How to Become a Teacher

How to Become a Teacher (Guide)

Becoming a teacher is a rewarding career choice that requires certain qualifications and steps to follow. If you’re considering a career in teaching, this article will guide you through the process of becoming a teacher in the United States. From choosing a teaching subject to obtaining the necessary education and certification, we’ll provide all the information you need to embark on your journey as an educator.

Key Takeaways:

  • Teaching is a fulfilling and important profession that requires dedication and a passion for education.
  • To become a teacher in the United States, you need to meet specific qualifications and follow a step-by-step process.
  • Consider your interests, personality, and professional goals before deciding to become a teacher.
  • Choose a teaching subject that aligns with your interests and research the certification requirements for that subject.
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and complete a state-approved student teaching experience program.

Deciding to Become a Teacher

Before embarking on the journey to becoming a teacher, it’s important to carefully consider if this profession aligns with your interests, personality, and professional goals. Teaching requires a unique set of qualifications and qualities that contribute to a successful and fulfilling career. To help you make an informed decision, here are some key factors to reflect on when deciding to become a teacher.

Passion for Education and Helping Others

One of the most crucial aspects of being a teacher is having a genuine passion for education and a desire to make a positive impact on the lives of students. Teaching involves not only imparting knowledge but also fostering growth, inspiring curiosity, and nurturing future generations. Consider if you enjoy working with children or young adults and have a genuine interest in their development.

Patience and Adaptability

Teaching can be challenging at times, requiring patience and adaptability. Students have diverse learning styles and abilities, and it’s essential to be able to adapt your teaching methods to meet their individual needs. Furthermore, patience is necessary when facing obstacles and setbacks, as building a supportive and engaging learning environment takes time and effort.

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” – Mark Van Doren

Commitment to Lifelong Learning

Teaching is a profession that necessitates continuous learning and professional development. Educational practices and curriculum standards evolve over time, and teachers must stay updated with the latest research and teaching methodologies. Reflect on your commitment to ongoing learning and growth as you consider becoming a teacher.

Qualifications Teaching Profession
Strong Communication Skills Teachers must effectively communicate with students, colleagues, and parents to ensure a productive learning environment.
Leadership Abilities Teachers often take on leadership roles within their classrooms and schools, guiding and inspiring students and colleagues.
Organizational Skills Teachers must be well-organized to effectively plan lessons, manage classroom activities, and maintain records.
Empathy and Emotional Intelligence Being able to understand and empathize with students’ emotions and experiences is crucial for creating a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

By carefully considering these factors and evaluating your qualifications, personality, and goals, you can make an informed decision about whether the teaching profession is right for you. Remember, becoming a teacher is not just a career choice – it’s a commitment to shaping the minds and futures of the next generation.

Choosing a Teaching Subject

Once you’ve made the decision to become a teacher, the next step is choosing a teaching subject. It’s important to select a subject that you are passionate about and have a strong knowledge base in. Different teaching subjects have specific requirements, so it’s crucial to do your research and understand the certification process for the subject you’re interested in.

Start by exploring your own interests and strengths. Consider which subjects you excel in and enjoy teaching others about. Reflect on any experiences or skills that could contribute to your teaching subject. For example, if you have a background in science or a strong mathematical aptitude, you might consider becoming a science or math teacher.

Research the certification requirements for the teaching subject you’re interested in. Each state has its own set of guidelines and prerequisites for different subjects. Look into the specific coursework, exams, and experience required to obtain certification in your chosen subject. Utilize online resources, educational websites, and guidance from educators to gather all the necessary information for making an informed decision.

Table: Examples of Teaching Subjects and Certification Requirements

Teaching Subject Certification Requirements
English Language Arts Bachelor’s degree in English or related field, completion of English education courses, passing scores on subject-specific exams
History/Social Studies Bachelor’s degree in history or social studies, completion of history/social studies education courses, passing scores on subject-specific exams
Mathematics Bachelor’s degree in mathematics or related field, completion of mathematics education courses, passing scores on subject-specific exams
Science Bachelor’s degree in science or related field, completion of science education courses, passing scores on subject-specific exams

By carefully considering your own interests, researching the certification requirements, and seeking guidance from professionals in the field, you can confidently choose a teaching subject that aligns with your passions and qualifications. Remember, teaching is a rewarding profession that allows you to make a positive impact on the lives of students, so choose a subject that excites you and fuels your desire to inspire future generations.

