence, moving out on your own, attending college, being responsible for everything you do (good or bad) for the first time in your life.

With this new found freedom comes learning how to be financially responsible and building good credit will be the key to your long term success, helping you quality for everything from the latest cell phone to leasing an apartment, to getting a car loan, it can even be a deciding factor in whether or not you get a job. It can sometimes take a while to really gain traction building up your credit, but the following credit building facts will help guide you in the right direction.

Knowledge is Power; Understanding Your Credit Score

Your credit score is the number credit bureaus provide that’s a representation of your ability to repay your loans. Typically, the credit score number most people are concerned with is the FICO credit score, which varies from 300 to 850. The higher your FICO score, the more likely it is that lenders will approve your loan and the better interest rate you’ll get.

Building Credit with a Credit Card

You’ve probably heard over and over that it’s important to have a credit card or two and to use them responsibly if you want a high credit score. No doubt you’ve also been told that making monthly, on time payments on your car or mortgage are additional ways to keep your credit score up and impress the lenders. All of the above is true.

The fastest way to build up your credit score comes down borrowing and paying back the debt on time. While it may seem counter-intuitive to spend money to build credit, it works as long as you can use self control when it comes avoiding whipping out your credit card every chance you get and spending more than you can pay back.

Building Credit Without a Credit Card

This is a tough one, but you can build credit without a credit card if you get creative. If you don’t have any loans that you can count on to build credit, in some cases you can use your rental payments to do so. While making rental payments on time hasn’t officially been considered as a sign of being financially responsible, there are a number of websites that will send rental payment information to the credit bureaus, including, a company that has a connection with Experian.

Consumers who go to the website can sign up and pay their rent through the site, and it’ll be reported to Experian (electronic withdrawal is free). You’ll want to keep in mind however that if you’re late paying your rent a negative mark will end up on your credit report.

Self Report

Credit reports only track money you’ve borrowed, which is why credit reports don’t include information on whether you’ve been paying your utility bills, (electric or water bills) rent to own situations, etc., on time. Website’s like Payment Reporting Builds Credit (, a company that was founded in 2002 let credit conscious consumers’ sign up (for free) and self report on time. While PRBC may not be in line with the 3 credit bureau big boys, a positive report from PRBC can’t hurt.

Keep in mind that none of these strategies will work if you don’t pay your bills on time. In fact, you could make things worse by self reporting if the data being reported show that you’re always late paying your bills. But if you pay your bills on time, you’ll earn a higher credit score; it isn’t necessarily hard but it does take discipline and time.

Tips For Managing Your Student Loan Debt (Consolidate!)

Whether you’re just starting college, or are a recent graduate, student loan debt is a subject that’s sure to be on your minds. Following are some personal finance tips that can either help you avoid student debt all together (or lower the amount you end up owing) or help answer questions for the recent grads who need to know there are options if student loan debt becomes too much to handle.

1. First and foremost, only consider going the student loan route if you’ve researched all the available resources of free financial aid (grants, scholarships, work-study). Dealing with student loans, in addition to having to manage their personal finances can be all consuming for students.

2. Put together a budget before you take out a student loan (s). Setting up a budget and sticking isn’t easy always easy, but it’s the only way to be in stay in control of your finances.

3. Find out about all the possible loan program options available to and compare them before making your final decision. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’ve exhausted all of the financial aid sources that you won’t have to repay.

4. Figure out how much you can realistically afford to borrow on your student loan and repay centered on your expected future earnings. Based on the numbers you’re comfortable with, try to set up a loan repayment schedule that you can live with (and the loan provider will approve) so you can optimize your cash flow for living expenses and other necessities.

5. Look over your credit report and take the time to understand it; you can get your credit report through Equifax, Trans Union, and Experian, the 3 top credit report agencies). Your credit report is a collection of information about you and your credit history, and it can have a huge impact on your life. Establish a good credit history by making your student loan payments on time.

6. Get in touch with your loan provider about any changes that may involve your ability to make your loan payments. These status changes can include factors like changing your name or address, transferring to a different school, dropping out of school or graduating.

7. Consider deferments (a period of time that your loan holder suspends your loan payments) or forbearance (temporarily lowers or postpones your federal student loan payments) if you need to adjust or suspend your payments temporarily. Do not stop making payments until you have official notification that your request for either has been approved.

8. Look into a consolidation loan if you want to consolidate several loans or types of loans into one loan. Consolidation can assist you with managing your student loan debt and allows you to combine multiple student loans together, resulting in one loan payment

9. Worst case, there are some programs that will forgive some or all of your federal student loans if you are employed in certain fields or for certain types of employers, including public service, government or nonprofit jobs (visit for more info).

Expanding Your Teaching Horizons…Or Your Border At Least!

