how to become a georgia teacher

People interested in teaching in Georgia can do so by meeting requirements set by the state’s governing educational body. To teach at any public K-12 school in the state, educators must hold valid and active teaching certification.

Whether looking into the best online colleges in Georgia or thinking about going back to college to earn a teaching degree, prospective students can find various resources about the education and certification processes. Keep reading to learn how to become a teacher in Georgia and how jobs for these professionals are projected to grow between 2018-2028 in the state.

How Do I Become a Teacher in Georgia?

People looking to become a teacher in Georgia must complete several steps, as outlined by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC). This process typically starts with completing a state-approved teacher preparation degree.

Georgia issues many types of certifications. People just entering the profession receive an induction certificate but can advance to the professional certificate after three years of teaching. The state maintains different certification processes for those educated in Georgia and those looking to transfer their teaching certification to the state.

Meet Minimum Education Requirements

People considering teaching in Georgia must earn at least a bachelor’s degree to seek certification. The GaPSC, the governing body of licensure in the state, does not require applicants to hold a degree in their related teaching field (if planning to work in secondary school settings). But they do need to meet content assessment requirements.

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That said, students must attend a teacher preparation program approved by the state. The GaPSC provides a list of approved programs leading to certification to help prospective learners pick an acceptable option. When looking at any program, learners should ensure it leads to initial educator certification. The Commission also provides the Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy for those looking to become Georgia educators with degrees in fields outside education.

Gain Student Teaching Experience

As part of their teacher preparation program, students must participate in a student teaching experience in an approved primary or secondary school. These experiences require a semester of full-time student teaching under the supervision of a licensed teacher. Before starting the experience, students need their college to request a pre-service certificate.

During these experiences, students get to put theory into practice by learning how to manage classrooms. They also create and teach lessons, assign and grade projects and exams, and address social and behavioral challenges. In addition, they work with other educators and school staff. They learn more about their chosen grade level or content area.

Pass Required Certification Tests

The certification tests an aspiring teacher must pass depend on their chosen grade level and certification field. Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) provides a comprehensive list of required GACE assessments. Generally, students must pass the GACE program admission assessment and the GACE content assessment in their chosen area.

Learners can study this list of content assessments, as some areas may require multiple exams. For instance, a teacher looking for gifted-science concentration certification must pass exams in middle grades science, mathematics, biology, chemistry, and physics. In addition to GACE exams, applicants must pass the Georgia Educators Ethics Assessment.

Apply for Certification

First-time teachers in Georgia receive an induction certificate. To receive this certification, they must apply for a job at a Georgia-based school. After being hired, their new employer will apply for the certificate from GaPSC on their behalf. To apply for the certification, students must supply several documents, including:

  • Official transcripts from a state-approved teacher preparation bachelor’s degree
  • Proof of completing a preparation program
  • GACE passing scores on all required exams
  • Completed certification application and nonrefundable processing fee

How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in Georgia?

The induction certificate remains valid for three years. From there, teachers apply for a professional certificate, which remains valid for five years. To work in public schools, teachers need an active and valid teaching certification issued by the GaPSC.

The GaPSC does not currently set any requirements around continuing education or additional coursework for renewing licenses as of March 2022. That said, some employers may provide mandatory continuing education as part of employment requirements.

Career Outlook for Teachers in Georgia

O*NET OnLine, a governmental website, projects jobs for elementarymiddle, and high school educators to grow by 16% between 2018-2018. These figures exceed the national average, which sits between 7-8% depending on the grade level.

Teachers working in Georgia typically earn salaries around $60,000 annually. Those thinking about going to graduate school and earning a master’s in education degree can often earn even more money. Other factors that impact teacher salaries in Georgia include experience level and location. Teachers living in Atlanta typically make more than those in Macon, as it costs more to live in a large city.

In-Demand Teaching Careers in Georgia

Kindergarten or Elementary School Teacher

Typically working with children from kindergarten through fifth or sixth grade, these teachers educate learners on foundational subjects such as math, reading, science, and writing. They prepare students for middle school studies. They also teach social and emotional skills such as sharing and interacting with other students.

Median Annual Salary: $58,710-$61,290

Middle School Teacher

Middle school teachers usually work with students from sixth to eighth grade and focus on teaching individual subjects. They develop lesson plans and teach topics and use assessments to see how well students understand the material. They also communicate with other teachers, staff, and students’ families to provide updates on their progress.

Median Annual Salary: $61,150

High School Teacher

High school teachers teach grades 9-12. These teachers focus on preparing students for entering the workforce or attending college after high school. They teach individual subjects at an advanced level and sometimes lead AP classes. They also provide guidance on life after school and may write recommendation letters for jobs or universities.

Median Annual Salary: $61,930

Special Education Teacher

Special education teachers work with students with emotional, learning, intellectual, or physical disabilities that affect their ability to learn. They develop individualized educational plans (IEPs) based on assessments and skill levels, track their progress, and set goals. In addition, they liaise with other educational professionals to keep IEPs updated and accurate.

Median Annual Salary: $60,750

Career and Technical Teacher

Whether working in high school or vocational schools, career and technical teachers educate students on technical and vocational skills that directly relate to jobs. Whether teaching mechanics or cosmetology, these teachers develop lesson plans and provide assessments to make sure students progress through the material.

Median Annual Salary: $60,100

Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in Georgia

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How do I get teaching certification in Georgia?

To earn teaching certification in Georgia, students must complete various steps. These include completing a state-approved teacher preparation plan, participating in a set amount of student teaching, passing all required exams, and applying for certification.

In addition to the traditional certification path, the GaPSC also provides alternative paths for people with bachelor’s degrees in unrelated subjects or those who currently teach in another state but want to transfer their credentials to Georgia.

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