Learn About Teaching Careers
People say all kinds of things about becoming a teacher. Your aunt in Florida had great advice about her certification process in 1979 and your friend in Colorado knows all the tricks for acing the Praxis teaching exam. But for the most accurate, applicable information on teacher education, leave the details to us.
At All Education Schools, we offer helpful, up-to-date information to prospective teachers. From key subject-area and degree information, to interviews and teacher salaries, we've done the hard work for you. If you want to learn how to become a teacher, keep reading and start your journey today.
What are the steps to a teaching career?
If you've ever wondered if a teaching career was for you, read on to learn some tips on how to find out.
1. Research different teaching careers: Talk to teachers, volunteer in a classroom, and evaluate your strengths and experiences. To learn more about different teaching careers, choose a career guide or teaching specialty on the right.
2. Talk to teachers: Read some of our teacher interviews to get a feel for what age group and environment you'd prefer:
- Early Childhood Education Student Interview
- Early Childhood Education Principal Interview
- Elementary Education Student Interview
- Elementary Teacher Interview
- Special Education Teacher Interview
- High School History Teacher Interview
- Private School Science Teacher Interview
- K-12 Music Teacher Interview
3. Research your state's teacher certification requirements: Requirements to become a teacher vary by state. Most states have several levels of credentials for teachers and varying certifications based on the age group and subject you plan to teach.
4. Earn your bachelor's degree: A broad liberal arts undergraduate education will help prepare you to become a teacher. All states require at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, and some states require a master's degree. Learn about teaching degrees by selecting a teaching specialty in the box to the right.
5. Complete an accredited teacher education program: More and more, states are requiring certified teachers to hold master's degrees before they can become a teacher...or shortly thereafter. Across the country there are hundreds of master's degrees in teacher education, and no two are the same.
6. Pass teacher examinations: You'll need to pass either a state test or the widely used Praxis exam to become a certified teacher. Learn about the Praxis in our teaching examinations article.
How long does it take to become a teacher?
Time frame is very important when considering whether you want to become a teacher as there are several different career paths to choose from. At a minimum, you'll need to complete a 4-year bachelor's degree. In many states, you will need to also complete a one-to-two year master's degree.
All states require public school teachers to become licensed before beginning their teaching career. For more information, see our article on teacher certification. Contact your state Department of Education to find your state's requirements to become a teacher.
What are the teaching program prerequisites?
All post-baccalaureate programs require a bachelor's degree, but individual course requirements vary. Many schools require an undergraduate GPA above 3.0 and passage of a test such as the Praxis I, which tests basic math, reading and writing skills.
How do I become a teacher if I've never taught before?
All teacher education programs include a student teaching component, and all 50 states require certification candidates to have supervised in-class teaching experience. Some institutions now offer student teaching earlier in their programs to help students better understand pedagogy and classroom management from a teacher's point of view.
How many hours do teachers work?
Teachers often leave school at 3:30, which sounds like a pretty great schedule to most of us. However, a 40-hour work week is common, including class time, preparation and correction. Teachers are also responsible for parent/teacher conferences and other extra-curricular activities.
On the other hand, school teachers have more time off than just about any other worker in the U.S. They get a mid-winter break, spring break and summers off—in addition to all scheduled holidays.
All this time off provides teachers with well-deserved breaks during which they can "recharge their batteries." But some teachers use that time to teach summer classes or take other jobs to supplement their income, travel, or pursue other personal interests. Many also enroll in college courses or teacher continuing education to keep their skills sharp or advance their careers.
The amount of time off—and what you choose to do with it—is one of the truly great perks of being a teacher.
What career opportunities will I have as a teacher?
When you become a teacher, you enter a world of infinite possibilities. From subject-matter to age-group and responsibility level, there are opportunities to advance your career in a number of different ways.
Some teachers aspire to school management or leadership positions while others pursue tenure and the heftier paychecks that go with it. For ideas on working in school management, see our school administration career article, or browse the listings above to research different teaching career options.