dcsimg

How to Become a Teacher

Why Become a Teacher?

Teaching is a great career choice for anyone who wants to positively affect the lives of others as well as challenge themselves. In fact, being a teacher is much more than a career: it's a lifestyle full of meaningful and supportive relationships with co-workers, inspiring connections with students, and ongoing professional and personal development.

How to Become a Teacher

  • The process of becoming a teacher starts with enrolling in a degree or certificate program at an accredited college or university. While some private schools may allow you to teach without a teaching certificate, most private and all public schools require a current teaching certificate, and that means school. Fortunately, many teacher education programs today are designed for flexibility. Busy professionals or homemakers can easily find flexible teaching programs that are offered in the evenings, on weekends or through online courses.
  • After completing your degree program, you are required by your state to pass a series of standardized tests (Praxis I and II) that measure your basic academic skills, teaching skill, and knowledge of your content area (i.e. elementary education or mathematics).
  • Once you have completed your degree and passed your tests, you should be able to apply for a teaching certificate from the state. After receiving your certificate, you can apply for teaching jobs wherever the certificate is valid.

Requirements for Becoming a Teacher

Requirements for becoming a teacher may vary state-to-state. Teacher Portal is working to supply you with information from all 50 states about how to become a teacher. It is our intention to someday display information on certificate requirements, salaries, jobs available and much more!

Though the requirements for becoming a teacher can vary by state, at minimum, public school teachers need to have earned a bachelor’s degree and either possess a state-issued license to teach or have passed a certification exam. In some states, teachers can be fingerprinted and have a background check performed during the process (ctc.ca.gov, 2013). Requirements for teaching also vary depending on what level of teacher you intend to become. The requirements for employment in each teaching bracket, as listed by the BLS, are as follows:

  • Preschool teachers — Preschool teachers educate and care for children who have not yet entered kindergarten. While preschool teachers in childcare centers might be able to start teaching with only a high school diploma and a certification in early childhood education, preschool teachers in public schools are generally required to have earned a bachelor's degree or higher in early childhood education or a related field.
  • Kindergarten or elementary school teachers — Kindergarten and elementary school teachers provide primary education to children, covering the basics of reading, mathematics and the sciences. In public schools these teachers are required to have earned both a license and a bachelor’s degree. Some states even require teachers to earn a master's degree after they obtain their teaching certification.
  • Middle school teachers — Middle school teachers serve as the first step in secondary education to students. Secondary education is the education level directly above sixth grade. All states require their public middle school teachers to have earned a bachelor’s degree. Some states require teachers have a degree in the subject they want to teach, such as math or English; other states may instead require teachers to major in elementary education. Some states also require teachers to earn a master's degree after they obtain their teaching certification.
  • High school teachers — High school marks the end of secondary education for students. These classes are more focused on specific areas, and the BLS notes that most states require their public high school teachers to have majored in the subject they are teaching, such as history or chemistry. As with kindergarten, elementary and middle school teachers, some states require high school teachers to earn a master's degree after they obtain their teaching certification.

Other teaching-oriented careers that don't quite fit into a particular level of teaching have their own requirements:

  • Teacher assistants — Teaching assistants, or teacher assistants, work under licensed teachers to provide further instruction and support for students beyond that offered by the main teacher. At least two years of college education is often the minimal requirement for this position, but requirements can vary by state, school district and the position they are assisting. Some states require an associate degree of their candidates, and most states require teacher assistants working with special-needs students to pass a skills-based test first.
  • Special education teachers — Special education teachers work with a diverse range of students who have a diverse range of learning, mental, emotional and physical disabilities. These professionals can work at just about any level of education; some work with whole classes of students, while others work with students on a one-on-one basis. Regardless of state or teaching bracket, a special education teacher must earn at least a bachelor's degree, although it does not need to be in special education; teachers may also major in elementary education or a content area, such as math or science, and minor in special education instead.
  • School librarians — School librarians take on the important responsibility of introducing students to the ways they can use and benefit from their school libraries. Becoming a school librarian is not as easy as you might think: candidates must earn a master's degree in library science, as well as a teacher's certification. This is because school librarians often act as teachers in their own right, working together with the other teachers at the school to develop lesson plans in both classroom and library and helping students to find materials relevant to their studies.

If you have other questions that weren't answered here, try our Frequently Asked Questions section.

Note: Not all programs lead to initial teacher certification.

Sources:

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition, Preschool Teachers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition, Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-1
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition, Middle School Teachers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm
  4. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition, High School Teachers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm
  5. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition, Teacher Assistants, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/teacher-assistants.htm
  6. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition, Special Education Teachers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm
  7. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition, Library Technicians and Assistants, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/library-technicians-and-assistants.htm
  8. Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Fingerprint Information, https://www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/fee-and-fingerprint

Teaching Schools

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
 
Results:  5
Matching School Ads
Master of Education - TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Ranked among the Best Online MBA Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Founded in 1890, it has a campus in Waterbury, CT and offers online degree program in eight-week modules, six times a year.
  • About 800 students are enrolled at the main campus, and about half of them commute.
  • Online courses make it possible for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months and a master’s degree in 14-24 months.
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
M.A. in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
  • Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
  • College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: Rich 25-year history providing outstanding health care and nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN program & master's in nursing degrees.
  • College of Education: Whether you are looking to start or advance your career as a teacher or administrator, GCU offers bachelor’s and master’s in education degrees in key areas.
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
  • Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
MS - Instruction in the 1:1 Environment
  • Online MEd, MS, EdD, EdS, and PhD options in K-12, higher education, and education technology.
  • Specializations in early childhood education, K-12 studies in education, educational leadership and management, curriculum and instruction, leadership in educational administration, and more.
  • Over $30 million in scholarships available in 2018. Eligible learners and programs only. Amount awarded depends upon number of eligible learners.
  • Earn credit based on learning gained from previous coursework and get your degree in less time through our Prior Learning Assessment process.
  • Capella Education Company was named one of Forbes magazine’s “100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America” for 2014 (Forbes, 2014).
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
E-Learning - EdS
  • Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university.
  • As a regionally accredited, private, online and graduate-focused university, NCU offers doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business, technology management, education, and psychology, as well as doctoral and master’s degrees in marriage and family therapy.
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
Doctor of Education: Curriculum and Instruction
  • Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels
  • No standardized testing if student meets admission requirements
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • 95% of Liberty University students receive some form of financial aid
Show more [+]
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits