Information for Students Interested in Teacher Certification

Educators are an indispensable part of our society. To teach is to invest in the future of our country. That’s why the decision to become a teacher should never be taken lightly. If you think a career in education is right for you, we’re excited to help guide you on your journey.

While each state has specific requirements to qualify as a teacher or education specialist, there are certain steps you can take to prepare for a career in this field. Below we’ll cover some standards of teacher preparation programs for students and provide a few resources to help get you started in this rewarding, vital profession. You can also navigate to our pages on specific state, degree and career information.

Obtain Certification

Teachers hold very special roles in the lives of students. They can help shape and influence a student’s development, character, self beliefs and goals. Because such massive responsibility is attached to this profession, states often require that you have certification before you can practice teaching. These certification processes are in place to ensure that individuals assuming the role of a teacher are prepared and capable of success.

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Teacher Certification

Decide Where You Want to Teach

The first step in obtaining teacher certification is deciding where you want to teach. Educator requirements are set at the state level, so procedures and policies vary from state-to-state. Of course, it’s not necessary to know the nuances and details of each state’s requirements. Education’s big picture goals remain the same across the nation.

Teacher Preparation Program for Students

For most states, subjects and grade levels, you will need to complete a teacher preparation program before becoming certified. There are exceptions to this traditional path, but in most cases you will need to fulfill certain education and experiential requirements if you want to teach.

Think about what type of role you want to have as an educator. Are you interested in teaching a certain subject, age group or specialty? The right program should also complement your undergraduate major. Ask your school’s advisor about the available teacher preparation programs and which one is right for you.

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Application Requirements for Teacher Preparation Programs

There are common requirements for teacher preparation programs. You should be prepared to study for a basic skills test in reading, writing and math, regardless of what grade or subject you want to teach. There may also be a subject area knowledge test if there’s a certain topic you want to teach. Check to see if your program requires this type of test and allot plenty of study time for it.

You can also expect to spend time in the classroom as a student teacher, usually at least 15 weeks. Additionally, be prepared to take a fingerprint or background check, depending on your state.

Helpful Links

We’ve gone into further detail about the certification process for each state, but it doesn’t hurt to check out other resources as you prepare to join this noble profession. Follow the links below for more information about the process.

State Required Exams

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards