In celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week, Monster interviewed two teachers who took an alternative route in education.

Dylan Manderlink, 23, teaches digital communications for Teach For America (TFA), a national teacher corps focused on raising student achievement in public schools and David Sinopoli, 25, who recently returned from aPeace Corps term in Burkina Faso (a landlocked country in West Africa) where he taught middle school math, science and English.

The typical route in education

To become a teacher you’ll need a degree in education (or master’s degree depending on where you want to teach), experience working with students and a certification or teaching credential for the state you want to work in. Specific requirements and testing varies by state, but in most you have to pass a content-knowledge test or complete specific college courses related to the subject you will teach. Prior to joining TFA, many corps members have not competed a traditional course of study in education, so most states will consider them nontraditional teachers. However, each state has different requirements and rules on earning credentials, sometimes referred to as alternative certificates or licenses.

“There are so many benefits to doing Teach For America,” Manderlink says. “Having the opportunity to uproot my life, move to a completely new region of the country, immerse myself in a new regional culture and community and meet students and teachers who inspire me everyday has been unforgettable.”