A teaching career will allow you to help generations grow and succeed in their future lives. As an educator, you will play an essential part in encouraging children of all ages to develop skills and competencies to help them flourish in their future careers.
Being a great teacher can change a student’s life trajectory completely. Teaching may be your best career option if you love sharing knowledge and inspiration.
Each state can have different guidelines regarding education level, licensing, and experience when hiring teachers. But, all states require that their prospective teachers have at least a Bachelor’s degree and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program to receive licensure for teaching.
Also, according to the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), 82 percent of Georgia schools need more teachers.
With this guide, Teachers of Tomorrow will help you learn the steps and gather all the key information to build your career in education. You will understand the process to help you start the journey to your fulfilling and rewarding teaching career in Georgia.
Is Teaching the Right Career for You?
Teaching requires that you be focused, have excellent communication skills, have a good mastery of your subjects, and be a great collaborator. You also require great interpersonal skills since you are closely involved with your learners, families, and the community.
Most teachers view their career as a vocation, not a job, due to the innate passion and love for learning and teaching they possess for their work.
Teaching offers some great monetary benefits, which vary from state to state. For instance, the annual average salary for teachers in Georgia is $61,249 while in Mississippi it’s $45,574
Compensation also depends on the education level, years of experience, and certification type.
But money is one of many motivations to teach as the teaching career is very stable, and you can also expect long vacations.
Other benefits to teachers in Georgia include access to two primary health plans that ensure healthy living for the teachers and their dependents.
State Requirements for Teaching In Georgia
All states require that prospective teachers hold a bachelor’s degree to be considered for certification in teaching. Regardless of your education level or experience, you must meet the state’s requirements to become certified in Georgia.
The prevailing educator situation in the states guides the requirements. For instance, a severe teacher shortage in a teaching area might result in fewer certification requirements than in the rest of the states. Georgia lawmakers have also introduced a new bill that offers a $2,000 salary raise to educators in a bid to attract and retain teachers.
Your certification requirements will also differ depending on the level you aim to teach, such as primary, secondary, or high school.
Teacher certification in Georgia is done by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) for entry-level certification and those on the reciprocity program from other states.
These requirements include the following:
1. Bachelor’s Degree
All states expect their teachers to be holders of bachelor’s degrees. Before enrolling for your bachelor’s degree, consider choosing a degree program related to the grade level and the subject you wish to teach. For instance, if you wish to become a special education teacher, you may enroll for a bachelor’s degree in special education.
Most universities offer joint teacher education programs. This allows you to earn your degree and complete your teacher certification program simultaneously.
A bachelor’s degree will equip you with key transferable skills essential for effective curriculum instruction and learner management in teaching.
Such skills include:
- Cognitive skills: The program grows your ability to recall, integrate and analyze curriculum content in a manner that makes it easier for learners to understand.
- Communication skills: Effective written and oral communication is key to successful curriculum instruction. A bachelor’s degree will equip you with effective augmentative/alternative communication skills to deliver lessons efficiently. Such skills will also ensure a collaborative working environment with your colleagues.
- Research and Information processing skills: You will acquire the ability to initiate and complete the collection of data concerning learners and curricula. You’ll also learn how to effectively analyze data, consider any implications, keep records, and efficiently display information.
Some bachelor’s degree programs that can lead to a career in education include:
- Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood
- Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
- Bachelor of Arts in English for Secondary Education
- Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education
2. Complete an Accredited Teacher Preparation Program
When seeking teaching licensure in Georgia through the traditional pathway, you must complete an accredited teacher preparation program approved by the Georgia Department of Education. Examples of these programs are the University of Georgia College of Education, Georgia State University College of Education & Human Development, Georgia Southern University College of Education, etc. The accredited teacher preparation program earns you an induction certificate.
The programs may include:
- Early Childhood Education
- Middle Grades Education
- Secondary Education
- Special Education.
Completing such a program is proof of quality teacher preparation. It shows that you have been adequately prepared to master your subjects, effectively manage your learners, and are ready for efficient classroom delivery.
3. Gain Student Teaching Experience
Before being allowed to teach, you will complete an in-classroom teaching experience. This is supervised fieldwork at local Georgia schools where you will work with learners in the age group and subject specialty in which you seek licensure. Georgia Department of Education requires that you complete a full semester (15-16 weeks or at least 48 hours) of student teaching.
Also, you must first acquire a pre-service certificate to undertake student teaching in Georgia.
To acquire a pre-service certificate, you need to:
- Enroll in a Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC)-approved program.
- Pass a criminal background by the GaPSC.
- Complete the Program Entry Ethics Assessment conducted by Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE).
4. Pass a Background Check
To become a teacher in Georgia, the Georgia State Law requires that you undergo a criminal background check before employment.
Background checks are carried out to verify that a prospective employee is the person they claim to be. It checks your criminal record, employment history, education, and other activities that confirm the validity of your identity.
Background checks are conducted on teachers to determine their history of child neglect or abuse.
5. Get Certified
Each state has different teacher certification processes. For initial certification in Georgia, you must pass the GACE, which tests the main content area and teaching knowledge. Other tests for prospective teachers in Georgia include:
- Test I- Reading
- Test II- Mathematics
- Test III- Writing
- Content Assessments
You will then obtain an induction certificate by applying for certification through the Georgia Professional Standards Commission.
