The position of middle school teachers is one in which you teach Grades 5 – 8. Not all schools have a separate distinction for these grade levels and not all states have a separate Middle School Division. There is an overlap in some cases in the types of state certification exams you have to take to get a job as a Middle School Teacher depending on the state in which you teach. The Praxis exams, for example cover Elementary Grades 1- 6 and Secondary Grades 7 –12, but there are also exams for Middle School Language Arts, Middle School Mathematics and Middle School Science. You will likely have to meet the requirements of a generalist teacher or take content exams for each subject you want to teach. Some states, such as Texas, Florida, Georgia, Colorado and Arizona have their own state tests and minimum scores that you must attain in each.
The exams are a necessary part of obtaining teacher certificate, without which you will not be able to get a job as a Middle School Teacher. In all states, the requirements for teachers to be certified and obtain a position are to have at least a Bachelor’s degree and completion of a teacher preparation program. Some states offer alternative routes to this certification, even in middle school, if there is a critical teacher shortage in this division.
The coursework you must have in order to obtain a teaching position as a Middle School Teacher include the design, planning, implementation and delivery of instruction at the Middle School level. You also need to have knowledge of the development of students at this age, as well as courses in the teaching of Literacy. There is also a student teaching component in the teacher education program, which will provide you with an internship in a classroom under the guidance of an experienced teacher.
If you want to teach specific courses as a Middle School Teacher, you will also have to pass the content area exams to get endorsements for these areas added to your certificate. Although a teaching certificate allows you to teach in a school, the specific endorsements you have will add to your eligibility to apply for more teaching positions than you can get with a general certificate. You do need to have the appropriate courses at the university level before you can write the tests, as you do have to submit your university transcripts and test scores to have the endorsements added. However, this is a component of continuing education you can pursue to meet the renewal conditions for your certificate.
States are constantly upgrading and adding to their requirements for teacher certification. You do need to check for any updates when you are studying to become a Middle School teacher so you can be sure you have the proper coursework completed to meet the new requirements. The No Child Left Behind Act made it necessary for states to take a look at their hiring practices and ensure that they are only hiring highly qualified teachers to fulfill vacant positions.