What Are The Basic Requirements?

Education, licensure, and certification requirements vary greatly depending on the level of education the teacher provides, their state of residency, and the specific school. For kindergarten through elementary school, candidates usually need only have a bachelor’s degree in education or a general subject (like mathematics, science, or history) to be eligible. High school and postsecondary teachers, on the other hand, typically must hold a graduate degree in a more specific subject.

In addition to meeting basic education requirements, teachers must have the proper certification and/or licensure designated by their state to qualify for teaching. The U.S. Department of Education lists the exact requirements for teachers specific to each state, including certification and licensure requirements. If you are considering teaching as a second career and have the right degree already, certification or licensure can be relatively easy to obtain.

Online Learning Options

For students considering a switch from their current career to teaching, it may be necessary to earn a different degree or one at a higher level. This can be a time-consuming and expensive endeavor for working adults, though online learning can help alleviate some of the logistical problems. For distance learners, online degree programs in education can be a viable way to save money and time, thanks largely to a set-up that encourages flexibility and individual scheduling. Programs are available in general education or in specific subjects through programs that allow students to complete the entire degree online. Some programs even incorporate curriculum designed to prepare students for teacher licensing tests or certification exams.

Through the online learning platform, students will complete and submit assignments, exchange conversation with fellow students or their instructor, and view upcoming deadlines from wherever they are studying. This lets students continue working full time, managing family or social time, and still pursue their degree.

What Are the Job Prospects for Teachers?

Job opportunities are divided primarily by grade: kindergarten through elementary, high school, and postsecondary or college-level teaching. At the earliest level of education, teachers give children the building blocks for learning that will be fundamental to the success of their futures. Because teaching at this level only requires a bachelor’s degree in addition to licensure and certification, it is often the easiest teaching job to pursue as a second career.

Teaching high school can be one of the most challenging positions in the education system, but it can also be highly rewarding if you want to prepare students for entry into college. At higher levels, professors and instructors have the highest educational standards to meet, but they’re usually dealing primarily with students who are actually motivated to get an education. Being able to guide them on their career path can certainly be worth the time and resources.

Pay for teachers depends primarily on the level they teach, as well as the level of degree they hold, years of experience, and the size of the school they work for. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that kindergarten and elementary teachers earn an average of $52,350 yearly, whereas postsecondary teachers earn an average of $74,360. The BLS also forecasts growth of teaching jobs in the industry at 7% for postsecondary teachers and 17% for kindergarten, elementary, and high school teachers.

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