Graduate Profile

From Marine to Science Teacher: Philip Breiding

Philip Breiding

Philip Breiding enlisted in the Marine Corps immediately after high school, training in defensive air traffic control. As he neared the end of his service, Philip knew that he wanted to become a teacher. While still in the Marines, a representative from the Troops to Teachers program made a presentation to Philip and others on his base, highlighting WGU and some other participating universities. Philip did some research on participating schools and decided to apply to WGU. Five months later, he began the Bachelor of Arts in Science Education Program.

“WGU’s cost was the biggest selling point for me. The price can’t be beat. I looked at other schools and they would be five times the cost with half the reputation that WGU has,” Philip said.

A year and a half later, he finished his degree, obtaining his teaching credential. He got a demanding job teaching physical science and biology to ninth graders, many of them ESL and high risk, in a school district near Denver. But Philip wasn’t finished with his education—he knew he wanted to continue on to earn his master’s degree. While the GI Bill funded his undergraduate work, Philip needed for find another way to pay for his master’s degree.

“I am a young guy making first-year teacher’s salary. I am married, and someday my wife and I want to have kids. I didn’t want my debt for school to stop that.”

Philip searched the WGU website for scholarship opportunities and applied for the Qwest Excellence in Education Scholarship. He was awarded the scholarship and able to complete his master’s degree in two terms.

“WGU has trained me to be a master teacher. Other veteran teachers have already commented on way I run my classroom and are surprised that I have this skill being since I am so new to the teaching profession,” he said. “The principals recognize the type of learning environment I create for my students and the confidence WGU has given me to stay in control of my class. As a result, I was chosen as Rookie of the Year from 21 new teachers.”