Gaining international experience is one of the great things about teaching. You can build up your knowledgebase and then apply different techniques in the classroom to help students better understand the lessons. However, expanding your horizons across borders can be tricky. While a Master’s in education is obtainable online, which is an excellent option for both current teachers who want to expand their career options and prospective teachers, you will still need the hands on experience and that means travel.

Canadians who want to teach in the U.S. are going to need to understand how a U.S. classroom operates. This is where an international university education can be handy.

Finding a School

The first step is to find reputable, accredited institutions that have a relationship with the U.S. Medaille College in Amherst, New York is one such institution as it’s been working with Canadian teacher students for more than a quarter of a century. Canadian Master’s students not only get a tuition discount, but they also get the hands on training needed to understand the U.S. Education system. That means they can hit the ground running upon graduation as they will be qualified to apply for teaching certification in New York state and Ontario, Canada.

Kaplan University is another option that provides Canadian students with educational opportunities. International students can get their immigration paperwork done by the school so that they can be issued a student visa. Once they submit proof of proficiency, transcripts, and financial ability, then the process begins.

Both processes help Canadian students not only get familiar with the educational system in the U.S. but it also smooths the educational path by obtaining their degree from a U.S. Department of Education accredited institution; they won’t have to start over by re-earning a bachelor’s and further delaying their progress.

For those who already have a master’s from a Canadian university and want to teach in the United States, they can do so by applying for a J-1 visa to the teach in primary and secondary schools in the U.S. In addition to at least three years of teaching experience, they must meet the standards of the state that they want to teach in, and must have an offer to teach at a fully accredited school.

If teaching is your passion, don’t let anything stop you! Whether you get a degree from a great school like USC or your local college, your success or failure will depend on the level of dedication you give to your career.

Is Teaching In Canada For You?

Canada, along with Finland, has one of the best education systems in the world. Like many countries, they take a more student- oriented approach and have a systematic plan in place to make sure they attract the best of the best teachers. It’s no secret that the U.S. educational system needs to be tweaked and maybe looking to Canada’s model may provide clues. Here are a few facts to consider:

More Educated Immigrants and Citizens

According to statistics, nearly half of Canadian immigrants have either a college or university degree, compared to less than 40 percent of immigrants in the U.S. That’s thanks in part to the system that accommodates low-achieving students by offering them sub-baccalaureate options that are not considered second-rate or inferior. They also make college and university affordable; in some cases, getting a two-year degree is free.

Teaching is Taken More Seriously

At the primary and secondary level, a teaching assistant can be a great career path but in the U.S., a teaching assistant can be anyone and doesn’t have to have any special education requirement. In Canada, the bar is set high for anyone entrusted to teach the youth of the country, including teaching assistants. who earn an average of $27,000 to $45,000 per year.

Their roles are to make sure that students understand what’s going on and don’t fall behind. In many cases, being a professor seems to be a stable, well-paid and fairly relaxed job but it’s taken much more seriously in Canada than in the U.S. Teachers at all levels are revered and only the best are kept in the field. There is no room for substandard teachers or professors in the Canadian education system.

Communication and Training

The school system prides itself on keeping the lines of communication open with all parties involved including various government entities and unions so that teachers are paid well and that working conditions are good. Both countries agree on that objective but where they differ is in implementation. The teaching profession seeks to attract only top candidates because everyone involved has one goal and that’s to make sure that the students get the education they need.

To that end, all teachers are required to undergo rigorous continued professional development and special effort is made to retain good teachers. So while the question may be whether teaching in Canada is right for you, the real question is, are you qualified enough to be a teacher in Canada?

Attorney Salaries To Rise 3.1% In 2014 As Other Legal Services Go up 2.7%

A recent report published by attorney Robert Half suggests that starting salaries for attorney’s across the board will rise 3.1% in 2014. This is good news for a job market that has been dismal to say the least over the last few years.

Other careers in the legal field will see their salaries rise 2.7% or so according to the same report.

What Does This Mean For Aspiring Attorneys?

Rising salaries indicates one thing: The market is becoming less saturated. Supply and demand dictates that having three qualified lawyers for each available job holds, or drives, salaries down. This has been the case for the last few years, however apparently we are starting to turn that corner.

The normal cycle of any business or industry is as follows:

  • Salaries are good, people get involved, jobs are filled
  • People see good salaries and well-paying jobs, so more people get involved
  • The influx of new people saturates the market, and salaries start to stagnate
  • The market is completely saturated, salaries continue to stagnate if not actually decrease (when adjust for inflation)
  • No longer looking attractive, less people join the industry and things normalize
  • After normal, a shortage starts to appear and people, again, see the opportunity.

This cycle repeats itself over and over again – it is the essence of the free market.