Education Requirements for Teachers

To become a teacher in the United States, there are specific education requirements that you must fulfill. The first step is to obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. This degree can be in the subject you want to teach or a related field. It is important to note that some states may also require teachers to have a master’s degree for advanced teaching positions. So, when considering your education path, make sure to research the specific requirements of the state where you plan to teach.

State-Approved Student Teaching Experience

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, completing a state-approved student teaching experience program is necessary to gain practical teaching skills. This program allows aspiring teachers to work under the guidance of experienced educators, putting their knowledge into practice in real classroom settings. The duration of the program may vary by state, but it typically involves a semester or more of supervised teaching. During this time, you will have the opportunity to develop your teaching techniques, create lesson plans, and interact with students.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

Once you have completed the initial education requirements and gained your teaching certification, it is important to continue your professional development. As a teacher, you will be required to participate in ongoing training and workshops to stay up-to-date with the latest teaching methods and educational practices. This will help you enhance your teaching skills and ensure that you provide the best possible education to your students. Professional development opportunities can include attending conferences, joining educational associations, and taking additional courses or workshops.

Education Requirements for Teachers Summary
Bachelor’s Degree Obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the subject you want to teach or a related field.
State-Approved Student Teaching Experience Complete a state-approved student teaching experience program to gain practical teaching skills.
Continuing Education and Professional Development Participate in ongoing training and workshops to enhance teaching skills and stay updated with educational practices.

Teacher Certification Exams

Once you have completed the education requirements, you will need to pass the required teacher certification exams. These exams are designed to assess your knowledge and skills in relevant areas of teaching. In the United States, each state has its own specific certification exams that aspiring teachers must take. The purpose of these exams is to ensure that teachers have the necessary expertise to effectively educate students.

An example of a standardized test administered by the state of Florida is the Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE). The FTCE consists of a General Knowledge Test and a Subject Area Exam. The General Knowledge Test evaluates your proficiency in core subject areas such as mathematics, reading, and writing. The Subject Area Exam focuses on assessing your knowledge in the specific subject you wish to teach. It is important to familiarize yourself with the format and content of the exams to adequately prepare.

To pass these exams, it is crucial to study and review relevant material. There are various resources available, such as study guides, practice tests, and online courses, that can help you prepare for the certification exams. Additionally, consider seeking support from fellow aspiring teachers or joining study groups to enhance your preparation process. Remember to check the specific requirements and exam deadlines set by your state’s Department of Education.

Teacher Certification Exam Requirements

The requirements for teacher certification exams may vary by state and subject area. It is important to research and understand the specific requirements set by your state’s Department of Education. Some states may have additional exams or assessments that need to be completed in addition to the general certification exams. It is advisable to reach out to your college or university’s education department or the state’s Department of Education for guidance.

State Certification Exam Additional Requirements
Florida Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE) General Knowledge Test, Subject Area Exam
Texas Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) Content Area Exam, Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities Exam
California California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) Subject Matter Competence Exam

As you prepare for your teacher certification exams, remember to stay organized, manage your time effectively, and practice good study habits. These exams are an important step in the process of becoming a licensed teacher and will contribute to your overall qualifications as an educator.

Applying for Teaching Certification

Once you’ve met all the education and exam requirements, it’s time to take the next step towards becoming a certified teacher. Applying for a teaching certification is an important process that involves submitting the necessary documents and meeting specific criteria set by the state’s Department of Education. Here’s a breakdown of the steps involved in applying for a teaching certification:

Gather Required Documentation

Before starting the application process, make sure you have all the required documents ready. This typically includes official transcripts from your college or university, which provide proof of your completed degree. You’ll also need to submit your passing scores from the required certification exams. It’s crucial to double-check the specific documents needed by your state’s Department of Education.

Submit Your Application

Once you have all the necessary documentation, you can proceed to submit your application for a teaching certificate. The application can usually be completed online through the state’s Department of Education website. Fill out the application form accurately, providing all the requested information. You may also need to pay an application fee, so be prepared to include the required payment.

Wait for Review and Approval

After submitting your application, it will undergo a review process by the state’s Department of Education. This review ensures that you have met all the requirements for teaching certification. The approval process can take some time, so it’s important to be patient. Once your application is reviewed and approved, you’ll receive your teaching certificate indicating your subject area and grade level certification.

