The requirements for teacher licensure/certification are set by each state, and a state's Department of Education website will have the most comprehensive listing of that information. For compilations of all the requirements for all fifty states, the University of Kentucky College of Education has created a list and the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California has worked in conjunction with CertificationMap.com. You can also find information on certification requirements for each state at Teaching-Certification.com. While the state licensing requirements do differ among states, you will find that most states require teachers to fulfill the following requirements:
- You must hold a bachelor's degree, and, in some states, a post-baccalaureate or master's degree. For elementary education, you will usually need either a major or minor in education (for B.A.) or a Masters in Education.
- For secondary subjects, you will usually need a degree in the area you wish to teach. Complete an approved, accredited education program that fulfills student teaching and practicum requirements.
- In addition to your major, you may be required to show proof of a strong liberal arts foundation. You will likely need to pass a state test or the PRAXIS exam. Some states also require proof that you have taken a variety of college courses in basic subject areas (English, math, science, social studies, and language), especially for obtaining licensure in elementary education. You can find free PRAXIS test help, including tons of practice questions, at praxisprepinfo.com.
Alternative Teacher Certification
In an effort to attract more teachers, especially in shortage areas, a number of states have encouraged and established programs that offer nontraditional routes to teaching. As such, they have often established special licensing procedures for non-traditional candidates. Requirements for an alternative teaching license vary by state. Generally, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in the subject to be taught, achieve a passing score on state-required examinations, complete an intensive teacher preparation program, and possibly fulfill a supervised teaching internship. After satisfactory completion of these requirements, the applicant will be issued a teaching credential.