How to Become a Teacher with a Bachelor's Degree
Students generally have two options for becoming a teacher with a bachelor's degree: enroll in a teacher education program that is part of their bachelor's degree or enroll in an alternative teaching certification program. Alternative programs are for students who already hold a bachelor's degree but have not completed a teacher education program.
Steps to Becoming a Teacher with a Bachelor's Degree
Step 1: Get a High School Diploma or GED
Most colleges and universities require students to obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent prior to being admitted. However, all teacher education programs require applicants to hold a high school diploma or GED.
Step 2: Decide What Type of Teacher You Want to Be
Many types of teachers exist, including elementary, middle, high school and special education teachers. Teachers also work in various settings, including public, private and religious schools, as well as in the home. Before enrolling in a program, students should decide where and what they wish to teach and let the answers direct their postsecondary studies.
Step 3: Enroll in a Teacher Education Program
A student may enroll in a bachelor's program that leads to teacher licensure. The programs are generally 4-5 years long. Teachers at the elementary level tend to teach all subjects, while secondary teachers focus on one or two subjects. Students begin their teacher training in the last or fifth year of their bachelor's program.
Students take courses in teaching strategies, digital learning, social foundations, educational psychology, secondary education principles and multicultural foundations. They are also required to complete a student-teaching internship prior to seeking licensure.
Step 4: Enroll in an Alternative Certification or Licensing Program
Students who have already completed their undergraduate studies but have not completed a teacher education program can take advantage of alternative certification programs. These programs allow students with a bachelor's degree and career experience to earn a teaching license in a non-traditional way. Individuals earning an alternative teaching certification usually teach in the subject area in which they earned their degree.
Students enrolled in an alternative program generally start teaching under supervision while taking education courses. A student may obtain licensure in 1-2 years. This type of program is especially geared toward science and math teachers and individuals who are willing to teach in rural or urban schools.
Step 5: Obtain a License
All public school and special education teachers must be licensed in the United States, although licensure is generally not required for private school teachers. Public school and special education teachers are usually licensed by a state education board and are tested for competency in reading, writing and other basic skills.
Licensure areas for public school teachers include early childhood, elementary, middle, secondary, specific subject areas and special subject areas. Licensure areas for special education teachers may include behavioral disorders and learning disabilities.
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