What Degree Do You Need To Be A Teacher?

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Becoming a teacher can be a life-changing career decision, and there are several things to consider when making this move. Most people recognize instantly that there are many different types of teaching positions available. These jobs will naturally require different levels of training. For example, a college professor will need a lot more education and credentials than a K-12 or elementary school teacher. In addition, each field has standards that must be met to qualify within that specific profession. University math teachers will often have to pass a more rigorous set of exams than kindergarten general education teachers, for example.

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Planning a Teaching Career

Figure out the area of focus before deciding on a career path that will get you to that destination. Good planning is the key to knowing what kind of education you need to be a teacher. To do that, you should become familiar with the types of teaching positions that might be available to individuals with a certain level of education. For example, there are certain teaching positions that are available only to college graduates with a master’s degree. Many teaching positions will be available to any applicant with a bachelor’s degree. Additional levels of education are often required in order to gain access to the exclusive teaching jobs with better pay, benefits and even tenure.

Selecting a career path can take a lot of time, and many teachers will change their career orientation more than once. Unless you already know the exact kind of teaching job you want to obtain, you might need to start with some general credentials before focusing on the kind of degree that will land you that dream job. For example, if you know that you don’t want to teach at the college level, you probably don’t need to plan for a master’s degree. Getting a bachelor’s degree in any field is often the basis for landing a teaching job later. Once you earn the bachelor’s degree, you can focus on additional credentials that will allow you to obtain a specific type of teaching job. For example, if you know that you want to teach English at a non-university level, a bachelor’s degree will keep you moving in that direction. Later in your career, you might decide to pursue a specific educational certification that will allow you to teach English as a foreign language.

Educational Paths, Teaching Job Examples

All states within the United States will require a bachelor’s degree for any teaching applicant wishing to work as an elementary school teacher. This is the minimal level of training necessary, but additional education or certification might be required for elementary school teachers who plan on teaching special education classes. Additional training courses can usually be added after the initial bachelor’s degree is completed, and this is a viable strategy that will allow you to enter the field. However, you need to be aware of any license requirements imposed by the state. During your training period, you will have to meet these requirements before you can land that job. Teacher license reciprocity allows teachers to work in other states that might have different credentialing procedures.

A bachelor’s degree is also necessary for teachers planning to work in a middle school or high school setting. Many of these institutions will require the teacher to eventually earn a master’s degree at some point in time. Additional education might also be required for teaching in specialized areas. Sometimes, a minor in the specific area of study will suffice. In some states, job candidates can qualify for a job in education even if their area of study is not directly related to education or pedagogy. This might include teachers working in fields teaching history, psychology or science. However, most job candidates who obtain a degree in a teaching field will find that they have additional leverage over other candidates.

Teaching degrees are always beneficial for any candidate wishing to engage in this kind of work. It can supplement the resume and provide an additional level of assurance to the employer. A master’s or doctorate degree is usually necessary in order to teach at the college or university level; however, there are also some exceptions. For example, if a job candidate has a master’s degree in a field where a doctorate degree is not available, the master’s is the highest level of education possible in that particular field. In this case, the candidate would qualify to teach courses that would otherwise only be available to teachers who earned a doctorate in their field.

Specific Teaching Credentials

Teaching credentials prove that you know the subject, but special training in pedagogic methods will demonstrate that you are capable of managing a classroom environment. Certain fields may require continuing education after you land the job, and that’s also something you need to plan to accomplish. Some fields require only a degree in education or completion of a program in the relevant area. For example, art teachers can complete all the requirements for teaching by obtaining a bachelor’s in a program that trains them to teach in an educational environment. Additional coursework that is related to the subject itself is often seen as a bonus but not necessarily as a requirement. Many other fields will require the teacher to have a degree in the subject itself, so the teacher must plan carefully well in advance.

If you understand the job requirements before selecting the career path, this knowledge will help you to avoid unpleasant surprises. Always check the licensing requirements from the state where you plan to land the teaching job. Each state will provide a checklist of items that must be accomplished in order to qualify for a professional teaching license. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, or CAEP, is one example of an organization that can be contacted in order to plan a specific teaching career. This is a valuable resource when researching the kind of education necessary to teach in the desired position. Other accreditation organizations also exist in other fields, and it is always helpful to refer to their requirements before signing up for classes or pursuing financing for the degree.

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