Teaching Degrees and Teacher Licensing in DC
How to Become a Teacher in Washington, DC
A teaching career is one of the most rewarding paths a person can take. If you have thought about teaching, then you are indeed a special person with a lifetime of intangible rewards ahead. Since teachers are entrusted with the nation’s most precious resource, its children, there are many requirements that must be met before you can have your own classroom. Don’t be worried, though. When you take the process step-by-step, you will find that it’s not that hard after all.
DC is glad to have you join the ranks of its education professionals. Keep reading to learn how to get your teaching license in DC, and start fulfilling your calling.
Traditional Route to Certification
The standard method for becoming a teacher, and receiving the residency certificate, is through a state-approved undergraduate program. DC has approved many programs for training new teachers. In these teacher-education programs, you will receive the coursework you need to succeed in the classroom, and supervised student teaching that will give you the actual experience you need to succeed. The following steps are required for successful completion of your teacher training:
- Complete all required coursework in a DC-approved teacher-training program and graduate with at least a 2.5 GPA. If you are unsure whether your college or university’s program is approved for DC licensure, ask your program chair or the academic dean. Most teacher-prep programs in DC are designed to put you on the fast track to the classroom.
- Successful completion of the Praxis Core Academic Skills Test. This test is much like the SAT or ACT. If you’re not sure of your knowledge, consider doing some test prep yourself to increase your chances of passing.
- Pass a subject-specific Praxis test – Praxis II. This test is focused on your area of expertise, so be sure to get a good night’s rest beforehand. You may also want to brush up so that you’re familiar with the Praxis II format.
The University of Virginia, for instance, offers a full education program that covers all parts of the teaching profession. You can train for any subject area covered in the K-12 years, or study educational administration, if you want to be a principal or work in a district office. They also offer specialized studies in Special Education, for those who wish to work with high-needs students.
If you start your teacher training early in college, the sky is the limit. But not everyone knows they want to teach in their undergraduate years. If you’re a career changer with some life and career experience, the District of Columbia has provided alternative routes to teacher certification so that you can have a shot at molding the hearts and minds of the District’s most precious resource—its children.
Types of Teaching Certificates
Regular I Certificate
This will be your first certificate. The Regular I certificate is good for two years and is non-renewable. You can receive this certificate while still enrolled in a teacher-prep program. Keep working hard, though, because you will surely want to get a full-time, permanent certificate and continue teaching DC students.
Regular II Certificate
This is a 4-year certificate that you can renew for as long as you want to teach. To get a regular II Certificate, you will need to complete your teacher-prep program and be an employee in good standing in a public school.
If you move to DC with a certificate from one of the 50 states, you can apply for a transitional certificate that will be good for only your first year of teaching in the District of Columbia. During your first year, all you will need to do is pass DC’s testing requirements. A Transitional Certificate is also available for those who do not yet qualify for a Regular I or II license. If that describes you, you will need to first be hired by a school and then work on completing the requirements for certification.
Teach for America in DC
One other way to get certified to teach in DC is to go through the Teach for America program (TFA). TFA supports its members as they work in low-income urban and rural settings. Anyone with a bachelor’s degree is welcome to apply, regardless of what their college major was. Their training and professional development will ensure success and a path to future teacher certification.
Teach for America can be an adventure as not everyone gets to teach in schools like these. You might not even opt to teach in DC, but in some state you’ve never visited before. Regardless, you are sure to have an eye-opening experience no matter where you start your path as a teacher.
To apply for certification, you must have all of your college transcripts. That means that if you took an extra course at a community college during summer break one year, you need a transcript for that class too. You must also have passing scores on the Praxis I and II academic skills tests.
Teaching in Our Country’s Capital
Teaching is one of the most important professions there is. Without teachers, who could even read this article? Teachers also help us develop as people and citizens. Teachers instill a love of lifelong learning, which contributes to more innovative and better communities.
To ensure that you get the most up-to-date information about becoming a teacher in DC, be sure to visit the DC Board of Education website. Standards do change, so make sure you have the most current information.
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