Attach the following documents to your certification application:
- Official college transcripts
- Evidence of completion of the approved teacher preparation program
- Proof of passing the GACE and the Georgia Ethics Assessments
- Completed request for certification
- Payment of non-refundable certificate processing fee
6. Consider Getting a Master’s Degree
Many states now require that teacher candidates hold a master’s degree or receive one within the first five years of teaching. Through the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GAPSC), it is possible to acquire a master’s degree. A master’s degree gives you a competitive edge, such as enhanced skills and knowledge and expanded career opportunities within the field of education. You can become a curriculum coordinator, department head, instructional coach, etc.
Alternative Route to Teaching In Georgia
If you already have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in areas outside education, you can transition to teaching through the alternative route to teacher certification in Georgia. Alternative licensure programs in Georgia are designed to provide a non-traditional approach to finding quality teachers.
GaPSC approves the alternative certification programs and leads to an initial induction certificate.
Alternative teacher certification can take 18 months to 2 years to complete, compared to the traditional route, which takes about 4 years.
Getting Hired as a Teacher
Education, certification, and in-classroom experience are the most relevant criteria for getting hired as a teacher.
Here are several things to remember when applying to different job positions:
Polish Your CV
To have an outstanding CV, tailor it to each job ad. You can do this by using the responsibilities and preferred qualifications the employer lists. Use the same qualifications, language, or keywords in your resume to show you can fulfill the role.
Tailoring your resumé improves your chances of being hired since it shows the alignment of your skills with the job requirements.
Upgrade Your Skill Set
To demonstrate your readiness to take up your role as a teacher, you must demonstrate that you possess both hard and soft skills. You’ll require these skills on a daily basis through creating lesson plans, providing classroom instruction, interacting with your learners and their families, and collaborating with your colleagues.
Upgrade your skill set and state them in your resumé. Some of these skills include:
- Critical thinking: Demonstrate your ability to work with learners considering their interest’s within the institution’s goals and standards.
- Patience: Demonstrate excellent understanding of working with learners from varied cultural backgrounds, learning styles, and intellectual abilities.
- Communication: Display excellent written and oral communication skills. As a strong verbal communicator, your lesson material and expectations will also be clear to your learners.
Begin Your Job Search
On certification, once you are ready to search for jobs, check the state of Georgia’s official website for employment opportunities and their requirements.
Other websites where you can get employment opportunities include:
- Teach Georgia
- Georgia Independent School Association
- Teach Away Georgia
- Georgia Charter Schools
- Georgia Department of Education
Some of the areas in which Georgia is seeking certified candidates include math, science, special education, ESOL, Speech-Language Pathology, and foreign languages.
You can also contact the districts you are interested in directly by email or phone and check if they are hiring.
Alternatively, send your resume to the schools you wish to teach– especially in the case of private schools and charter schools.
Join a Professional Organization and Network
Joining professional networks and organizations allows you to connect with other educators in the state. Such organizations include:
Such organizations assist their members in professional development materials and resources that enhance their educators’ competence, confidence, and leadership skills.
Ace Your Job Interview
Your employer wants to know how equipped you are to manage your learners. Your teaching interview is an opportunity for you to display your readiness to patiently and inclusively guide learners through successful academic instruction.
Here are a few tricks on acing that job interview:
- Make it about the learners: As you present your attributes, do it in the scope of your students. Show the employer how your attributes help realize student-centered teaching and improve learner outcomes.
- Show them that you are modern, tech-savvy, but relatable: Your understanding of integrating technology into learning activities will go a long way in getting you hired.
- Share your thoughts on emerging challenges and trends in education: Critically share your thoughts on issues such as teacher shortages, digital literacy, and access to education and offer possible solutions that fit the institution’s model.
Career Outlook & Salary in Georgia
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of secondary school teaching jobs to grow by approximately 5 percent. On average, the annual salary of teachers in Georgia as of June 2023 is $55,099.
Lawmakers in Georgia are also taking a special interest in education and intend to create bills that raise the compensation rates for teachers in Georgia and attract more educators to curb the current shortage.
For the 2021-2022 school year, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education lists Georgia’s teacher shortage areas:
- Basic and Advanced Mathematics 4-12
- Special Education PreK-12
- Social Studies 4-12
- Life Sciences 6-12
- Spanish PreK-12
- Health Science Pre-K-12
- Physical Science 4-12
Teacher salaries also vary depending on teaching position (kindergarten, elementary, middle, high school), number of years taught, school district, etc.
Become a Teacher In Georgia
Once you meet all the requirements for teaching in Georgia, you can start your gratifying career, making a difference in the next generation’s lives.
Besides the monetary compensation, you will enjoy other benefits such as health and retirement pension plans offered through the Teachers Retirement System of Georgia.
Georgia Department of Education also offers twelve paid holidays in a year.
Also, you will have access to transportation and parking benefits in addition to various discount programs provided to the Georgia Department of Education employees through Team Georgia.
Teachers of Tomorrow will give you a seamless transition into a fulfilling teaching career through alternative certification programs.