Document Notes
Official Transcripts Proof of completed degree
Passing Scores From required certification exams
Application Form Fill out accurately
Application Fee Payment may be required

Applying for a teaching certification is the final step in becoming a certified teacher. It’s essential to ensure that you have met all the requirements and have the necessary documentation ready before submitting your application. Once approved, your teaching certificate will open doors to various job opportunities in the field of education.

Job Search and Employment Opportunities

Now that you have obtained your teaching certificate, it’s time to embark on your job search and explore various employment opportunities in the teaching profession. With the right strategies and resources, you can find the perfect teaching job that aligns with your interests and goals.

A great starting point for your job search is to visit school district websites in your desired location. Many school districts post open teaching positions on their websites, allowing you to directly apply for these opportunities. Additionally, online job search platforms dedicated to education jobs can also provide a wealth of opportunities to explore.

If you are looking to gain experience and build relationships within the education community, consider substitute teaching. Substitute teaching allows you to fill in for absent teachers and gain valuable classroom experience. It can also serve as a way to showcase your teaching skills and potentially lead to a full-time teaching position.

Networking and Professional Development Opportunities

Networking is an essential aspect of finding teaching jobs. Attend job fairs and education conferences in your area to connect with school administrators and other educators. These events provide a platform to showcase your qualifications and make valuable connections.

Joining professional organizations related to your teaching subject or grade level can also open doors to job opportunities. These organizations often have resources and networking opportunities specifically tailored to educators. Additionally, reach out to experienced educators for advice and mentorship opportunities. Their insights can be invaluable as you navigate the job search process.

Final Thoughts

Securing a teaching job is an exciting step in your journey as an educator. Remember to tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your qualifications and experiences relevant to the specific teaching position you are applying for. Stay proactive in your job search, follow up on applications, and be prepared for interviews to increase your chances of success.

Different Types of Teaching Certificates

When pursuing a career in teaching, it’s important to understand the different types of teaching certificates available. These certificates determine the eligibility and opportunities for teachers in various educational settings. Let’s explore the two main types of teaching certificates: Temporary Certificates and Professional Certificates.

Temporary Certificates

Temporary Certificates are nonrenewable certificates that allow teachers to teach while completing the requirements for a Professional Certificate. These certificates are typically issued to individuals who have met the basic qualifications for teaching but haven’t fulfilled all the necessary requirements for a Professional Certificate. Temporary Certificates are an excellent starting point for individuals who are new to the teaching profession or are transitioning from another career.

Professional Certificates

Professional Certificates are renewable and provide advanced teaching opportunities. These certificates are awarded to teachers who have completed all the requirements, including education, certification exams, and practical teaching experience. With a Professional Certificate, teachers can explore various teaching positions, pursue leadership roles, and even teach at higher education institutions. Professional Certificates demonstrate a higher level of expertise and commitment to the teaching profession.

It’s important to note that each state may have its own specific requirements and criteria for obtaining both Temporary Certificates and Professional Certificates. Teachers should consult their state’s Department of Education for detailed information on the certification process.

Temporary Certificates Professional Certificates
Nonrenewable Renewable
Can teach while completing requirements for a Professional Certificate Provide advanced teaching opportunities
Issued to individuals who have met basic qualifications but haven’t fulfilled all requirements Awarded to teachers who have completed all requirements
Starting point for newcomers or career changers Path to leadership roles and higher education teaching

Different Paths to Becoming a Teacher

When it comes to pursuing a career in education, there are multiple paths you can take to become a teacher. The traditional undergraduate program is a popular choice for students who prefer a classroom setting and want to earn their degree in education. This path allows you to immerse yourself in the study of teaching methods, child development, and subject-specific coursework.

Alternatively, if you have a non-education bachelor’s degree or you’re considering a career change, an alternative certification program may be the right fit for you. These programs are designed to provide individuals with the necessary training and coursework to become a certified teacher. They often offer flexible scheduling options to accommodate working professionals and can be completed in a shorter time frame compared to traditional programs.

For those seeking flexibility and convenience, online teaching programs offer a convenient way to earn your teaching credentials. These programs allow you to complete coursework and assignments online, providing the flexibility to balance your education with other commitments. Online teaching programs often incorporate virtual classroom experiences to ensure you gain practical teaching skills.