How To Take Advantage In 2014

It’s actually too late to take advantage in 2014. Law school requires around three years of your life and then you have to pass the bar and jump through the rest of the hoops to become an attorney (that whole attorney vs lawyer debate).

The cost of living average over the long-run is around 3%, which means that attorneys are barely beating it. Other jobs in the legal field will actually see their salaries shrink when compared to the average cost of living increase. Currently, inflation is held very low due to a struggling world economy, but at some point that will take off.

Certain positions, such as a paralegal for example, will see their already meager salary slowly shrink or not grow as fast as it should due to the depressed wages we are currently experiencing. Unfortunately, even in positions outside of the legal field, there isn’t much anyone can really do. Wages across the board are flat, making the news that attorneys will see an increase above 3% a welcome site to the law community at large.

How Intelligent Do You Have To Be To Get A Career In Intelligence?

Jobs in the CIA are often left out of the normal equation of careers. It is often believed that in order to get hired by the the agency, one must be extremely intelligent. However, a massive IQ is not always necessary in order to get one of these coveted jobs.

IQ as a Gateway to the Central Intelligence Agency

All agents likely score above average on an IQ test. As the individuals who are most directly responsible for keeping the United States safe, these professionals need to be intelligent, aware, and mentally and emotionally stable. Having a poor score on an IQ test is enough to disqualify you from being accepted into the agency. However, it may not be necessary to have insanely high IQ scores. Those with an above average intelligence and a special skill set can still make it into the Central Intelligence Agency.

Having an extremely high IQ score could, in itself, make you an appealing candidate for the US secret service. However, IQ alone is not going to get you accepted in to the agency. A battery of tests will screen applicants on a variety of factors. Agents need to be mentally sound, trustworthy, able to handle extreme stress, able to work well with others, and a wealth of other personality traits that are necessary to the job. Having a high IQ is only one component that the agency is looking for in its agents.

Here are some more pointers on what it takes to become an agent:

Specialized Skills

The path of entry for many agents is having a specialized skill set. Some agents are appealing simply because they have a large IQ and can process the information given to them quickly. But language abilities, ability to solve codes, and the ability to work quickly under pressure are also extreme assets that a the secret service may be interested in.

Since the secret service has such a wide range of positions to fill, the agency needs people who are the best in their respective fields. Studies in psychology and international relations can be particularly valuable for getting accepted into the agency. Students should have exceptional grades in their fields of study, which may indicate intelligence but does not necessarily correlate.

More about the secret service:

Another special skill that is useful for agents is the ability to speak many languages fluently. People who have shown mastery of several languages are of immediate interest to the CIA. These individuals can help understand messages and codes sent by other nations, and they can also help with surveillance of high profile individuals in other nations. In short, there are many things that can qualify an individual for a Central Intelligence career, and intelligence is only one component of the job description.

Featured pic here.

Are We Seeing A Shift in the Way Teachers Are Trained

The Rise of the Online Teaching Degree

Studying the landscape of America’s teacher training system, it is shocking to see just how prevalent graduates of online programs are in today’s classrooms. The Huffington Post recently commented on the rise of online education degrees, and the numbers that they provided are startling. In 2001, the University of Phoenix, the nation’s largest provider of online teaching degrees, awarded 72 students degrees in education.

By 2011, this number grew to a staggering 6,000. The newspaper notes that while the majority of education degrees are still awarded by traditional universities, the online programs are altering the face of America’s education system for better or worse.

Scrutinizing of Online Education Programs

Many opponents of online education argue that it does not offer students the same level of quality teaching as traditional programs. If this is true, this is troubling for people who are going into the teaching profession to train our students. The Huffington Post quotes C. Emily Feistritzer, president of the National Center for Education Information, on the state of online education degrees. She claims that the programs are, “all over the place, just like they are with college campus-based programs.”

This offers hope for quality online education programs, and is a reason why in some states in the US, the number of educational degrees earned online outpaces that of degrees earned in a classroom. As more and more traditional schools continue to move their content online, the USA Today states that the quality of online programs will continue to get better.

The Attractiveness of an Online Degree

Online educational programs are popular to students due to the flexibility that it provides to would-be teachers. Non-traditional students are able to start a new career or raise a family while attending school. Teachers who work full-time are also able to earn an advanced degree without having to give up their profession.

Since a teachers level of education directly correlates to their salary, it is understandable that they would want to obtain a Masters or PhD. Online content exposes teachers to new content, and it may actually prep them to teach their students who in the future will most likely do the majority of their learning in an online format.

Finding an Online Program for You

Whether you choose a for-profit university or a traditional university, you will want to study your program closely. Earning a degree in teaching in the online format can be rewarding, and a great way to elevate your career.

Pic found here.

Is Canada’s Increase In Education Spending Helping?

