Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student in a teacher preparation program, or a liberal arts and sciences major, if you want to become a schoolteacher there are several steps you need to take. To teach in public schools you need a license, and that means you need an accredited bachelor’s degree program in education. These programs have the required number of education and subject credits and include supervised practical teaching experience in schools.
It is important to discuss initial licensing requirements with a counselor or advisor because teacher education programs are geared to the requirements in the state where you wish to teach. If you are transferring from a community college, you need to talk to a counselor about making sure your credits transfer to a four-year education degree granting institution.
Another important step is to research salaries for teachers in different areas. This might have an impact on where you choose to start your teaching career.
Some education subject areas, no matter where you choose to teach, include the psychology of learning and methods of teaching. You will also need to gain the necessary technical and computer skills.
A master’s degree in education is required in some states, which will involve extra coursework and specialization in a particular subject. If you are already have a bachelor’s degree and wish to become a teacher, there are several programs available to assist you in obtaining a license. A graduate can take a master’s program in education that will grant a license. Or a graduate can work in schools under provisional licensure with closed supervision, while adding additional education courses. Once the training and studies are completed, full licensure is obtained. States vary from one to another, so you should do your research carefully and consult the relevant State Department of Education website.
Requirements also differ depending on whether you want to teach elementary or secondary students. The requirements remain dynamic from year to year and from state to state.
It is also a good idea to explore the world of teaching before you make a formal commitment to pursue this career. You could seek permission to observe student teachers in a classroom, visit teacher preparation courses that provide classroom experience in different areas of teaching, or observe a student teacher’s peer group discussion where classroom experience is discussed. Another avenue would be to volunteer in a classroom as a tutor. There are many student organizations for people pursuing the same career goals, and you might want to check out the ones relevant to teachers on your campus.
There is a growing need for good teachers, and you can make a big difference in the lives of many children. There are many options and steps to take to reach this goal, but it is a noble profession and one in which you can take great pride.