No matter what part of the country you choose for your teaching career, the steps to get a job as a K-12 teacher are basically all the same. First you have to obtain a degree from an accredited university or college and then a teacher-training program. There are many of these institutions that offer both programs so that you can obtain all the training you need in the same location. Once you have the training you need, then you have to be licensed by the state as a teacher by taking and passing the mandates state exams for the grade level or content area you want to teach. There are exceptions to these regulations for private school teacher. In these schools, the teachers only need to have a degree and do not need to be state certified. The same applies to some vocational education teachers, where experience is more important that a specific degree or certificate.
Before you enroll in a teacher-training program, you do need to know what grade levels or subjects you want to teach. The steps to get a job as a teacher in K-12 education means that there are different types of training for the various levels. The area of K-12 education is extremely broad. You can choose early childhood education or pre-school and the type of training and course you need to take are radically different from those needed to teach Science or Math at the high school level. Those training to teach in elementary or primary school will take courses in all areas of the curriculum because for the most part teachers at this level are generalist teachers.
The courses you must take as part of the steps to get a K-12 teaching job include teaching methodologies. These may be the same for all grades, but some methodologies are more specific to grade levels than others. Learning centers and role play, for example, are perfect for any grade. Some such as finger painting or learning rhymes may be more suited for primary grades than the high school level.
When you are in college studying for your undergraduate degree, whether or not the college offers teacher-training programs or not, you do have to apply for admission to the teacher-training program. Many students wait until the third or fourth year of their degree program to submit this application. Competition for places in these programs is fierce. Therefore, as part of the steps to get a job as a K-12 teacher you have to obtain good grades. In some states, there are partnerships between school boards and universities to offer professional development to student teachers, which permits them to spend time tactually teaching in a classroom with professional guidance from a certified teacher. These programs are one-year in duration and in some cases, the student teachers can be paid for their year of teaching.
All of the states have testing as a part of the teacher licensing process. After completion of a degree and a teacher-training program, all teachers must pass these exams. Some of the states, such as Florida, Texas and California, have their own testing requirements and state tests. Other states use the Praxis 1 and 11 tests. In any case, passing these tests is the last and perhaps the most important of the steps to get a job as a K-12 teacher in the United States.