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How to Become a Certified Teacher

How to Become a Certified Teacher. While some people have a lifelong passion for teaching, others choose to become certified teachers in order to pass on their expertise to future generations after having successful careers in other professions. When examining the path to becoming a certified teacher, one should be aware of a few procedures in any case.

The average salary for certified teachers is $47,989 a year, but with the right qualifications and experience, they can make up to $70,000. English as a foreign language (TEFL) certification can help you earn more money as a teacher.

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is projected to grow by 3%, adding 53,100 new job vacancies nationwide.

If you’re interested in starting a career in teaching, this guide will help you discover the steps and crucial information to become a certified teacher.

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Teaching for Each Age Level

The aim of instruction is to promote learning, however depending on the age of the students, different methods are used to accomplish this. By being aware of various age groups, one can select the kind of teaching position that most closely resembles their career goals.

Grade School and Kindergarten

In kindergarten and primary school, students learn the fundamentals of reading and mathematics. To encourage young students to think critically and learn more, you’ll find that many primary schools offer specific activities like art and music courses in the curriculum.

Additionally, kids develop personal skills such as study habits and interpersonal communication abilities as a result of completing their tasks and interacting with their peers. As a result, a person interested in a career in elementary education would want to support the growth of a student’s core academic and personal skills.

Secondary School

Sixth through eighth graders make up the middle school. Most educational institutions hire lecturers who are authorities in particular subjects, such as chemistry or mathematics. Because children are becoming more advanced learners, academic performance standards can now be raised for them.

Upper School

High school teachers specialize in teaching one subject, such as English or American history. Education and preparing pupils to enter the workforce or pursue higher education are their primary priorities.

Teaching high school kids how to write effective college admissions essays or score well on standardized tests may be one of their secondary responsibilities.

University Education

All teachers work during regular school hours and typically take two to three months off during the summer, following a similar pattern.

College professors’ schedules may change based on when they are conducting research and instructing students, but they may also decide to offer summer courses or take the summers off.

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How Much Do Certified Teachers Earn?

The state in which you reside and teach has a significant impact on your ability to earn a living as a teacher. The subject you teach, your level of experience, the grade you teach, and the degree you possess are other factors that affect teacher wages, regardless of whether you work in a private or public school or teach summer school.

Having a nationwide network of alumni makes it easier to land a job with a high wage. An comprehensive network offers information on several teaching positions and educational systems.

For example, after graduating from American University, you join a large network of bright students from all across the United States and more than 150 other countries.

Steps to Becoming a Certified Teacher

Step 1: Clarify your career objective

Teachers-in-training typically hear the following advice when learning how to create lesson plans, which is the first step in becoming certified teachers: When beginning, keep the end in mind. This advice is also sound for career planning. You can know the steps you must take to accomplish your goal if you have a clear knowledge of it. Consider yourself a competent instructor for a while. What kind of teaching position are you interested in?

Which subject do you want to instruct? To whom are you going to teach it? Which educational level—elementary, middle, or high school—do you want to teach at? Do you prefer to run your own classroom or serve as a substitute teacher? By providing these explanations, you can move on to the subsequent phases. Please indicate whether you want to teach several subjects or just one. Certified teacher that teach multiple subjects to one class of kids in a self-contained classroom are typically found in primary schools.

Many special education certified teachers who work with disabled pupils are also highly qualified in a variety of fields. On the other hand, single-subject instructors labor all year with a range of student populations and grade levels.

In the majority of elementary schools, these educators, who taught elective classes like art, music, physical education, computers, and libraries, are in the minority. However, in middle and high schools, single-subject instructors are the majority.

Step 2 – Check the State Teacher Requirements

Because criteria vary from state to state, you should check the Department of Education (DOE) website for the state where you want to apply for a teaching post. By doing this, the requirements can be met without going above and beyond. You might need to navigate to find the information you’re looking for.

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Step 3 – Create a career plan

When you think about everything you need to do before starting a career as a teacher, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. To stay focused and on track, create a career plan that details everything you must do to fulfill the requirements, such as obtaining a license or completing a teacher certification program.

Your state might provide materials to help you navigate the process. If you have a bachelor’s degree, are changing careers, are licensed in another state, are a high school or college student, or have a bachelor’s degree but not a master’s, the tool will advise you accordingly.

Step 4 – Earn an undergraduate degree

If you’re wondering what degree you need to be a teacher but don’t yet have a four-year degree, you’ll be happy to know that there are various possibilities open to aspirant instructors.

All states need at least a bachelor’s degree from potential instructors, but they hardly ever specify a specific topic of study. As long as you can demonstrate through testing that you are proficient in the subject you wish to teach, you do not need a degree in it.

This is especially helpful if you have a bachelor’s degree or higher in an area other than teaching and are transitioning from that job to teaching. After that, you would have to complete a teacher training program.

