February 24, 2018

How to Become a Teacher

Would you like to have a career as a school teacher but do not know the process of how to become a teacher? We will discuss in this article the different teacher education programs that are used to earn a degree, teacher assessment requirements and other prerequisites needed to be a teacher. Read further to discover the benefits and drawbacks to being a teacher and how to become a teacher.

Steps in Becoming a Teacher

In order to be a teacher, there are several steps you must go through. These are the steps you must complete before you can be a certified school teacher:

  1. Graduate high school
  2. Earn a bachelor’s degree in education (You have the option of attending graduate school for a master’s degree in education as well)
  3. Pass the required teacher certification exam
  4. Apply for teaching credential
  5. Get hired in the school where you wish to teach

We will analyze each step and talk about all possible options and requirements for all of them.

Graduate High School

The majority of colleges and universities require an applicant to hold or be eligible for a high school diploma before they will consider them for admission. There are some universities that look for a certain grade point average in order to admit them to the school. You will need to research the schools you are interested in to determine what their prerequisites are for admission.

It is a good idea to meet with your school counselor during your junior and senior year of high school to set up college visitation days at the schools you are considering. A school counselor will also work with you to ensure you are preparing yourself for your college education and future career. College visitation allows you to get a feel for the atmosphere at the school as well as giving you the opportunity to learn more about the various degree programs they offer.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Education

Once you graduate high school, the next step is choosing a college in which to earn your bachelor’s degree in education. The first thing you will want to consider is choosing what type of education major you are interested in. Here are some examples of bachelor’s degrees in education:

  • Early childhood education
  • Middle grades education
  • Math education
  • Science education
  • Reading education
  • Art education
  • Physical education
  • Music education
  • Special needs education
  • Technology education
  • Business education

Deciding on an education major may be challenging. If you would like to learn more about a certain type of teacher, it might be a good idea to set up a shadowing experience with a teacher in that area. If you love working with younger children, you will want to focus on early childhood education or choose a special content area that encompasses all grades such as art, music or technology education. During your undergraduate education, all potential teachers are required to complete student teaching experience in their content area. This is your opportunity to try out all of your teaching techniques you have been learning about.

After you have earned a bachelor’s degree in education, you may choose to attend graduate school. Masters of education degrees can be earned in many content areas. There are quite a few states that require you to obtain a master’s degree within a given number of years after you become licensed. This leads a lot of individuals choose to attend graduate school as soon as they have earned their undergraduate degrees.  Most states also offer alternative licensure for teachers who already have a bachelor’s degree in another area. They will either earn their education degree as they teach or before they teach and will be fully licensed when they complete their degree.

Teacher Certification Exams

Once you graduate with your bachelor’s in education, you must pass the required teacher certification exams for your grade level and content area. The two main types of teaching assessments are made by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and Pearson.

Praxis Series Tests are developed by ETS and offer national standardized tests that are the same from state to state. Pearson also creates national tests, but they also produce tests that are tailored to specific state requirements.

Most states will require you to pass the Praxis II test. There are several different Praxis II exams that are administered to all grade levels and content areas. You will need to take the appropriate Praxis II test for your specific grade level or content area and obtain the passing score for the state in which you are seeking employment. Each state has its own passing score requirements.

Apply for Teaching Credentials

If you have completed your high school diploma, the required bachelor’s degree in education and passed your teacher certification exam, you are now eligible to apply for your teaching license. Be sure to check with the state department of education to obtain the necessary records, test scores and applications needed to apply for your license. Most states have an associated fee that must be sent in with the paperwork when you apply for your credentials. Double check to make sure you have all the prerequisites completed before applying for your license.

Finding a Teaching Job

The last step in becoming a teacher is to find a teaching job in the area in which you are licensed to teach. You can search for jobs by contacting the districts that you are interested in working for via their website. Most school systems have online applications and list their current openings on their website. Some prospective teachers can have a chance to interview at teacher job fairs at the college or university they attended. This last step can sometimes be the most challenging, but it is so exciting when you get hired into your very first teaching job. Complete all of these steps to set yourself up for a wonderful teaching career.



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