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What It Takes to Teach: Basic Requirements to Become a Teacher

Basic Requirements to Become a Teacher
What are the requirements for becoming a teacher? A good teacher that too. Find out as you read on.
CareerStint Staff
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2018
When I think about the requirements to become a teacher, they remind me of the truth that a degree in education is not all it takes to be a teacher. There's more. Educational requirements to become a teacher, no doubt, have to be met but one requires to have a great amount of patience, a sense of responsibility, some amount of creativity and that special knack to teach.
A bachelor's degree in the field of teaching or a certification in education is the basic educational requirement for becoming a teacher. Different states of the United States follow different methods of certification. The eligibility criteria for becoming a teacher differ across the different states of America. Most of the states require advanced training of some kind in order to become a teacher. Most jobs in colleges are held by teachers possessing a master's degree in their subject coupled with some years of experience in the field. As far as the educational qualification of a teacher is concerned, it should be a bachelor's degree in the subject he/she would teach and more importantly, deep knowledge of the subject.
A Quick Look at the Requirements for Becoming a Teacher
  • You should have a 4-year bachelor's degree from an accredited university or college.
  • In many states, you are required to hold a master's degree before you become a teacher or earn your master's shortly after you begin teaching. There are several one or two-year post-baccalaureate programs which you can opt for.
  • You are required to get through a state test to become a certified teacher or pass the well-known Praxis test that is widely used. It is a series of American teacher certification exams conducted by the Educational Testing Service.
  • The student teaching component is always a part of training programs for becoming a teacher. It is precisely an internship which gives you hands-on experience in teaching and managing students.
  • The requirements to become a teacher vary from state to state. So check the credentials for teachers in your state before going for obtaining them.
The Basic Requirements to...
...Become a Preschool Teacher
Preschool teacher
To teach preschool students, you require to take a 2-year degree program in early childhood development, or pedagogy.
...Become a Grade School Teacher
Grade school teacher
To be able to teach at the grade school level, you need to major in education and minor in another subject, possibly one you wish to teach.
...Become a High School Teacher
High School teacher
To teach in high school, you need a major in the subject you aspire to teach. Courses in education can help.
Teacher Certification Programs
Most states require you to hold a teaching license to be able to teach. You may not require a state license to be a private school teacher. But to be eligible to teach in a public school, you need to possess a license and this applies to all states in America and the District of Columbia. The regulations vary from one state to another. But generally, you are required to take an exam that tests your basic reading and writing skills and your proficiency in the subject you would teach. The Department of Education in your state is the most reliable source of information about your state's requirements for becoming a teacher.

Certifications work as credentials that qualify you to teach a particular subject or for a particular grade. For example, there is an early childhood teacher certification which makes you eligible to teach students in kindergarten through grade 3, an elementary school certification with which you can be an elementary school teacher and similar such certifications with which you qualify to teach at different levels. Also, there are certifications for various subjects you specialize in. Teacher certification programs involve coursework and teaching experience whereby you qualify to apply for a license. These programs help especially when you have a non-education degree but wish to enter the teaching field later in your career. Read more on this in steps to becoming a teacher.
Obtaining Teaching Degrees Online
A relatively easy way of earning a teaching degree is to obtain it online. Thereby you can continue working while also studying, you don't need to attend college or move to a different place for education. Universities like the George Washington University or the Western Governors University (WGU) offer teaching degrees online. To give you a few more examples, The University of Phoenix offers Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, the Grand Canyon University offers a Master's of Education in Elementary Education and the Jones International University offers an M.Ed. in Elementary Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. Find information on online courses offered by the universities in your state, by referring to their official websites.
What it Takes to be a Teacher
The duties of a teacher vary according to the grade of the students being taught. The elementary, secondary and middle school students need to be trained in the basic skills such as language, math and elementary sciences. During the initial years of education, a teacher should essentially develop good study habits in kids, help them grasp new concepts and encourage them to learn by making the process of learning as enjoyable and simple as possible. At their early age, kids tend to follow their teachers in every way. So it becomes the responsibility of a teacher to set ideals before the children and inculcate good values in them. It is the teachers' responsibility to keep the students' morale high and keep them motivated to learn. That reminds me of a teacher we had in school. She used to address the students' concerns about studies or otherwise and counsel the students when needed. She was always there for us ensuring that we had a good time in school.

The teachers working in degree course colleges and post-secondary schools need to focus on specific skills. Generally, students at this level take specialized education in subjects of their interest. This education involves developing expertise pertaining to that subject, as opposed to that for acquiring basic skills, given during school. Apart from equipping students with the skills needed, a teacher also needs to understand that he/she is teaching adolescents; youngsters on the verge of stepping into adulthood, who have many questions to find answers for and several challenges to face head on. At this age, they are all eager to explore the 'new' and this is something their teachers need to understand. Teachers can play an instrumental role during the post-secondary years of children's education, by being their friend-philosopher-guides.
I was blessed to have teachers like these. Teachers who didn't just lecture; they mentored. Some very good teachers, that I was lucky to have, from them I knew what it takes to be a good teacher. Those school teachers who made us feel at-home in school, the ones at the university who helped us build our career, those who always stood by us, punished us when we were wrong, made us strong... I remember all of them, teachers who had a great role to play in making me who I am. Teachers walk you through your educative years and prepare you to start a meaningful life. Do you think you have all it takes to be a teacher? Do you meet the requirements to become a teacher? Think.
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