Canada’s increased spending in many school districts is intended to increase students’ learning. But is the extra money actually having an affect on the students? The answer depends on where the money is being spent. Here are some of the common areas where increased funds are going.

Increasing Teacher Pay

It is debatable whether teacher pay has a big effect on students’ success in the classroom. Educators of young children might argue that when they are well compensated, they are more generous in spending time on their work. Some support comes from models like Norway, who has a high teacher salary and an excellent educational success rate. Others would argue that there are better ways to spend increased funding in schools.

Canadian teachers can base their arguments on teacher salaries in states like Texas in the US. In schools where teacher salaries are higher, the success of students is also greater. However, it’s hard to measure the exact cause of this success, since these schools are usually the wealthier districts with children from better socioeconomic backgrounds. Some studies could be useful in determining just how much teacher pay affects student success.

Increasing Spending per Student

An alternative to giving extra funds directly to teachers is to increase the spending per student. This could come in the form of buying supplemental materials and textbooks, equipping classrooms with a computer or tablet for each student, or increasing the budget per student for field trips. These methods do have a positive effect on student learning. When students are provided with diverse resources to keep their attention, they can devote more time and energy to learning.

Improving Facilities

The actual school building also has a positive effect on student learning. It is generally accepted that a child’s environment can affect his mood and ability to concentrate. Modern and well-lit facilities with good ventilation and attractive design can make a big psychological difference on a student. This research lets administrators know that there are many ways to tackle student learning problems, and several areas in which to spend additional funds.

Does Increased Spending Equal Increased Learning?

Increased spending in schools can be helpful, if it is done the right way. The most effective methods for spending will create a more pleasant environment for students that is rich in resources. Whether or not Canada’s increased spending is helping students depends on how administrators are choosing to spend the money. When administrators and teachers get all of the money, it may never reach students and it won’t help nearly as much. Likely, a distribution of extra funds across many areas is the best plan for using additional funding.

The Strenghts of Canada’s Education System

Oh Canada, We Have a Quality Education System

Is there a secret formula for the education system in Canada? Our country has an education system that produces students who are some of the highest performers in the world, but what separates our education system from others in the world and what helps us excel, with a few set backs? The answers are simple, and they may not surprise you. Canada is able to capitalize on the things that make us unique as a nation, and the result is a robust and high-performing education system.

Our Education System is Stable

One of the leading factors for the success of our education system is the stability that our educators provide to the system. Since our teachers are compensated well and they are challenged in the classroom, the rate of turnover in Canadian schools is lower than that found elsewhere. Canada enjoys a lower attrition rate than some areas plagued by teachers leaving, and this results in classrooms and teachers who are not having to constantly adapt to new methods and teaching styles.

The more experience that a teacher has in a given school, the more he or she will be able to relate to the students. This is important due to our nation’s diversity.

Not a Federal Program

Another one of the things that makes our education system excel is the fact that each province or territory is able to manage its own education system without interference from a central or federal education ministry. Each province is free to coordinate their education system through the Council of Education, and it has resulted in a system that has produced a literacy rate of 99%.

This is substantially higher than that of Singapore, the country who has the best education system in the world, and should be a point of pride for every Canadian educator. Flexibility at a local level allows are provinces to spend their dollars wisely on their students’ needs. While Canada does not spend as much on education as we do on health care, we are able to maximize the return on our dollars spent.

Dedicated Teachers

Small classroom sizes are another plus for our education system that has great teachers. Substitute teaching is a fairly popular pathway to take into teaching, and it is a smart route for schools to take since it gives them a chance to screen a teacher and his or her abilities before hiring them on full-time. The teachers in Canada are superb, and they are a large reason for the success of the education system.

Featured photo found here.

Canadian Teachers Union Says CCCE Report Is Pushy

The Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) recently released a report that may hold some bad news for Canadian teachers. In the report, representatives claimed that Canadian teachers’ pay should be based on performance rather than on the number of years worked. Canadian teachers are speaking out against the report, stating that it is pushy and does not represent the situation well.

The Council’s Opinion

The council hopes to create a system that rewards teacher performance. The idea is that teachers are paid to help their students learn, and it shouldn’t be the case that ineffective teachers are paid as much as teachers who do their job well. Many people argue that the current system encourages teachers to become set in their routines, since their pay will continue to go up whether their results are good or not.

Proponents of a performance based system say that the teachers who truly deserve to have high wages will still be compensated well under this new plan.

Teachers’ Opinion

Teachers argue against this new report by the council, calling it pushy. From their perspective, there is no completely effective way to measure a teacher’s performance. Test scores and similar measures may do a fair job, but they cannot take into account the factors out of a teacher’s control, such as student under-performance in testing situations.

Also, the value of a teacher goes far beyond what they contribute in core subjects, and teachers argue that it’s hard to measure a teacher’s effectiveness at teaching life skills or good study habits. Because the teachers’ performance is really a qualitative factor that authorities are attempting to measure quantitatively, teachers argue that the new system won’t work.

