Many would consider teaching to be among the noblest of professions in the world. After all, it takes a lot of patience to deal with children, and even more when those children are not your own. Teaching can be considered one of the most versatile career fields in today’s society with positions ranging from kindergarten and first grade to graduate school professors at institutions ranging from small private schools, to large publicly funded universities. While degrees range from Bachelor’s degrees to more sophisticated Doctorate programs, it is an undergraduate education that is vital for any potential teacher to earn because it is the minimum standard of education in the career field.
Every state in the U.S. requires individuals with a desire to teach to have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. Although some states do require their teachers to have a Master’s degree, a Bachelor’s degree is all that is needed in all states to get started with a job in the education field. Before embarking on the path to becoming teacher individuals should be sure they are willing to devote the time and patience required to deal with children in the classroom.
The next important step is to choose a good education program at an accredited university or college. A good way to begin searching for an appropriate program is to find out the education and certification requirements for the state you live in and compare those to the coursework and degrees offered by local institutions of higher learning. Beyond holding a Bachelor’s degree, the requirements for certification and education among potential teachers can vary from state to state.
Before enrolling at any institution, another important step will be to make sure they offer undergrad programs in teaching that match your career goals. Just because a school has a highly regarded education school or department does not mean that the courses it provides will work for every individual. Among the areas of focus that potential teachers can go into are the following:
- Early Childhood Education
- Special Education
- Adult Education
- School Psychologist
- Speech Therapist
Individuals interested in becoming a teacher have a wide range of undergrad programs to choose from that offer various degrees. The type of degree an individual pursues will depend largely upon the institution and level at which they want to teach. Teachers who have a desire to teach elementary and middle school age children will need to have a wide base of knowledge and can therefore pursue a broader degree. The most common degree for individuals in this field is a Bachelor of Education. Those interested in teaching the high school level or in specialized situations do not necessarily need to earn a Bachelor of Education degree. These potential teachers can earn a Bachelor’s degree with a focus in mathematics, social studies, or physical education if they wish to teach math classes, social science courses, or gym classes, respectively.
Attending an accredited undergrad program is a very important step in the process of becoming a teacher. Many states have lists available to provide students with an idea of which programs they consider accredited and those that don’t. Attending an approved undergrad program can mean the difference between becoming a teacher and missing out.
The education programs at varying colleges are renowned for their different approaches to educating potential teachers. For example, Michigan State University works closely with local school districts to develop curriculum with input from parents and teachers. The University of Minnesota on the other hand is well known for multiculturalism and diversity in their approach to education. Their College of Education and Human Development focuses on constantly enhancing teaching methods.