Many individuals who want to teach may not have the necessary experience required to become a teacher. You may be wondering how to teach without a degree and questioning what steps to take if becoming a teacher is your dream. Teaching can be a very rewarding career, as individuals can inspire and influence the lives of the students they teach.
Each state has it’s own requirements for becoming a teacher, and these requirements may change depending on if you want to teach in a private school or public school. States that do not require a bachelor’s degree may allow certain individuals to receive certification or train for teaching. For example, in Arizona, it is possible to train to become a teacher without a degree. Additionally, in Florida, military veterans who do not have a bachelor’s degree can receive a five-year teaching certificate. In this article, you will learn how to successfully teach without a degree.
Becoming a Teacher without a Degree
Becoming a teacher without a degree can seem like a daunting task given the fact that public schools in all 50 states require teachers to have a bachelor’s degree for any grade level. One of the easiest ways to teach without a degree can be through private schools, as they may not require you to have a bachelor’s degree.
If you want to teach in public school are wondering how to become a teacher without a teaching degree, it may be the case that some policymakers and administrators are considering lowering requirements to become a teacher. This is because of the teacher shortage and the need to continue filling teaching positions. However, this has not been confirmed as a widespread tactic for combating the teacher shortage.
The easiest way to become a teacher is by holding your bachelor’s degree in any subject. If you do that, you are able to enroll in an alternative teacher certification program that will allow you to become a licensed teacher. An alternative teacher certification program is the nontraditional path that individuals are allowed to take if they want to become a teacher without completing a program through a university. Before enrolling in an alternative teacher certification program, be sure to research licensure requirements put forth by the state and district you are wanting to teach in.
Alternative Teaching Careers Without a Bachelor’s Degree
There are alternative teaching careers without a bachelor’s degree listed as a requirement. This is great for you if you want a similar job to teaching but you do not want to receive your bachelor’s degree. Many choose to become a teacher because they love working with children, they can have flexible schedules, and there is job stability. Below is a list of alternative teaching careers that share these same benefits and can be held without a bachelor’s degree:
- Tutor – Working as a tutor allows individuals to teach students, and create lesson plans structured around helping them excel in school
- Nanny – If you are a nanny, you will be interacting with young children and may be asked to help them stay on task when they complete schoolwork at home.
- Daycare assistant – A daycare assistant works with young children and helps to organize activities that individuals can do with the children.
- Personal trainer – A personal trainer is similar to a teacher in that they help individuals improve themselves and create lesson plans. While these lesson plans are around fitness rather than math or English, they are still responsible for helping an individual grow.
- Teacher’s aide – A teacher’s aide helps teachers with lessons, interacts with students, and can support students with learning in the classroom.
- Substitute teacher – In most cases, substitute teachers are not required to have a teacher certification, but they will have the same responsibilities as a regular teacher.
- Athletic coach – An athletic coach will be working with individuals of all ages, and are in charge of teaching them the necessary skills needed to excel in a specific sport.
- Children’s author – Many times children’s authors craft stories that help teach a lesson or a concept to individuals. While you may not be interacting with children on an everyday basis, you will be teaching them through your work.
- Museum tour guide – Similarly to a teacher, a museum tour guide educates individuals on the subject matter of the museum.
Becoming a Teacher with a Bachelor’s Degree in Another Field
In most states, becoming a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in another field can be easy and somewhat straightforward. Every state, except for Minnesota and Rhode Island, offers individuals the opportunity to pursue an alternative teaching certification. While most states offer this, each state will have it’s own requirements for individuals who did not pursue their undergraduate in education. Below are the common requirements that must be met completely or partially, depending on the state and district, in order to become a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in another field:
- College-level courses on teaching and instruction through an accredited school or program – Receiving your bachelor’s degree is a common requirement that many states ask of teaching candidates. You can receive your degree in education, or you can learn about teaching an instruction through an alternative teacher certification program.
- A specific number of hours gaining practical experience in a classroom setting – the best way to gain experience is by doing it firsthand. Many programs require in-person teaching prior to receiving a certification.
- Mentorship with an experienced teacher or another professional in the field – Having someone to learn from and to ask questions is crucial in any occupation.
- Testing to prove competence and mastery of the subjects they plan to teach – Regardless of the state, you will be required to complete certain tests that show your ability to understand the subjects that you are hoping to teach.
- Screening processes such as background checks – Just like other jobs, you will be required to have a background check prior to employment. You will likely be asked questions about prior employment, if applicable, and criminal record.
Keep in mind that becoming a teacher in a high-needs school can have great benefits. Many states offer financial aid and load forgiveness as incentives for teachers.
Skills to Become a Teacher
While your path to becoming a teacher may look different than others, you will all need to possess certain skills to become a teacher. You must find a balance between being firm and supportive, as you will be taking the role of a leader in the classroom. Below are some of the required skills to become a teacher:
- Enthusiasm – Showing your students that you’re excited about the subject you are teaching will encourage them to be active and engage participants in the classroom.
- Patience – Having patience will be especially helpful when teaching younger students. It will help foster a safe environment for students to learn in.
- Organization – Being organized is key to delivering lesson plans and staying efficient in the classroom.
- Communication – Having good communication skills is important when teaching students something new. Being able to communicate in different ways is useful, especially if students are unable to grasp certain concepts.
- Empathy – Students will have other things come up outside of the classroom that may affect their performance inside of the classroom. Have empathy for them, and show them you care about their wellbeing.
- Creativity – Not all students learn the same way, so using your creativity and developing different ways for students to take in certain information can be extremely helpful.
The certification and license requirements for becoming a teacher may vary depending on the state and school you are wanting to teach in. Those who want to pursue a public school career will need to obtain a state license in order to be employed as a teacher. Below are the traditional steps taken for receiving your certification or licensure to teach:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree in education – If you are pursuing teaching at a public school in the United States, it is required that you have a bachelor’s degree. Depending on the state, you may be able to receive your degree in any subject and receive your certification through an alternative certification program.
- Complete the student teaching requirement for your state – Teacher certification programs require that individuals participate in student teaching prior to working full-time as a teacher.
- Pass state exams for teachers – In order to show that you possess the necessary knowledge for teaching certain grades and subjects, you must be able to pass the required state exams.
- Apply for certification and licensure – After you complete all necessary requirements for the state you want to teach in, it’s time to apply for your certification! You will be required to submit a background check and pay a fee that can vary based on the state.
In some states, teaching license reciprocation may be offered. This means that if an individual has a license from another state, the license will be honored in the state that offers the reciprocation. When an individual is required to obtain a license for teaching, it is typically specific to a certain grade level or subject area that they are teaching. Learn more about different certification options and how you can achieve your goal of becoming a teacher today!