Looking at American Counterparts

When Canadian teachers look at the pay of their American counterparts, they may have even more objection to a new system that would reward performance rather than experience. Even though American teachers are facing some of the same objections, their pay scale remains based on the number of years worked. Location is an important detail as schools in more expensive areas often pay better than schools in poorer communities.

When Canadian teachers see how much their US counterparts make in bigger cities, they often object to measures that would serve to decrease the pay for teachers in Canada.

What’s Next

It’s hard to say so far what will happen in this debate between teachers and the authorities. Likely there will be an agreement met that appeases both sides. When teachers aren’t happy with their compensation, it puts students’ learning in jeopardy. Hopefully, this situation can be avoided.

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Should Canadian Teacher Salaries Be Performance-Based?

With authorities talking about creating a performance based salary schedule for Canadian teachers, many educators and parents alike have raised doubts about this potential system. Each side of the argument makes some valid points about this problem, leaving the issue in a gray area. Here are some of the most convincing arguments from each side of the debate.

Arguments for Performance Based Salary

Authorities and many tax payers have shown interest in creating a performance based salary schedule for many reasons. First, having a performance evaluation that affects pay could improve the quality of teaching, these proponents say. The current system allows teachers to kick back and expect to get a raise each year regardless of whether they put in the effort necessary to be good educators.

A performance based system would make teachers’ efforts more transparent and would give schools a reason to keep close tabs on teachers’ effectiveness. Finally, taxpayers could feel more secure in the system knowing that their tax dollars weren’t going to the so-called “lazy” teachers.

Arguments Against Performance Based Salary

Teachers, along with some parents and administrators, present some counter arguments to the performance based salary. They mainly argue that it’s hard to get a good gauge on what is a good performance in the classroom. Tests, supervision, and teacher fit with the school are some tactics that can be used, but they never can account for all of the complexity of the job.

Trying to control a group of high school kids who don’t want to be in the classroom can be a tough task. Even veteran teachers may have trouble reaching some of the toughest students, and this can have an impact on the students’ testing that isn’t quite related to teachers’ abilities in the classroom. Students must be motivated on their own, as well. Even teaching little kids is not as simple of a job as it sounds, and there are many factors that come into play with the students, the home life of the children, and the administration in the school.

The Future of the Debate

It’s not likely that this debate will end any time soon. With many parties having a large stake in the future of this problem, it’s not likely that any side will back down soon. The ideal solution is to create a solution that’s appealing to everyone, but with each side having such radical opinions on this issue, it will take some time before the sides come to see eye to eye.

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Fun Alternative Jobs to the Standard Go-To-College Careers

For those who are not looking forward to the standard 9-to-5 job, there is a world of opportunities available if you are willing to look and persevere. In fact, the days of the standard office job may be on the wane considering our ever-changing world.

For most people, taking such alternative jobs usually happens at the college age when you decide to get in as much adventure as possible before settling for your 9 to 5 job. However, there are alternative jobs for people of all ages, meaning that you can find the type of job that best suits your personality and needs without having to succumb to the same old standard type of employment.

Cruise Ships

Cruise ships have been around for decades entertaining passengers and providing many hours of relaxation and entertainment. Working on a cruise ship can be exciting as well, if you take the right type of job. You can be a part of the entertainment or work the top decks of the ship helping passengers while traveling different parts of the world.

In any event, cruise ships are but one of many different opportunities that await you when choosing adventurous jobs that will bring new challenges and provide many opportunities as well. If cruise ships are not exactly your cup of tea, there are actually new types of structures being built for the hotel industry that are revolutionizing the business.

Exotic Hotels

For the more adventurous types, underwater hotels are arguably the biggest event since the first hotel was constructed. Ranging from a single, underwater room rental in a Swedish lake to plans for elaborate underwater hotels around the world, this new movement to bring visitor to new part of the Earth has taken on a whole new meaning.

The Water Discus Hotel, the latest of grand underwater hotels in Dubai, represents the ultimate expression in this new movement of hotel building. With its expansive, futuristic design, there will be a world of opportunities that accompanies this new underwater hotel. In addition, there are other hotels being planned for Shanghai that are equally striking as well.

Adventure Jobs

There are many different jobs that you can take overseas which will provide you with great experiences while avoiding the standard

There are a lot of great facts about Spain, but the best of them center on the love of bullfighting. You can get a job working at a bullfighting arena or even train to be a bullfighter yourself if that is your desire. Bullfighting is a noble sport with a tradition that stretches back hundreds of years.

