Completing the education requirements to become a teacher is an indication of hard work and dedication, but getting started on the path to becoming a teacher can be confusing to some individuals. With so many degree options available, some potential teachers might wonder about the actual degree needed to become a teacher. Requirements can vary by state, but there are some general guidelines regarding degrees applicable to a teaching career.
Depends on What Kind of Teacher You Want to Be
Those considering a public school teaching career will join a workforce exceeding 3.6 million in the United States for the 2017-18 school year (most recent data), according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). There were approximately 500,000 private school teachers, with the profession being predominantly female. Combining private and public schools, women comprised 76% of the teaching staff, with the highest concentration of females in public elementary schools at 89%! The percentage drops to 60% in high schools.
Close to 60% of public school teachers have a baccalaureate degree, and this group is more likely to have a master’s degree than their counterparts in charter schools. Surprisingly, private schools have a smaller percentage of teachers with graduate degrees at 48%. And, private schools pay an average of $12,800 less per year despite the revenue from students’ tuition. According to Statista, the average public school teacher salary is $63,645 (2019-20 school year).
Completing the education requirements to become a teacher indicates hard work and dedication, but getting started on the path to becoming a teacher can be confusing to some individuals. With so many degree options available, some potential teachers might wonder about the actual degree needed to become a teacher. Requirements can vary by state, but some general guidelines exist regarding the qualifications necessary to begin your teaching career.
It Depends on What Kind of Teacher You Want to Be
Disregard the notion that preschool teachers are strictly volunteers or young mothers trying to supplement the family income. Teachers at this level provide nurturing and education to children between the ages of two to five who are very impressionable. The young students are becoming more friendly, curious, and creative, which requires a patient and compassionate person to foster these skills. A preschool teacher might spend more hours in a week with the child than a parent – therefore, they have a strong influence on the child’s development.
For these reasons, each state takes preschool teachers’ qualifications seriously by requiring that they have the appropriate education and credentials. A complete list is available at Preschoolteacher.org; however, here are a few examples:
Colorado: A bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Special Education, Child Development, or Child Psychology. An associate’s degree with at least two classes in childhood education and six months experience working with children under six. (Many other ways are on the site.)
Maryland: Bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program.
Montana: There are no educational requirements; however, state-regulated childcare centers may require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.
Washington and Utah: An associate’s degree or higher
Texas: Preschool teachers need to complete an approved teacher preparation program in early childhood education. The state has specific qualifications depending on the child’s age.
Early Childhood Teachers
For this category, a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education provides the instruction and knowledge to teach preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary school pupils. The program at Grand Canyon University focuses on curriculum to teach through grade three. Samples of the core classes include:
- Child Development: Prenatal to adolescence
- Instructional Planning for Young Children
- Early Literacy Development
- Student Teaching
- Several Instruction Methodology courses in various subjects, like Social Studies, Science, Language, and Creative Arts.
Individuals who prefer an online learning format could check out The University of Alabama’s College of Continuing Studies with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. The 120-credit curriculum teaches children’s social, physical, cognitive, and emotional development. It also has a one-semester internship that, upon completion, qualifies graduates for the Pre-Kindergarten- Birth to Age Four Child Development Teaching Certificate for the state of Alabama. The National Association for the Education of Young Children accredited this degree.
In the United States, students attending elementary schools are between the ages of five and eleven, populating about 87,500 public and private institutions. The vast majority enrolled in public schools, with roughly 29.75 million and only 2.87 in private schools, per Statista. There are just under two million elementary school teachers in the United States (NCES), therefore many employment opportunities.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has a lower number of 1,492,400 kindergarten and elementary school teachers as of 2020. It states that this occupation requires at least a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued license or certification.
A Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education is a start; for example, Grand Canyon University has an online degree accredited by the Arizona State Board of Education. The coursework explores research, theories, and lesson development along with a 15-week teaching experience.
Colorado Christian University (CCU) in Lakewood has two Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education options: Licensure and Theory. Graduates of the former qualify to apply to the Colorado Department of Education for licensure to teach kindergarten through grade six in private, public, and charter schools.
CCU includes mathematics, natural sciences, social science, and communications in the General Requirements. Examples of the core classes (50 hours) are:
- Literacy Methods
- Classroom Management
- Special Needs Methods
- Math and Science Teaching Methods
- Psychological Foundations of Education
The Theory track has identical classes except for the licensure qualification upon graduation. Upon the necessary licensure, you will be able to educate children from kindergarten through grade six.