Choose a degree and teacher education program connected to your work to save time, and if you know what you want to teach before you start, integrate certified teacher training. One of these bachelor’s degrees is typically held by preK–12 educators:

  • Preschool instruction
  • Degree in a Particular Subject
  • Elementary Education (mainly for teachers of grades K–5)
  • Particular Education
  • While degrees in education with state approval are more likely to involve teacher preparation than degrees in specific subjects like math and history.

Step 5 – Finish a teacher preparation course

If your bachelor’s degree does not include teacher training, you must complete a state-approved certified teacher training program after earning it. These programs instruct you on the management of a classroom, delivery of lecture material, organization of lessons and units of study, and other fundamental skills.

Student teaching and the course go hand in hand. You work with a local teacher for a semester, gradually taking on some of their responsibilities. Although you are not paid to teach, a program supervisor will frequently observe you.

However, quicker training methods are becoming more common. States like California have come up with plans to shorten the teacher preparation process. Depending on where you plan to teach, you may be able to enroll in a teacher internship program.

This gives you the opportunity to work as a teacher-of-record for four terms and earn a living while finishing your education. People with prior teaching experience are advised to enroll in internship programs because they are more demanding than student teaching and require you to conduct a classroom totally on your own.

Regardless of the certified teacher training you finally choose, your program sponsor will present you with a teaching credential once you have completed the course. This certification attests to your competence as a teacher and to the successful completion of your certified teacher training.

Step 6: Complete the Required Basic Skills and Subject Work

One of the last steps is proving to the state that you are capable of teaching and possess the necessary skills and topic knowledge. There are various approaches to doing this, and they vary by state.

Basic abilities

You can take and pass a test that assesses your understanding and ability in English reading, writing, and basic math in order to meet the state’s basic skills requirement. An example of such a test is the MTTC Michigan Teacher Test. Your state should offer a range of options.

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The topic requirement may be fulfilled by taking and passing an exam, such as the CSET tests in California, or by completing a subject program that has been authorized by the state.

Therefore, if you have already finished a university degree in the field for which you will be a certified teacher, and unless you are relocating to the state from another, you won’t need to take a topic exam.

Step Seven: Obtain Your Credential

Don’t forget to look up the material on certified teacher certification in your state since there might be further criteria.

  • For instance, California may demand a Reading Instruction Competence Assessment if you still need to finish a teacher preparation program that includes student teaching.
  • In California, aspiring teachers are now required to complete a course or pass a test on the US Constitution.
  • After completing all requirements, you must apply for the certificate.

Along with your application, the following must be sent:

  • Exam score records, official transcripts, and any supporting documentation
    application fee
  • Confirmation of your fingerprinting
  • You may track the status of your application online through the state’s credentialing commission, even though it might take a few weeks to process.

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Certified Teacher?

The typical time required to become a certified teacher is between four and five years. The time required to become certified teacher to teach at the elementary, middle, or high school levels is depicted in this timeline.

Depending on the level and nature of the employment they seek, teachers should be ready for additional years of study if they plan to get an advanced degree, such as a MAT or a Ph.D. in education. A doctoral degree takes longer to complete than a master’s degree, which can be completed in as little as three years.

The length of time it takes a candidate to complete their dissertation or research project, which they must defend in front of a committee, can also have an impact on how long it takes them to earn a doctorate in education.

Selecting a Program for a Teaching Degree

Before beginning the process to become a certified teacher, you should take into account a number of things when selecting a program.

It is crucial to first confirm whether a program is recognized because accreditation demonstrates that a college or university can provide students with adequate training for their chosen field. If you obtain a degree from a non-accredited university, your career can suffer.

The program’s curriculum should also be taken into consideration. While all programs will cover the principles of teaching, some may also offer in-depth courses that are specifically geared toward a teaching speciality that is relevant to your interests.

Other things to think about when looking for a teaching degree are preference or choice. Examples include price, class size, flexibility, and online vs. in-person training.

FAQs on How to Become a Certified Teacher 

Is it Possible to Work as a Teacher Without a Degree?

If you have a degree and a state license, you can work as a teacher. A license in the state where they plan to work is required for those who want to become teachers. The processes for becoming a teacher are generally the same throughout all states.

Can Someone With a Psychology Degree Work as a Teacher?

With a psychology degree, you can become a teacher, but you'll need a state license. A license in the state where they plan to work is required for those who want to become teachers. The processes for becoming a teacher are generally the same throughout all states.

Can an Associate’s Degree Holder Work as a Teacher?

No, you are not eligible to teach with just an associate's degree. To be a teacher, you must at least have a bachelor's degree in education or a closely related field. Even though it's unusual, some private institutions might recruit teachers with just an associate's degree.

How to Get Experience Teaching Without a Teaching Degree

You must finish an alternative teacher preparation program in order to work as a teacher without having a teaching degree. The state's board of education must approve these courses, which typically lead to a post-graduate certificate or a master's degree plus licensing.

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