To become a certified teacher in the United States, you must first get an undergraduate degree in education, then gain your state teaching certification. You can also complete a graduate program at a university and earn an advanced degree in your state. Once you have completed your pre-service training requirements, passed all required exams, and gained employment from a certified school system, you will be able to work as a full-fledged teacher!
how to become a certified teacher
Why Become a Teacher?
Becoming a teacher isn’t just about the predictable schedule and summer vacations (did you know that teachers don’t get paid holidays or vacations?). Becoming a teacher is about having a passion for helping others and loving kids. When they truly invest in their career and their “kids” (the term many teachers use to refer to their students), teachers are able to make an incredible impact.
A little over ten years ago, I was in the same position you are. I was considering becoming a teacher, but I was confused and overwhelmed by all the requirements, clearances, and certifications. As a college freshman, so many other career paths seemed simpler to navigate. I’m proud to say I stuck it out, and I’ve learned a lot about how to become a teacher on my own journey as well, becoming a teacher.
So, why should you become a teacher? Here are a few solid reasons:
- Every single day is different and interesting.
- Teaching keeps you young. There’s nothing like being around young and energetic kids every day to keep you on your toes and feel a constant sense of energy.
- You’ll never stop learning as long as you’re a teacher. Not only will your own students teach you new things every single day in your classroom, but many school districts foot the bill for teachers to formally continue their education.
- There’s no doubt about it–a teacher’s schedule is ideal, especially if you have kids in school, yourself. You’ll work the same hours they are in school, allowing you to maximize the time you spend with your own kids.
- You have an opportunity to change the world, even if it’s only for a few students–you can’t deny that teachers matter. Every single person in every single career has learned what they know from teachers.
- If you love to be around people, this is a very social profession that allows you to interact with others every day. You won’t be stuck in a cubicle with limited social interaction.
- Although there are guidelines you need to follow, you get to be the boss of your own classroom every day. If you like to create order and control your day, this is ideal for you.
- While every day brings new and fun surprises, teaching also provides a lot of structure and routine. If you thrive on structure, you’ll enjoy the daily schedule teachers follow.
- You can travel as a teacher. Anywhere there are kids, there are teaching jobs. Additionally, your days off are predictable, so it’s easy to plan vacations during summers or holidays without using up personal days.
- Teaching is fun! It would be hard to get through a day of teaching without laughing at least once.
- The world needs teachers. As some professions are getting pushed out by Artificial Intelligence, real human teachers aren’t going anywhere any time soon.
- It’s a simple way to contribute to the community. Schools and the activities they put on are often the cornerstone of communities.
Should I Become a Teacher?
Nobody can tell you whether you should become a teacher or not, but while there are many reasons teaching is an extremely fun and rewarding career, there are drawbacks to the profession as well.
The best way to tell if a career is really for you is to get in the trenches and experience a day in the life of a teacher. Teachers do way more behind the scenes work than most people realize. Often, during student teaching, prospective teachers get a taste for how much work teachers actually do on a daily basis. Until you get to that point, here are a few more things to consider if you’re on the fence about becoming a teacher.
Teaching doesn’t end when the final bell rings and you walk out of the building. Many teachers take on extra duties such as coaching, advising clubs, or chaperoning activities. Even if you don’t have an official commitment after the school day has ended, most teachers also take home work they couldn’t get done during the school day such as grading or lesson planning.