Some teachers also graduate with a degree specializing in the area they wish to teach, and some states may require a double major in education and a specialty area. Whether a dual degree is mandated or not, a teacher with a specialized or advanced degree will be a more attractive candidate. Once employed, the school board or district may encourage the teacher to pursue a Master’s degree.
Specialized areas, such as speech-language pathology, are more restrictive, as 36 states, plus the District of Columbia, require teachers to have a master’s degree before applying for a license.
Ambitious individuals may consider a Master of Science in Elementary Education to boost their knowledge of curriculum development and theoretical and practical concepts. The College of Education and Human Development at the University of Nevada-Reno offers this degree concentrating on STEM subjects.
St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Florida, has a 36 credit Master of Science in Elementary Education that covers teaching methods in science, language, social studies, arts, health, physical education, and math. Graduates will be qualified to sit for the Professional Educator Exam of the Florida Teacher Certification Exam.
Some states make accommodations for job candidates with degrees in areas unrelated to education, particularly if they teach science or math at the middle or high school level. In these instances, you will still need the state teaching certificate or license, plus an undergraduate degree in the major you plan to teach. For example, a high school chemistry teacher should have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, along with courses related to education. Job candidates still need to complete some college coursework in education. While this alternative path is available in some states, completing an education degree is recommended to become a teacher. The coursework for an education degree better prepares graduates for licensure requirements and working directly with students.
For example, in Ohio, aspiring science teachers must pass two exams – a content and a professional skills exam administered by the state. A future physics teacher would take a test covering the history of physics, scientific principles, and physics theory. The test can last three to four hours.
Prospective teachers who don’t want to specialize in a specific science may earn an online science education degree to work with middle school students. For middle school students, you can be the science teacher, versed in general science, which a Bachelor of Science in Science Education will provide the qualifications.
Western Governors University’s (WGU) curriculum has the National Science Teachers Association‘s (NSTA) accreditation. New teachers and students pay a membership fee of $40/year, and professionals pay $60/year for digital versions.
The WGU courses explore all the sciences, namely chemistry, biology, earth science, physics, genetics, ecology, and technology. You also take pedagogy whose content includes strategies to help teachers assess reading comprehension and wiring proficiency. The purpose of the pedagogy instruction is to understand the methods conducive to learning at the middle school level. The institution attests that 69% of graduates finish the 40 courses within six months. An associate degree or prior college may accelerate the process by transferring up to 34 credit hours.
The educational qualification to teach at a community college offering two years associate degrees varies by institution. Typically, a master’s degree is the minimum, with department heads needing a doctorate. Furthermore, the degree should be in the subject you plan to teach. Individuals who have earned their degree in a STEM major and have secondary school teaching experience may transition to community college. They already have a specialty degree; if only a baccalaureate, a master’s could be added by online study. Therefore, the work schedule remains intact.
What about the salary implications? According to Indeed, community college teachers earn an average of $59,539 per year, and the BLS reports that high school teachers have a median income of $62,870 per year. Less money for an advanced degree; however, there might be other motivating factors for one’s preference to teach at the community college level. Becoming a full-time faculty teacher at community college has benefits of tenure, medical plan, and high salary than part-time or adjunct teachers.
Approximately 77,000 high school teachers’ jobs come open each year due to retirements, job transfers, or personal reasons.
A master’s or doctoral level is preferred for most positions at the college and university level, and a doctoral degree is required to become a professor. However, some entry-level positions may allow bachelor’s degree holders to become instructors, and experience within the field of instruction is a significant bonus. In these instances, the person is usually enrolled in a graduate program.
As outlined above, a state license is not always necessary to teach at a community college – it varies by state. For example, The Colorado Community College System has a lengthy and detailed application form for prospective teachers. Some states accept years of experience in place of a Professional Licensure. This requirement can also apply to adjunct faculty; for example, a job posting at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona, requires the adjunct to have licensure or five years experience in the discipline of instruction.
To recap, teaching from preschool to high school requires a bachelor’s degree and a state license and credentials. At four-year institutions, you will need a master’s or preferably a doctorate to become a professor. Community colleges, technical colleges, and junior colleges require a master’s degree.
Some may use their teaching experience to be a stepping stone into a leadership role, such as a school principal. In this competitive environment, a graduate program would be advantageous, in addition to at least five years of teaching. For this management position, there are degree choices, for example, educational leadership or educational administration.
Two sources of information are:
National Association of Elementary School Principals: Celebrating 100 years (as of 2021) of service and leadership for elementary and middle school principals.
National Association of Secondary School Principals: Advocates for middle and high school assistants and principals with membership available for all school administrators.
Texas A&M International University has an online accelerated Master of Science in Educational Administration at the cost of $10,991 that you could finish in as few as ten months. The 30-credit program prepares graduates for leadership positions after studying educational research, supervision, and data-driven decision-making.
Another online option is the Master of Arts in Education at The University of Arizona Global Campus with seven specializations: School Leadership in the 21st Century is one of them. The school allows students to attend risk-free for three weeks before deciding if the program is suitable. Each class lasts six weeks, and students may transfer up to nine approved credits.
Again, Western Governors University offers an online Master of Science in Educational Leadership. The coursework includes instruction in implementing curriculum standards, supervising teachers, understanding leadership ethics, managing the educational system, overseeing budgets, ensuring school security, and creating academic goals. Tuition per six-month term is $3,490, and three-quarters of students complete the degree in 24 months.
Becoming a principal can be a substantial increase to your pay, as the BLS reports the median wage at $98,490 with a master’s degree. That’s over $30,000 more than the average teacher salary! Here are the numbers again for employed teachers versus working principals:
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers: About 1.5 million
Middle School Teachers: About 600,000
High School Teachers: About one million
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals: Approximately 270,000
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What qualifies you to be a good teacher? ›
Some qualities of a good teacher include skills in communication, listening, collaboration, adaptability, empathy and patience. Other characteristics of effective teaching include an engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, exchange of best practices and a lifelong love of learning.What degree do you need to be a teacher in Illinois? ›
Illinois teachers must hold a bachelor's degree to qualify for a teaching license. The state accepts bachelor's degrees in any major, though teachers often earn their bachelor's in education. In addition to a bachelor's degree, licensure candidates must complete an educator preparation program.What degree do you need to be a teacher in Texas? ›
Obtain a Bachelor's Degree - You must earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Complete an Educator Preparation Program - You must complete an Approved Educator Preparation Program. If you do not hold a degree you must complete a university program.What degree do you need to be a teacher in Ohio? ›
Earn your bachelor's degree from an accredited institution college or university. Pass a content area exam(s) and a professional knowledge exam. Pass a criminal background check. Apply for initial licensure, called a four-year resident educator license, through the Ohio Department of Education.Do I need a good GPA to be a teacher? ›
GPA for Teachers College
Once you are admitted into the education program, it is likely that you will be required to maintain a 3.0 GPA in all of the coursework that you take in your department that is required for your degree.
"I want to become a teacher so that I can make a real difference in children's lives. I take the task of developing young people into kind, thoughtful and contributing adults very seriously. I have always been so grateful to my teachers and the educational system for making me the person that I am today.Do teachers always need a degree? ›
Teachers don't always require a degree specific to teaching, as this leaves little room for career changes. If you want to keep your career options open, consider earning a degree in a subject that's your passion and expertise.Do you need a degree to be a teacher? ›
What other qualifications will I need to become a teacher? While a degree is the highest qualification you'll need, you'll also be required to have GCSEs and be expected to complete an assessment of your English and mathematics fundamental knowledge.Can I become a teacher without a degree? ›
To become a teacher without a degree is certainly possible, although you're going to have to acquire some training, experience or qualifications. In this article, we discuss the possibilities of becoming a teacher without a degree, the teaching qualifications you can acquire and the different schools you might work at.How hard is it to become a teacher? ›
Depending on the route you take, becoming a teacher can require years of study before you can qualify. However, once you have qualified, you'll be embarking on a lifelong career in which you'll be making a lasting difference to thousands of children.
How many years is a Bachelor degree? ›
The average of just over four years to complete a bachelor's degree isn't surprising. After all, bachelor's degrees are frequently called “four-year” degrees and institutions offering them are often called “four-year” colleges. It's important to keep in mind, however, that this result is simply an average.What degree do you need to be a preschool teacher in Texas? ›
a) A graduate or undergraduate degree in early childhood education or early childhood special education or a non- early childhood education undergraduate degree with a documented minimum of 15 hours of coursework in early childhood education; or b) Documented completion of the Texas School Ready Training Program (TSR ...What degrees do you need to be a primary school teacher? ›
You'll usually need: 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science. 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree. a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course.
For the professional educator license, it takes approximately eight years total. That includes four years of education and four years of professional experience. Additional teaching certification in Ohio is available, such as an out-of-state license, alternative resident educator license, and associate license.Do you need a Masters to be a teacher in Ohio? ›
Though a master's degree is not required to earn the initial license, Ohio teachers need one if they intend to earn the highest level of certification. Certified educators from outside Ohio may apply for a one-year temporary license, during which time they pursue the necessary steps to become fully licensed.What grade needs most teachers? ›
English, math, and science teacher shortages are concentrated at the middle school level, while special education teachers are needed across all grade levels and specializations.Do teaching jobs look at college GPA? ›
If you're wondering whether GPA matters when applying for teaching jobs, it absolutely does.What are three reasons you want to be a teacher? ›
- The growing demand for teachers. ...
