Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Roxanne Forgrave

Second Advisor

Susan Moore

Third Advisor

Jeffrey S. Williamson

Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery


Second-career teachers’ pathways to teaching are often different from the traditional pathways of first-career teachers. This hermeneutic phenomenological study explored the common traits that second-career teachers share that may be unique within education, and whether second-career teachers’ prior skills and experiences assisted them in their new profession. The study also examined whether second-career teachers perceived that their certification programs helped them to develop their teacher identities and taught them to utilize their prior work experiences. Finally, this study investigated whether second career teachers believed that administrators valued their distinctive abilities. Data collection consisted of semi-structured interviews illustrating the individual experiences of 12 second-career teachers. Data were analyzed to develop emergent themes that provided answers to the four research questions guiding this study. The conclusions presented new insight into the high value second-career teachers place on their prior professional skills and experiences. Evidence also suggested that second-career teachers do not believe certification programs and district administrators place the same value on those skills and experiences. In order to reduce attrition of second-career teachers it is recommended that administrators recognize, develop, and utilize their prior professional skills and experiences as a resource for students and colleagues.


Ed.D. dissertation completed in 2015 for Olivet Nazarene University.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.