Teaching is one of the toughest yet most rewarding and important jobs. Every day, the future of our world relies on teachers to help raise, mold, guide, and educate the next generation. As a teacher, you get the opportunity to make an impact on hundreds or even thousands of kids throughout your career. It’s a great responsibility that can be extremely rewarding.
If you are interested in getting started in a teaching career, this guide will help you learn the steps and key information you should know about becoming a teacher.
A career in teaching can be both satisfying and challenging.
Becoming a teacher isn’t just about the predictable schedule and summer vacations; it is about having a passion for helping others and loving kids. When teachers truly invest in their career and their kids, they can make an incredible impact.
Before you put forth the time and energy for certification and the education required to find a teaching position, it is very important to be certain that you are right for the job and that the job is right for you.
To know if education is the right career path for you, assess your interests and talents through volunteering in a school, shadowing a teacher, or becoming a substitute teacher.
It requires the right personality, temperament, and mindset to be the best teacher possible.
To be a good teacher, you must enjoy being around other people and interacting with them, especially young people. Teaching is a social job that involves constant interaction with others.
Good teachers are also patient. If you lose your temper easily, a school setting may not be the right workplace for you. Teachers are flexible and good at quick decision-making. They should be able to make adjustments when things don’t go exactly as planned (because they often don’t). Teachers must be strict and able to enforce rules, but they also need to pick their battles.
Most importantly of all, teachers care. They care about their students and student success. Without this characteristic, being a teacher will become a chore. If you feel passionate about a particular content area or about learning in general and you truly care about others, you have the potential to become a great teacher.
If becoming a teacher or professor is something you’re considering, here are five steps you’ll need to take.
Get Your Bachelor's Degree
The first step to becoming a teacher in any state is earning your Bachelor’s degree. You can choose to go after a specific subject you’re interested in, like math or biology, or you can complete a Bachelor's Degree in Education.
In B.Ed, aspiring teachers are taught various teaching methods for most grade levels, from elementary through secondary school. Further, they are equipped with modern technologies impacting classrooms, such as computer systems and mobile devices for teaching.
Teacher Education / Student Teacher Program
Teacher education programs throughout the United States include a professional development/student teaching component. The National Council on Teacher Equality describes student teaching as the final clinical experience on the path to becoming a licensed teacher.
Candidates are paired with a mentor teacher and typically spend around ten weeks in the mentor teacher’s classroom. They are frequently observed and given feedback by student teaching supervisors from their college or university throughout this time.
Master’s Degree (optional)
A master’s degree is required for certain specialties, such as Administration Teachers who wish to become principals or superintendents. A master’s may also be required to teach in some high schools and middle schools.
A master’s can further your career. You will have more employment options and could qualify for higher pay.
All teachers in the U.S. public school system need a license, sometimes called certification. Some states have their licensure test. Others use the standard Praxis Exam administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). These tests measure core skills of reading, writing, mathematics, and subject-specific knowledge.
Additionally, the National Board Certification is a credential that U.S. teachers who have completed a minimum of three years of full-time classroom teaching can be pursued.