One of the most important, and most under-appreciated, jobs available in society is that of a teacher. Many parents come to pity some teachers because they spend their entire day with kids that can be rambunctious, hard to control, and downright frustrating. But where would the world be without teachers? These often overly-patient individuals are responsible for focusing and molding young minds to prepare them for a life of education and help them become contributors to society. Teachers themselves are often highly educated individuals who have completed a rigorous training program in order to become a teacher. The final step for any teacher is earning their teaching certificate.
All 50 states in the U.S. require teachers to not only complete a degree program to prepare them for a career in education, but also require teachers to be certified by the state they plan to teach in. Every teacher must complete a teacher certification program as the last step in their education process to prove they are capable of meeting their state’s education standards.
Before any teacher can earn a teaching certificate they have to hold a degree in education or a specialized field and need to have also completed a student teaching internship. The minimum degree a teacher must hold in most states in the U.S. is a Bachelor’s degree. The specific degree a teacher holds will depend on the level they wish to teach at. Elementary school teachers are best served earning a general Bachelor of Science in Education as they will be provided an all encompassing education to match the teaching they will do in elementary schools. Those wishing to teach at the secondary levels can earn a Bachelor’s degree in the specialized area they wish to teach in, for example mathematics, biology, chemistry, or English.
The requirements for earning a teaching certificate vary from state to state. Teacher certification is first conferred upon graduates from their college or university and is used to recognize the individual as a professional in the field of education. The next step is to gain a certificate from the state, which can be done by contacting your state department of education. Each state offers teacher certification in the following areas:
- Early childhood grades (nursery school through grade three)
- Elementary grades (grades one through six or eight)
- Middle grades (grades five through eight)
- Secondary education subject area (usually grades seven through twelve)
- Special subject areas, such as reading or music