How to Become a Teacher in Nevada
Those interested in becoming a teacher in Nevada should find the process similar to that of many other states. While the requirements can vary depending on the area of specialization, most routes to a teaching career begin with a bachelor's degree in education or a related field, followed by a stint as a student teacher and passing the Nevada licensure exam. Fortunately, Nevada often allows people who have earned teaching certifications in other states to put their qualifications towards a teaching license in Nevada, though these situations are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Areas of Specialization
Prospective teachers applying for a Nevada teaching license have to choose one of several types of licenses. Licenses vary according to the grade level and subject matter. The following are some examples of licenses available in Nevada:
- Birth through 2nd Grade
- Elementary (Kindergarten through 8th Grade)
- Middle School (7th to 9th Grades)
- Secondary, Academic (7th to 12th Grades)
- Secondary, Career and Technical (7th to 12th Grades)
Secondary licenses require specialization in a particular subject matter. Options include the following: art, English, mathematics, physical science, social studies, biological science, and speech and drama. Secondary licenses generally require additional training or education, including at least a bachelor's degree and coursework in secondary pedagogy.
Teachers may also choose to focus in other areas and earn special licenses. Secondary licenses in career and technical education are available in many areas, including the following: automotive, child care, construction tech, food service, health occupations, and industrial arts. Teachers interested in working with special needs students can earn licenses as Generalists in Exceptional Pupils, or focus on specific subcategories like autism, speech and language impairments, or intellectual disabilities. Other kinds of special licenses available include bilingual education, JROTC, computer literacy, music, and physical education.
More information about the teacher licensure available in Nevada can be found at the Nevada Department of Education (teachers.nv.gov).
Nevada Teacher Licensing Requirements
Most teaching licenses require that future teachers hold a bachelor's degree in education or a similar field. Teachers must have taken a certain number of credit hours in education and more specifically, courses related to their area of specialization (for example, early childhood education for K-8 teachers and secondary pedagogy for high school teachers). Master's or doctoral degrees can benefit students with more highly specialized areas of interest.
A certain number of student teaching hours or an equivalent university practicum program are required for most licenses, although requirements vary according to the type of license. Real work experience as a teacher can take the place of student teaching requirements, however.
There are two testing options available for first-time teaching applicants in Nevada: Nevada state-mandated testing and Praxis testing. Testing waivers are available for certain applicants, though, including those who meet certain score requirements on the GRE or earn a Master's degree or higher.
Fingerprinting and a background check are part of the teaching license application process as well.
Alternate Paths to Becoming a Teacher in Nevada
For those who have earned a bachelor's degree in a different field or are pursuing a nontraditional route into a teaching career, there are other options for licensure available. With a bachelor's degree, two years of teaching experience and five years of work experience in the area you plan to teach, you can earn a special qualifications teaching license.
There are also other programs that allow those without direct education backgrounds to teach in Nevada, including Teach for America Las Vegas (teachforamerica.org) and Nevada Troops to Teachers (mpttt.org), which helps military veterans become teachers in Nevada.
Nevada Department of Education, http://www.doe.nv.gov/
Nevada Department of Education, Teacher Licensure, http://teachers.nv.gov/
Teach for America, http://www.teachforamerica.org/where-we-work/las-vegas-valley
Troops to Teachers, http://www.mpttt.org/States/Nevada.aspx