Many individuals entering college feel that they have a calling to teach others when they are done with their own studies. Becoming a teacher is not an easy process though and requires various levels of education depending upon the area an individual has a desire to teach in. Individuals who want to teach elementary or middle school aged students will take a different path in search of a teaching degree than those who wish to teach high school or college students. The amount of time it takes to earn a teaching degree will depend upon the level at which the student wishes to teach upon graduation.
Those pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in teaching will attend a typical four year university or college in search of their education. Students in the U.S. have two routes available to them in their undergraduate studies. Individuals can either earn an education degree or a Bachelor’s degree in the area they wish to focus on in their teaching career. Here is where an individual’s desires come into play. Those who wish to teach elementary and middle school age children will likely attain a Bachelor of Education degree with a more liberal studies approach. This degree benefits the student because they will teach their students a variety of lessons in different subjects, not just focus on one.
Individuals who wish to teach in high school however will more likely be required to have a Bachelor’s degree in a specified area of study that they wish to teach upon graduation. Those with an interest in mathematics, for example, would focus their college studies on mathematics in order to teach those principles to others.
Upon successfully earning an education degree, students have several options at their disposal. They can complete mandatory certification to become a teacher in the state in which they live or they can return to school for further education. Certification requirements will vary from state to state and individuals looking to get this last step accomplished should contact their state education department or licensing office. Certification to teach is given to individuals with a teaching degree by the state board of education or a certification advisory committee. Individuals can become certified by a state in one of the following four areas:
- Early Childhood (Nursery School to 3rd Grade)
- Elementary (1st Grade to 6th or 8th Grade)
- Special Subjects
- Special Education (Kindergarten to 12th Grade)
Some individuals will pursue a higher education than a Bachelor’s degree in their quest to become a teacher. The circumstances under which many individuals pursue this teaching degree is much different though compared to an undergraduate teaching degree. Only some states in the U.S., such as New York and Massachusetts, require teachers to hold a Master’s degree to become professionally licensed.