However, if bullfighting is not your thing, you can always get an adventure job as a scuba diving or surfing instructor. Helping tourist find their way around the Greek Isles, farming the fields of a South American country, playing online poker and more, you can even find jobs that help you get around the world on the cheap as well. This means that you can take the ultimate vacation and spend a fraction of the money because you worked your way through.

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Forensic Science Degrees Become More Popular, Colleges Staying Ahead

The world of forensic science is certainly well known to network TV watchers with the many programs dedicated to this exciting field. The result is that interest in becoming a forensic scientist has boomed in recent years and now with schools offering these programs the interest level is growing even higher.

The University of Toronto at Mississauga has the oldest forensic science program in the country. Covering a number of different fields including psychology, chemistry, biology and anthropology, this program has developed over the years to encompass different sciences and fields to create some of the best rounded educations in terms of forensic science.

The forensic science program out of the University of Toronto has helped generate more interest in this field to younger students. At Cederbrae Collegiate Institute for example, students in 9th grade and younger are engaging in forensic science studies built around the concept of crime scene investigation. With the support of the University of Toronto, they are learning about how science is applied to the world of law enforcement at a very early age.

What is a Forensic Scientist?

Basically, a forensic scientist is part of a team that investigates crime. They gather documents, analyzing physical evidence from crime scenes, including blood and hair samples along with fingerprints, bullet matching technique and so forth. Often called a crime scene investigator, they use established scientific methods and principles to help solve crimes.

There are currently over 13,000 forensic scientists in the US alone, working mostly for state and local institutions such as police departments, crime laboratories, morgues, and coroner offices. However, the field is rapidly growing thanks to the emphasis on evidence more law enforcement agencies are using to convict criminals.

Getting a degree in forensic science requires earning a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry or forensic science with additional training depending on the assignments that they want to handle. A forensic twist on a popular degree like nursing for example can lead to a healthy career in this remarkable field.

The Outlook for Forensic Science

The demand for forensic scientists is expected to grow over the next decade as more law enforcement agencies across North America expand this particular area. Even with wide interest so far, the combination of retiring scientists along with expanding law enforcement means that there will be plenty of opportunities for forensic scientists in the foreseeable future.

From becoming police officers to extensive on-the-job training that requires apprenticeships and the like to learn all aspects of what forensic science is all about. By encouraging younger children into learning about the exciting world of forensic science, it opens up their minds to all types of science fields. This means that while many students will not pursue this type of degree, they may become interested in other fields of science which they may have never considered before.

As odd as it seems, popular television programs that deal in crime scene investigation has spawned a resurgence of interest in science-related fields in which young people have shown a keen interest.

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How Early Is Too Early To Start Kids In Education?

There is controversy over the appropriate age for a child to start his or her education. Many parents start their children in preschool between the ages of three and four. Preschool offers educational classes designed to expose children to letters, numbers and shapes and to teach them how to get along with other children.

According to, children who attend preschool enter kindergarten with better reading and math skills and with a richer vocabulary. Similarly, according to The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2012 Kids Count report, approximately 50 percent of the children in the United States attended preschool between 2008 and 2010.

Most children must enter kindergarten no earlier than five years of age but no later than six years. The age depends on the state’s date requirement. For example, in Alabama a child must have turned five years of age no later than September 1 of the school year. If a child does not turn five until September 2, he or she must wait until the next school year to begin school. Parents have the option of holding their child back a year if they feel that the child is not ready to start school if the child will be no older than six by the state’s mandatory date for beginning school.

According to, schools are increasingly being held accountable for its student’s performance. Since older children tend to have higher performance scores, many schools are now advocating for children to begin their education at six or seven years of age. Advocates argue that older children are more mature and better able to understand and absorb instruction. Others disagree and argue that children mature at a different rate and should not be made to wait until they are six or seven if they are ready before that time.

Regardless of the age controversy, educators must be prepared to provide quality instruction by getting a degree in early childhood education. They must be prepared to teach children regardless of their maturity and are paid quite well for doing their job. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, preschool teachers earn approximately $27,000 per year. Unlike in the US, Canadian educators earn approximately $47,000 per year according to

Whether a child attends preschool or begins his or her education in kindergarten, all children in the United States are required to attend school without regard to their maturity or skills. Educators are required to teach those children the skills required to advance to the next level of education.

An Honest Look at a Teacher’s Salary

Public school teachers are commonly regarded to be underpaid and overworked. However, many factors go into determining the overall pay of any worker. If we are to take an honest look at a teacher’s yearly salary, we have to consider four major factors:

1. A teacher’s annual salary.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook of the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, which can be found at, the median pay for elementary school teachers was $53,090 per year in 2012. This means about half of teacher made under $53,090 nationwide while half of teachers make more. For high school teachers, median pay was slightly higher, at $55,050.