- The opportunity to profoundly impact the lives of children. ...
- The portability of the teaching credential. ...
- The family-friendly work schedule. ...
- The incentives for continued education. ...
- The satisfaction of contributing to your community. ...
- An outlet for your creativity.
Sample Answer: I decided to become a teacher due to several reasons. One, I have a knack for learning new things and when you teach, you often get more lessons than you give. Two, I like being around young minds since their creativity and imaginative power is incomparable which also explains the former.Why should they choose me as a teacher? ›
Your excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Your strong work ethic and dedication to students. Your innovative and enthusiastic approach to teaching. Your passion for helping students learn and grow.
How long is teacher training? ›
This Programme is run over a period of 36 weeks. You will undertake two Masters level (level 7) modules as part of the PGCE, with a total of 60 Masters credits on completion. The programme consists of three core modules, two at level 7 and one at Undergraduate level (level 6) and three school placements.Is a master's degree worth it for teachers? ›
Statistics reveal that teaching professionals with master's degrees currently earn higher salaries in every state compared to bachelor's degree-holders, and the pay gap widens with years of commensurate experience.What is the maximum age to become a teacher? ›
KPSC Age Limit and Age Relaxation
To apply for the teacher recruitment exam, a candidate must be between 21-42 years.
An associate degree is roughly equivalent to 18 months to four years of work experience in a related field. A bachelor's degree is roughly equivalent to four to eight years of work experience in a related field. A master's degree is roughly equivalent to 10 or more years of work experience in a related field.What type of degree is a bachelor's degree? ›
A bachelor's degree is the most common undergraduate degree awarded by universities and colleges in the US. Typically, a bachelor's degree takes four to five years to complete and consists of 120 to 130 semester credit hours.What is an unqualified teacher? ›
unqualified teacher means a teacher who does not hold an approved teacher's qualification.”Do you get paid to train to be a teacher? ›
The programme is fee free. Being able to earn a salary while you train, as well as receiving a discount on travel within London. Gain more experience working in a school before you qualify, so you are more prepared for life as a newly qualified teacher.How do you become a high school teacher? ›
- Complete your bachelor's degree.
- Complete student teaching (usually as your last semester of college)
- Pass the exam(s) required by your state.
- Obtain any required clearances, such as fingerprints or child abuse clearance.
- Apply for your certificate in the state you wish to teach.
The first year of teaching is the hardest. While being an educator is never without its struggles, the first year is by far the most challenging — pieced together with idealism, confusion, good intentions, excitement, fear, and expectations. But fear not.Is teaching a easy major? ›
Education majors are easier than others because they focus on educational theory and hands-on practice, rather than more complicated math or science topics. While you might need to student teach without pay for a year after college, education majors earn an average of $55,00 per year.
What is the average teacher salary? ›
Find out what the average Teacher salary is
The average teacher salary in Ireland is € 37 538 per year or € 19.25 per hour. Entry-level positions start at € 30 000 per year, while most experienced workers make up to € 48 812 per year.
There are generally four categories of college degrees: associate degree, bachelor's degree, graduate degree, and doctorate or professional degree.What is a 2 year degree called? ›
Different types of associate degrees, such as an Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Arts (AA), are 60 credits and can be completed in 2 years or less, and are a great first step toward earning an entry-level job or promotion.Which bachelor degree is of 2 years? ›
What is the popular 2-year degree to get? Associate of Arts in Psychology, Associate's Degree in Business Administration are the popular 2-year degree for students.What qualifications do I need to be a early years teacher? ›
- do an undergraduate degree in a subject related to early childhood studies or child development, along with course placements.
- take an early years initial teacher training course after you finish your first degree.
In Texas, you can become a teacher without a bachelor's degree. If you have at least 2-7 verifiable years of licensed work in a Trade and Industry field, there are many subject areas under Career & Technical Education (CTE) in which you can earn your online teacher certification.What qualifications do I need to work in a preschool? ›
Nursery assistants are likely to need a Level 2 Childcare qualification, whilst room leaders will need a Level 3. Some nurseries offer apprenticeship schemes. These allow you to study for a childcare qualification whilst working in an early years setting.Can I do teaching with a C? ›
1 Answer. Yes, you can be a teacher with C- if you do a certificate in Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE).Is it hard to be a primary school teacher? ›
The workload of a primary school teacher is substantial and often comes with its own set of challenges. You can also expect to work long hours – the 2019 Teacher Workload Survey found that, on average, teachers worked 49.5 hours per week, of which around 21.3 were spent teaching.Can I become a primary school teacher with a nursing degree? ›
Yes as you already hold a degree you would need to do a pgce in primary education.
