Before delving into what education you need to become a teacher, it’s important to understand why people become teachers in the first place. Many become teachers in order to have a large impact on the lives of many students or to have a stable job. While in many jobs you need some sort of educational background, teaching has a very clear educational path that an individual must follow. In most cases, to become a teacher, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree, obtain certification to teach, and have in-classroom experience.
Steps to Become a Teacher
There are many steps to become a teacher, and not every state will have the same steps as requirements. It’s important that when you are looking at what education is needed to become a teacher, you do your research and look at the specific location of where you are wanting to teach. Below are a few of the baseline steps that are required by most public schools in the United States.
1. Bachelor’s Degree in Education
In most states, teachers are required to have their bachelor’s degree in education. If you choose to have your bachelor’s degree in any other field, you may need to look at alternative teacher certification programs in order to obtain certification. If you opt for a bachelor’s degree in education from a college or university this will likely be a five year path for teacher education.
2. Pass state-required examinations to prove your basic competence.
Second, you must pass all state-required examinations to prove your basic competence of certain subject matter. The type of exam that you may take will vary by state. For example, you may be asked to take the ETS Praxis or the Pearson NES. Many states use some sort of nationally standardized test to measure the knowledge of teaching candidates. In most cases, if you do not pass these standardized tests on your first try, you are able to take them again until you pass.
3. Participate in student teaching
A great way to help practice being in the classroom is to participate in student teaching. This is a requirement because it helps to develop an individual’s classroom management skills. Many traditional degree programs and alternative certification programs will have this experience baked into the curriculum.
4. Take the teacher certification test according to your study and state.
Once you have completed all necessary requirements, you will need to take the teacher certification test according to your study and state. There are a variety of certifications that you can obtain, and you will take the test that corresponds to the subject that you are wanting to teach. For example, you can take a test in early childhood education, early childhood special education, elementary education, and so on.
Teaching Degree Options
There are many teaching degree options, with a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree being the most popular ones. Although it is not required to have a degree in education, you may be a more appealing candidate when you apply for a teaching job after certification. Below are the two degree options that you may consider if you are wanting to pursue a teaching career:
Obtaining a bachelor’s degree is the minimum teacher education requirement set by most public school in the United States. As such, it is the first step in becoming a certified teacher. You can receive a bachelor’s degree in education in multiple ways, such as through a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a bachelor’s degree in special education. If you are wanting to become a teacher in a specific subject, it is a great idea to have a minor in that subject. This could be for any subject from science, to history, to art. If you are considering pursuing a minor in a certain subject, it is smart to choose something that you are passionate about.
Receiving a master’s degree is typically the teacher education required for those interested in teaching high school or college students. A huge benefit of having a master’s degree in education is that you will likely receive a higher salary than someone who only receives their bachelor’s degree. In most cases, you are allowed to pursue a master’s degree while already working as a teacher, because a bachelor’s degree is the level of education that is typically required for initial certification.
How Long It Takes to Become a Teacher?
How long it takes to become a teacher depends on the teacher education path you are choosing. Typically, if you are to receive a bachelor’s degree and licensure to become a teacher, it will take you 4-5 years. However, if you are wanting to pursue a master’s degree, it will take 5-7 years to become a teacher. Because this ends up being a good amount of time dedicated to education, it’s important to really think about why you want to become a teacher. Do you want to inspire others? Are you excited about the potential to continue your education? Once you figure this out, it will be a helpful guide. Learn more about teaching certification options and find an option that best suits you and your goals.
Alternative Options of How to Become a Teacher
There are many alternative options of how to become a teacher. When they were first introduced, alternative or non-traditional teacher certifications were used to fill the gaps during teacher shortages. Over time, alternative teacher certification programs have become widely accepted in a variety of states. This alternative route is aimed at educating individuals so that they can pass the same state exams that individuals who take a more traditional route will have to take. Again, the goal is the same: becoming a qualified teacher. Each state varies in it’s path and requirements for alternative teacher certification, so it is important to do your research if this is a route you are interested in taking.
Reasons to Become a Teacher
Again, teacher education can be very time-consuming and individuals may doubt that they want to pursue it. That’s why it is so important to think of the reasons to become a teacher. One of the main motivators for individuals to become teachers is the desire to want to teach and inspire younger generations. Having a motivation like this only helps to build stronger relationships with students, in turn making a great classroom experience for everyone involved.
You may also want to think about what skills you can bring to the table if you were to become a teacher. You should be able to be patient and communicate in many ways to your student. You should be compassionate and be able to understand the experiences that a student is going through.
Teacher salaries can change based on where they are working, how much education they have, and how long they have been working in the field. However, there are many benefits aside from salary that an individual will be able to enjoy. There can sometimes be an option for international opportunities, as well as, flexibility with schedules. One of the biggest benefits is the idea of job security. With the ever-growing need for teachers and the national teacher shortage, there is lots of job security in becoming a teacher.
In conclusion, there are many benefits of becoming a teacher. These benefits, like pay, job security, and flexible hours, should be considered when looking at if becoming a teacher is right for you. Having a good reason to become a teacher will be a great motivator to have as you decide what education you need to become a teacher. As a baseline, all teachers must have a bachelor’s degree and a state-required certification in order to teach. Find out more about your certification options and become one step closer to your dream of becoming a teacher!