Secondary Education Teacher Requirements
Secondary education teachers work in high schools, where they teach students a particular subject area like history, English, science or mathematics. All public school teachers must possess a teaching license, which can only be obtained after the successful completion of a bachelor's degree program. Most aspiring secondary school teachers obtain a degree in the field they wish to study while concurrently taking education classes.
There are two paths to obtaining a teaching license. The first is designed for graduates who hold a degree in the field of education. The other is an alternative route intended for college graduates who want to enter the field but did not study education.
Traditional Teaching Licensure
All 50 states and the District of Columbia require public school teachers to have licenses. While each state sets its own requirements for licensure there are some common requirements. First off, teachers need to possess a bachelor's degree. For the traditional route, it must be a degree in education. Most states administer teaching examinations that graduates must pass before they are granted a license. Some only license teachers who successfully complete student teaching programs.
Alternative Teaching Licensure
Many states now offer alternative licensing programs for aspiring educators who did not graduate with a degree in education. These programs are designed to attract people qualified in diverse subject areas to the field of teaching, particularly for hard-to-fill positions in mathematics, science or information technology. Each state's alternative licensing program is unique. Some allow graduates to teach after one or two semesters of full-time study. Others let graduates start teaching immediately but require that they enroll in education courses outside of school hours.
For people who want to teach in public schools and follow the traditional path to teaching licensure, a bachelor's degree in education is a must. Many private schools require that applicants for teaching positions have an education degree even though it is not required by law.
Universities generally offer different education degrees for different grade levels. Early childhood education, elementary education, middle school education and secondary school education are common degree offerings. Students pursuing a secondary school education degree concurrently major in the area they wish to teach. For example, someone who wants to be a high school science teacher might major in biology or chemistry. Some schools also confer music education or reading education degrees. These specialized degrees usually allow graduates to obtain a license to teach students at all grade levels, including the secondary level.
Most education programs require that students successfully complete a student teaching experience prior to graduation. In some states, student teaching is a requirement for licensure. Secondary education students are typically assigned student teaching positions in the subject they hope to teach. For the first few weeks, students observe the teacher and may help run various aspects of the class. Toward the end of the semester, the students deliver their own lessons.
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council are the bodies responsible for accrediting teaching degree programs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), aspiring teachers do not need to graduate from an accredited program. However, the curriculum in accredited programs usually matches state licensure requirements, which can facilitate the licensing process.
Beyond the official education and licensure requirements, teachers also need a certain set of character traits to be successful educators. A talent for communicating with minors and detecting their emotional and educational needs is essential. At the secondary level, teachers must know how to reach and motivate adolescents. Sound organizational and administrative abilities are also important. Because each learner develops at his or her own pace, teachers also need patience.
Related to Secondary Education Teachers
- Recently Updated
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers undergraduate and graduate teacher education degree programs. These...
Fashion design teachers use both their fashion sense and communication skills in their profession. As fashion...
It's no secret that the United States' public education system is facing an educational crisis as millions of American...
Learn how to become a life sciences teacher. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements...
- Montessori Teacher: Job Description and Education Requirements
- Agriculture Teacher: Education Requirements and Career Info
- Become a Science Teacher: Education and Career Roadmap
- Top Master of Health Administration Degree Program - Jacksonville, FL
- Best School for Video Game Programming Education - Phoenix, AZ
- Top Bachelor of Communications Degree Program - Phoenix, AZ
- How University OpenCourseWare Has Changed the Education World
- Speech Teacher: Education Requirements and Career Information
- Become a Reading Teacher: Education Requirements and Career Info
- List of Free Online Business Courses and Training Programs
- Second Study Shows Charter Schools Outperforming Traditional Public Schools in New York City
- Top School for Earning a Psychology Degree - Atlanta, GA