How long does it take to become a elementary teacher? ›
Depending on your state, it may be necessary to pursue a master's degree after becoming licensed. As a result, becoming an elementary school teacher can typically take between five and seven years.What degree do you need to be a kindergarten teacher in Ohio? ›
To become a kindergarten teacher, one needs a minimum of a bachelor's degree, typically acquired through a state-approved teacher preparation program.How much does my teacher make Ohio? ›
How much does a Public School Teacher make in Ohio? The average Public School Teacher salary in Ohio is $54,853 as of February 27, 2023, but the range typically falls between $45,809 and $66,893.How do I become a teacher without a teaching degree in Ohio? ›
Candidates who have not completed a traditional teacher preparation program through an accredited college or university but have a bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.5 or higher OR a master's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, may be eligible for Ohio's Alternative pathway to licensure.How long does it take to get teaching certificate in Ohio? ›
The Bachelor of Science in Education requires a minimum of 120 credit hours; the accelerated Master of Education requires a minimum of 34 credit hours. *Note: Ohio State will implement a new general education curriculum starting Autumn 2022.What tests do I need to take to become a teacher in Ohio? ›
What tests are required? Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) are provided by Evaluation Systems group of Pearson. These assessments include Assessments of Professional Knowledge (OAE-APK) and content tests. Where specified, Praxis II subject assessments provided by Educational Testing Service are required.What are the 5 qualities of a good teacher? ›
- Patient and approachable. They say that 'patience is a virtue', and this couldn't be more true for teachers. ...
- Enthusiastic. ...
- Strong communication skills. ...
- Strong knowledge and a solid education. ...
- Disciplined and professional.
What makes a passionate teacher? Effective and memorable teachers are keen to spread positivity and genuinely enjoy teaching and engaging with students. In addition, they are reflective, open to change, and always welcome new ideas.What is a weakness of a teacher? ›
But being afraid to make a mistake makes us prime targets for burnout and overwhelm while also leading us to become fearful of trying new things. This is the cliche answer that tops the list of common weaknesses of teachers.
Teachers have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students. They interact with these learners every day, helping them discover new and important facts and ideas. Teachers are directly influential in a student's life—it's an important reason why many people choose to become teachers.
What are the 5 C's for teachers? ›
The essential components of an excellent education today embody much more than the traditional three R's. Past President of NAIS, Pat Bassett, identifies Five C's – critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and character, as the skills that will be in demand and will be rewarded in this century.What are six qualities of good teacher? ›
- Adaptability. Adaptability is a must for teachers, who need to continuously evaluate what's working for their students — and even more importantly, what isn't working. ...
- Empathy. ...
- Patience. ...
- Engagement. ...
- Active Listening. ...
- Lifelong Learning. ...
- Free of Bias. ...
- Respectful Attitude.
I owe them increased, access, opportunity, and personal growth. I owe them a love and concern for their well-being that is so great that I refuse to give them a grade they have not not earned because they deserves to know what the benefits of hard work and real learning feel like.What is the best grade to teach? ›
If your really love helping young learners grow and play, preschool, kindergarten, or grades 1 through 3 are great. If you're more interested in helping children develop good thinking skills as they mature, grade 4 is a good place to start.What state is best for teachers? ›
- Sunday Scaries. ...
- Life Out of Balance. ...
- Taking Stress Home. ...
- Low-Self Esteem. ...
- It's Not Meant to Be. ...
- Leaving Teaching because the Spark is Gone.
- Career Quicksand. ...
- Leaving Teaching because you've become a Negative Nelly.
As a teacher, I hope to influence children not only in their core curriculum but also in their ability to solve problems. In my classroom, I don't necessarily want the students to memorize facts, bi I want them to learn and retain the information on how to find the answers.Why do teachers have passion? ›
Teaching is really rewarding. It's satisfying to see children progress both academically and non-academically as rounded people and future citizens. You might not realise it but you are the children's role model.Why are you so passionate about teaching? ›
“I love teaching because you meet people from all over the world and each leaves you with a part of themselves and their culture. It's always different and never boring. Also for what I give the students by way of language skills I get a great deal more from the experiences and views they share.