How to Become a Teacher

Becoming a teacher is a dream for many people, and no matter what type of teacher you decide to be you can enjoy a fulfilling career that will allow you to change the lives of others. Before you get into any classroom you’ll need to do some preparation. Here’s information about entering a career as a teacher.

Typical Earnings

How much you earn as a teacher will heavily depend on where you live and what type of teacher you are. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that as of May 2015, the median income for elementary school teachers is $54,550. However, the median pay for postsecondary teachers is listed as $72,470. Complicating things even more, if you’re a public school teacher you can generally expect to have pay that differs significantly from private school teachers.

Individuals who branch out on their own and teach a subject outside of the school system — such as language, music, art, or vocational subjects — can make significantly more money running their own businesses and trade schools. Though pay is different among different types of teachers, the good thing is that you’ll have many options once you decide to get started in this field.

Education and Training

To become a public or private school teacher, you’ll typically need at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Depending on what state you’re in, you may not need to major in education. For instance, you could major in biology and then go on to teach high school science courses. To prepare teacher candidates for the classroom, states specify approved training and certification programs that individuals must successfully complete.

In addition to a four year degree and teacher certification program, you’ll need to pass a background test before getting hired by any school or district. If you don’t want to work in the public school system, the amount of education that you’ll need will vary. For example, you may not need a formal education at all if you want to teach dance at a dance studio.

How to Become a Teacher

Getting Started

It’s important to have a good idea what kind of teacher you want to be before you starting taking courses. Once you’ve decided, take a look at your state’s guidelines for becoming that kind of teacher. For instance, it may be required that anyone who teaches middle school science must have at least 24 credit hours of science courses from an accredited college. Other states simply have teachers take extra training and certification courses in their preferred areas.

Because it is necessary to have at least a bachelor’s degree to become a public school teacher in the US, plan to spend several years completing your undergraduate studies. If you want to be a college professor or vocational teacher, a master’s degree or doctorate will be necessary The length of teacher certification programs varies by state, but if you don’t plan to teach in the public school setting at all you may have more flexible options. For instance, if you want to teach art or music you could do so by giving private lessons, working at a studio, or opening your own studio to teach students.