2. Comparative annual salaries.

When considering whether a teacher’s salary is worthwhile, one should look at other professions that require a B.A. Some college-educated professionals, such as actuaries, industrial engineers, and human resource managers have a median income ($75,000) that considerably outstrips that of teachers, while other college-educated professionals, such as fundraisers, interior designers, event planners, and social workers have a lower median income. The median household income was $51,324 in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That means the median teacher makes slightly more than the median household.

3. The number of hours worked per year.

While the average school day in the United States lasts 6.5 to 7 hours, teachers often have to come early and stay late. They need to prepare lesson plans and grade papers at home. During vacations, they frequently have to attend in-services or other continuing education opportunities.

On the other hand, many other middle-class workers have a standard nine-hour office day and also put in unpaid overtime. According to a 2008 analysis conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, teachers work approximately three fewer hours per week than most other professionals, and that’s not even counting vacation time. They typical middle-class job offers less than five weeks of vacation a year, and many workers do not get off federal holidays such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and President’s Day. So, when considering the value of a salary, it’s important to divide your anticipated annual salary by the number of hours you expect to work in a year.

4. The benefits.

Most teachers have health insurance, pension programs, retiree health benefits, and strong job security. Potential teachers should compare benefits and retirement packages and consider whether or not they will have similar job security and retirement benefits in another profession.

Teachers have to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate. Before they do so, many would-be teachers want to know, “How much is that piece of paper worth?” Taking a look at these four factors will help potential teachers decide if preparing for the profession is a worthwhile investment.

How Do The Requirements To Teach In Canada Differ From The US?

Canada has many rules and regulations with regards to becoming a teacher. The overall process in Canada is similar to the path taken in the US; with a few minor differences. The difference in educational requirements is problem one of the single most marked differences between the nations.

In Canada, teachers have to have, in addition to a standard bachelor’s degree, completed a certification program as well. Contrarily, in the US, a bachelor’s degree in education is more than enough to secure a position teaching in the public education system. In fact, in certain situations, you don’t even need a bachelor’s degree.

Pathway To Teaching

While each situation is unique, and a teacher’s job description is about as unique as the pupils in the classroom, there are definitely a few set paths that are the most common from which you can arrive at the desired destination as an educator.

  • The straight-forward way: Receive a degree in education, do the required student teaching portion of the degree, pass any state certification necessary depending on the state and find a job.
  • The path less traveled: Finding a teaching position in an area that is impoverished or otherwise less desireable (i.e. inner city) is easier for people who want to make their way into teaching without a traditional background. While these jobs are not necessarily the most sought-after, they can be the most rewarding.

In Canada, it is less likely that a person can become a teacher without the proper degree and certification. In fact, currently the market for educators in Canada is fairly saturated; not enough positions for all of the newly-minted teachers out there. Additionally, educators aren’t retiring at as quick a clip as they have been in the past few years.

What About Teaching At The University?

Teaching at the university is a daunting goal in either Canada or the US. Th

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e market is filled with many qualified, or even over-qualified, applicants that the competition is fierce. In addition, a lot of degree’s offered by colleges these days have little to no practical value in the real world; at least on their face.

Most, if not all of, these graduates have to seek positions in education, mostly higher education, due to the lack of options their degrees may provide. The hip trend of getting a degree in English or Humanities may be slowly dying out, but there are still a lot of people who have a PhD in Ancient Medieval Armor And Horsemanship that just aren’t going to be able to parlay that into a high paying job outside of education.

When PhD’s are applying for lower-level jobs at community colleges, as is the current market, it’s quite obvious it isn’t wrought with opportunity.

Canada Offers Educational Opportunity To Latin American Countries: Brazil, Peru

Peru, an eclectic and exotic country, is home to some of the most unique historical sites in the world. Their most famous historical site, Machu Picchu, is one of the current Seven Wonders of the World! Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century by an Incan kingdom and due to its unique historical heritage and amazing architecture, is one of the top traveling destinations on Earth!

But Peru is not the only South American country with unique trivia. Did you know that Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world? It also holds the record for being the longest country on Earth–it clocks in at about 2800 miles from the south tip of its borders to the north tip of its borders.

Because Brazil is so large, it comes as no surprise that it ranks among the highest in the world for a number of other factors, as well, including: the second highest in the number of airports, the second largest population people who identify their religion as Christian, and the third highest in the number of roadways!

It should come as no surprise that the Brazilian government is funding the Ciência sem Fronteiras Scholarship Program. The Ciência sem Fronteiras is a nationwide program dedicated to providing students in Brazil the opportunity to live abroad in Canada while expanding their knowledge in a variety of academic and practical areas–such as science, technology and technological innovation.

The program is available to undergraduate and graduate students in Brazil and, with the cooperation of the Canadian Bureau for International Education and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada will manage and place these students in Canadian universities or colleges with scholarships.

