Become a Teacher

What are advantages of a career as a teacher?

The profession of teaching offers numerous advantages for those interested in working with children, the education system, and making a difference. Some advantages of pursuing a career as a teacher include:

  • Helping others: Teachers influence the world around them in a significant way, by developing their students’ sense of the world, their moral values, and their comfort with trying new things and becoming lifelong learners.
  • Acting as a role model: Teachers influence children and their families by showing excellent moral grounding. Students know that if they need someone to talk to, their teacher will listen and give advice.
  • Time with family: Traditionally, teachers have had time off during summer and holiday breaks to spend with their families.
  • Stability of the education field: The profession of teaching is known for stability in both job opportunities as well as longevity of positions within the field.

Do I need a degree to become a teacher?

Most states and Puerto Rico require a teacher to have a Bachelor degree in a subject they are interested in teaching in order to enter a state-approved teacher preparation program. Bachelor degrees can be earned in a traditional 4-year degree program, or through an alternate, online degree program, which are rapidly gaining in popularity. Aspiring elementary school teachers can major in Education or a field they find particularly interesting. They can also minor in Education. Middle and high school teachers should major in the subject area they wish to teach; they must be endorsed in their field, which requires the equivalent of a Bachelor degree in the subject area.

Do I need a teaching certificate to be a teacher?

Although alternatives exist, states do require a teaching certificate to become a teacher. Some states and districts offer alternative routes to becoming a teacher, including Troops to Teachers and Teach for America. These programs allow individuals who hold a Bachelor degree and who are interesting in becoming a teacher to work in a classroom, with mentoring and supervision.

What does a teacher preparation program involve?

While each teacher preparation program is different per individual state requirements, most have common features that give students the theory and practical skills to be successful in the classroom. These include:

  • Foundations of Teaching: A theoretical class using case studies and updated research, this course is essential to every teaching program.
  • Subject-Specific Teacher Training: Most teacher preparation programs have specific courses to meet the needs of a district, including classes on math, reading, writing and English language learning.
  • Lesson Planning: Essential for every new teacher, a course on lesson planning gives strong skills in helping each child meet state standards according to their individual learning needs, as well as keeping a classroom challenged and working as a unit.
  • Classroom Observations: Aspiring teachers have time to observe teachers in a variety of classrooms and learning environments.
  • Student Teaching: An invaluable portion of any teacher preparation program, the student teaching experience provides real-life, hands-on work managing a classroom, planning lessons and testing student achievement.

How to Become a Teacher by State