Comparison of Different Paths to Becoming a Teacher

Path Key Features
Traditional Undergraduate Program – Classroom-based learning
– Comprehensive education coursework
– Subject-specific training
– Longer time frame for completion
Alternative Certification Program – Flexible scheduling options
– Designed for career changers
– Non-education bachelor’s degree accepted
– Shorter time frame for completion
Online Teaching Program – Convenient and flexible
– Virtual classroom experiences
– Balancing education with other commitments
– Practical teaching skills

Each path to becoming a teacher has its own advantages and considerations. It’s important to carefully evaluate your personal circumstances, learning preferences, and goals before deciding which path is right for you. Consider speaking with educators, researching program requirements, and exploring the resources available to help you make an informed decision about your journey to becoming an educator.

Financing Your Education

Pursuing a career in teaching involves financial considerations. Tuition fees and other costs of obtaining an education degree can be significant. However, there are several options available to help ease the financial burden, such as scholarships, grants, and student loans. Research and explore funding opportunities specific to education programs to find the best option for you.

When it comes to financing your education, scholarships can be a great option. Many organizations offer scholarships specifically for aspiring teachers. These scholarships can cover a portion or even the full cost of your education. Research local scholarships in your area, as well as national scholarships offered by educational organizations and foundations. Pay attention to the eligibility criteria and application deadlines to maximize your chances of securing a scholarship.

In addition to scholarships, grants are another funding option for teachers. Grants are typically awarded based on financial need or specific criteria set by the granting organization. Explore federal and state grants that are available for education students. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an essential step in applying for grants and other financial aid opportunities. Make sure to complete the FAFSA accurately and on time to be considered for a variety of grants.

If scholarships and grants are not sufficient to cover your education expenses, student loans can help bridge the gap. However, it’s important to approach student loans responsibly. Before taking out a loan, carefully consider the terms and repayment options. Look for loans with low interest rates and flexible repayment plans that align with your financial situation. Remember to borrow only what you need and keep track of your loan balance to avoid excessive debt.

Table: Funding Options for Teachers

Funding Option Description
Scholarships Financial awards that do not need to be repaid, given based on merit, financial need, or specific criteria.
Grants Financial assistance provided by federal or state governments, organizations, or institutions, typically based on financial need or specific criteria.
Student Loans Financial aid that must be repaid with interest. Available from federal or private lenders.

Remember, financing your education is an important step towards achieving your goal of becoming a teacher. Take the time to research and explore all available funding options. Consider reaching out to educational institutions, financial aid offices, and professional organizations for additional guidance and support. With careful planning and the right financial resources, you can make your dream of becoming a teacher a reality.


Embarking on a teaching career is a fulfilling and rewarding journey that requires dedication, qualifications, and a genuine passion for education. By following the necessary steps and obtaining the required certifications, you can become a teacher and make a positive impact on the lives of your students.

Remember to stay informed about the specific requirements of your state and continue to pursue professional development opportunities to excel in your teaching career. Teaching is a lifelong learning process, and staying up-to-date with the latest teaching methods and strategies will enhance your effectiveness as an educator.

As you begin your teaching career, embrace the challenges and opportunities that come your way. Each day provides a chance to inspire and shape the minds of future generations. Your dedication to fostering a love for learning and creating a positive classroom environment will contribute to the success of your students.

Whether you choose a traditional undergraduate program, an alternative certification program, or an online teaching program, remember that becoming a teacher is a calling. Your commitment to the teaching profession will make a difference in the lives of countless students and leave a lasting impact on the field of education.


What are the qualifications to become a teacher?

To become a teacher, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and complete a state-approved student teaching experience program.

Do I need a specific degree to become a teacher?

You can have a bachelor’s degree in the subject you want to teach or a related field.

What exams do I need to pass to become a certified teacher?

Each state has its own specific certification exams, such as the Florida Teacher Certification Exam (FTCE) which includes a General Knowledge Test and a Subject Area Exam.

How do I apply for a teaching certificate?

You need to submit official transcripts, pass exam scores, and pay the required application fee to the state’s Department of Education.

Where can I find teaching jobs?

School district websites and online job search platforms are good resources for finding open teaching positions.

What types of teaching certificates are there?

There are Temporary Certificates and Professional Certificates, each with specific eligibility criteria and requirements.

What are the different paths to becoming a teacher?

You can choose from traditional undergraduate programs, alternative certification programs, and online teaching programs.

How can I finance my education to become a teacher?

You can explore funding opportunities such as scholarships, grants, and student loans that are specific to education programs.

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