The selected students will stay in Canada for 12 or 16 months; students who qualify for immediate acceptance into academic classes will stay for 12 months, while students who require English language training will stay for 16 months, with the first few months of their stay focused on the learning of English.

The students chosen for this program will have a wide variety of Canadian academic programs on offer. These include programs in engineering, physical sciences, earth sciences, biology and biomedical sciences, aerospace technology, renewable energy studies, marine sciences, creative studies focused on technological development or innovation, nanotechnology–and much more. Some members of the program may be able to be placed in research or industry positions rather than academic or study positions, depending on their experience and background.

The program also offers the opportunity for Canadian students to travel to Brazil and expand their global worldview, while also improving relations between Canada and Brazil and fostering a relationship of cooperation and understanding. And that is why the primary goal Ciência sem Fronteiras is for both Brazilian and Canadian students to foster the growth of innovation and technology in Brazil and Canada through international cooperation, study and experience.

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Canadian Paralegals Responsibility Increases, US Do Not

People working as paralegals understand a thing or two about support; one of their major job functions is to assist and support attorneys on a variety of issues. They have to be versatile, well-educated, and able to accomplish a variety of tasks when called upon to do so.

These skills seem to be serving the paralegals of Canada well, as they are given a bit more leeway, while their more heavily-regulated counterparts in the United States with specific accreditations and endorsements seem to be falling somewhat behind.

Contrarily, in the United States, paralegals seem to be losing some of their responsibility to technology. As paralegals in Canada seem to be progressing, the paralegal job in the United States, while still strong and slated to grow 18% over the next 10 years (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), is seeing a slight decrease in technology taking over some of what they were previously responsible for.

 The Differences

Paralegals in the US generally have a bachelor’s degree. In most situations, they want to attend a school that has an accreditation sufficient for the American Bar Association (ABA). Without this certification, a lot of excellent work experience is generally needed to get the more sought-after placements. The American Bar Association is the regulating body that oversees the legal profession, mainly lawyers, in the US.

Interestingly enough, in the US this additional level of oversight does not indicate more responsibility. As we have seen lately, paralegals in Canada are now able to practice actual law at times while under the supervision of an attorney.

Paralegals can actually specialize, which does give them a bit more autonomy, however still not to the level of actually representing clients. There are many specializations in which paralegals can work; basically as many as there are different responsibilities for lawyers.

The Pay

Naturally, one would assume that Canadian paralegals make more money with their elevated status and job responsibilities; however that isn’t necessarily the case. While the average salary for Canadian paralegals is slightly higher, at $53,000 per year, the starting wage is only $30,600. The actual salary between Canadian and US paralegals is pretty similar, varying by about 10%-15%.

10%-15% is substantial, however when you consider the prices attorneys charge compared to what the paralegal is earning, even on the high end, the contrast is stark.

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Neuromyths: The Achilles Heel Of Canadian Education

Canadian educators are misinformed about one very important subject: the brain. One of the things that holds educators back when looking at making real change within the educational system is the fact that they don’t understand the brain well enough.

When a change is proposed, educators often have misconceptions about how the brain works, thus resisting the change. These misconceptions are called neuromyths; myths about the brain that are widely accepted and spread.

Basic concepts about the brain are generally and widely understood, especially when it comes to education-related environments. For example, most people know that in order to become a good lawyer, you must be logical. However, what we may not understand is that logic, decision making, and other key ingredients in being successful in this line of work come from the executive function center of the brain.

A good example of this is the case of bilingualism. For example, bilingualism has long been thought of as a detractor from successful academic study. It has been billed a waste of brain space or confusing. Recent research, say within the last 10 years, has proved that to be whole-heartedly incorrect. Bilingualism actually increases executive function which in turn leads to better concentration, more decisiveness, and many other benefits that translate well into the educational environment.

A thorough understanding of the brain, it’s anatomy, and how it all works together would have lead educators to stop advising parents to quit speaking the minority language at home. A lack of neuro-understanding, if I may, actually caused professional educators to advocate for practices that hurt the students.

In a recent blog post on the Canadian Education Association homepage, the author goes on to write about other neuromyths such as:

  • Students learn better in their preferred learning style (auditory, visual, etc)
  • Students are either “right-brained” or “left-brained”
  • Humans only use 10% of their brain
  • There is a critical period after which a child can no longer learn as well

In fact, all of the above, as the author points out, are neuromyths.  He continues saying:

“…neuroeducation course should be incorporated into the initial training and professional development of teachers and others working in education.”

While reviewing his article, as well as using my own understandings, I have come to the same conclusion. Educators reach children through the medium of their brain, similar to how a forensic accountant solves cases through the medium of accounting. It isn’t just teaching that is required as a teacher; it’s also an understanding of learning. Learning requires, quite heavily I may add, the brain.