To enter into the professionally satisfying and personally rewarding field of teaching, future professionals must first consider how to complete the certifications needed to become a teacher. For most states, teachers must be certified to teach in a classroom. Additional certifications might also be required for specialized areas of teaching.
Teachers who are pursuing positions in public school district classrooms and in most private or charter school classrooms will be required to hold state certification. Most certifications are divided between elementary and high school specializations. Although specific requirements vary by state, most of these certifications for licensure will require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree along with additional qualifications.
Some of the additional requirements include completion of a specified number of hours in classroom observation and field work, which is often accumulated through the course of degree completion. For secondary education, certification also might require meeting state-regulated guidelines for the number of content area specific courses that were completed while finishing a degree. Some states also require successfully completing an examination.
Additional information on finding details for certifications required by state for classroom teaching can be found at the U.S. Department of Education website.
Specializations in Teaching and Certification
Educators also have several options for obtaining certification to teach in specialized areas or classrooms, which most often requires completion of additional course work, post-baccalaureate certification, or a master’s or doctoral degree. The completion of a concentration in an undergraduate degree or post-baccalaureate course work helps to prepare educators for supporting students with diverse needs.
To successfully provide a positive learning experience for all students, many districts look for teachers with a specific skill set, which can be exemplified by the completion of certification requirements in a specialized area of education. Some of these areas include special education, reading and literacy, gifted and talented, speech and visual impairment, adult learning, and early childhood development. Programs designed to prepare teachers for these specialized classroom environments include course work such as language acquisition, English as a Second Language, behavior management, child development, and assessment and evaluation of gifted youth.
Some future and current teachers might also decide to complete various other types of professional certifications or designations in order to best meet the needs of students or stand out to employers. One such certification is the National Board Certification of Teachers, which is granted through the National Education Association. This certification expands on the requirements of state licensure. More on the NBC certification procedure and requirements can be found at the National Education Association website.
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Teachers are an integral part of the education system and the building of knowledge, skill, and ability of children and students of all ages. By considering the various options for what certifications are needed to become a teacher, future educators have the ability to not just begin teaching in a classroom, but also to develop the advanced techniques and methods needed to ensure that all students can achieve and succeed.