While all states require beginning teachers to hold an undergraduate teacher and graduate from an approved teacher-training program, perhaps the most important of the requirements for a teaching job is to pass the appropriate state mandated exam for teacher certification. You can have straight A’s in your degree program and teacher training, but if you don’t have a license to teach in the state, you won’t get a teaching position. In addition, the degree program you choose must be related to the area of the curriculum you wish to teach. If you want to teach Biology, for example, in high school, then you must have a Science degree with a major concentration in Biology courses. The major you choose will determine what you will be permitted to teach – at least at the beginning of your career.
The requirements for a teaching job in any of the 50 states and the District of Columbia require licensing by the state board of education or the licensing advisory committee of the state. Texas, Arizona, California, Georgia and Florida have their own set of exams that teachers must take. The other states use the Praxis exams. These exams are criterion-referenced multiple-choice tests based on specific outcomes. Candidates for the exams must possess in-depth knowledge required to teach specific content areas of the curriculum or grade levels. For example, there are specific teacher certification exams for Early Childhood teachers and those wishing to obtain jobs as Elementary generalist teachers. In junior high and high school, the exams are more content area specific.
The requirements for a teaching job vary from state to state. Some states require that teachers all possess some degree of knowledge of technology and be competent in the use of computers as teaching tools. The teacher training program also has to include a set number of education courses as well as a teaching internship. In the teaching internship, a student teacher spends a term or part of a school year in the classroom under the mentorship and guidance of a certified teacher. During this time the intern gradually increases the time spent teaching the class from a few classes to full time teaching at the end of the internship. The veteran teacher writes evaluation reports for the teacher training institution and a professor from the institution also evaluates the student. Together they determine the mark for the course.
There are differences in the various requirements for a teaching job in the states. Those regulations that apply to the licensing of teacher in regular schools are stricter than those for preschool teachers in private schools. In fact, teachers in private schools do not require a license and can teach with just a degree and a certificate from a teacher training program.
To make sure you meet the requirements for a teaching job contact the state licensing board of the state where you wish to begin your teaching career. Each of these regulating bodies have websites providing information about the curriculum outcomes for each test, the testing procedures, testing dates and locations and the mark you need to receive in order to pass.