According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Georgia has the second highest concentration of elementary school teachers in the country. Those interested in a Georgia teaching certificate should consider one of the many online degrees that the state’s colleges and universities offer. An online teaching degree features many benefits not afforded to on-campus students. For example, online students can earn their degree at their own pace while juggling career and family responsibilities. Learning management systems, such as Canvas, ensure easy access to lectures and assignments. Students attending online schools may find student-teaching placement in their own communities.
Online students can earn their degree at their own pace while juggling career and family responsibilities.
The requirements to earn a teaching certification vary from state to state. Students who wish to earn their teaching license in Georgia should ensure that their program is accredited and approved for teachers in the state. Those interested in teaching in a different state should note that Georgia holds reciprocity agreements with several other states. This means a teacher who is certified in one state may teach in another state, provided they offer evidence of effectiveness in past performance, complete additional training, or complete additional assessments.
This page provides relevant information covering how to get a teaching certificate in Georgia, including education, certification, and salaries.
How to Become a Teacher in Georgia
The requirements to become a teacher are different for every state. Teachers in Georgia benefit from a tiered certification structure which offers increased advancement opportunities to teachers who make long-term investments in the classroom.
Teaching licenses do not automatically transfer between states. However, most states in the U.S. participate in an interstate reciprocity agreement to facilitate the transfer of teaching licenses. A licensed teacher moving to a new state will need to apply for a license in that state, which then determines which qualifications from their current license will transfer and which will need to be fulfilled. Most states allow teachers to work in the classroom on a provisional basis while they attain full licensure in their new home state.
Teachers in Georgia must hold at least a bachelor's degree, but depending on the district or school, it is not required to be in teaching or a teaching-related field. Prospective teachers must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program that blends certification coursework with field experience, such as student teaching. Finally, educators must earn a passing score on the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) exam, which features assessments in specific content areas, educational leadership, and ethics. Candidates must pay a fee for exam registration.
A teaching certificate in Georgia is honored in most states that have reciprocity agreements. However, teachers may be required to take further steps to meet a new state's licensing standards, including skill assessments, past performance evaluations, and further training.
Educators must earn a passing score on the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) exam
Typically, long-term substitute teachers must fulfill the same requirements for teacher certification in Georgia. To be certified as a short-term substitute teacher in Georgia, candidates generally need only a high school diploma and 60 semester hours of college credit. Individual districts and schools may impose additional requirements.
Educators need more than an associate degree to teach in Georgia, but it is a great first step towards earning teacher licensure. Check out this link for more information.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Georgia
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Investigating Critical and Contemporary Issues in Education||This course explores issues teachers face in modern classrooms, such as gender, race, ethnicity, and special education concerns.|
|Teaching and Learning||Students learn the fundamentals of learning styles and psychology as they relate to teaching strategies.|
|Foundations of Numbers and Operations||This course provides the basics of teaching introductory mathematics and changing trends in methodologies.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Reading Instructional Strategy||Students learn methods and materials involved in teaching students reading and language arts.|
|Integrated Life Science||Students are introduced to concepts related to life science, such as biology, and methods by which this material is taught.|
|Mathematical Investigating||This course introduces methods for teaching students problem solving.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Applied Behavioral Analysis||This course explores the experimental examination of behavior as it applies to the instruction of students with special needs.|
|Introduction to School Improvement||Students explore the goals of school improvement efforts, as well as the means and relative success rates of these initiatives.|
|Advanced Classroom Management||This course introduces typical behavior issues that arise in classrooms. Students identify different classes of behavioral problems, as well as the programmatic and ethical topics related to their management.|
Certification and Licensing Needed to Become a Teacher in Georgia
To become a teacher in the state of Georgia, you should have at least a bachelor's degree and also meet the experience requirement. This means you must earn a certain number of college credits or have taught in a different state for one full year within the past five years. Additionally, candidates must be awarded a Georgia Educator Certification by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC). Teachers must complete an educator preparation program approved by GaPSC, which usually involves a student-teaching component.
The next step is to pass the GACE Program Admission Assessment exam. After meeting eligibility requirements and passing a basic skills test in reading, writing, and mathematics, prospective teachers must then pass the content knowledge assessment relevant to their desired field of certification. Example content areas include behavioral science, middle-grades reading, and special-education mathematics. Next, candidates have to earn a passing score on the Georgia Educator Ethics Assessment and the edTPA, the GaPSC-approved content pedagogy assessment. Educators must also pass a course dedicated to the identification and education of exceptional children. Applicants for certification must pass an FBI background check in order to qualify. Some certification applications require a $20 processing fee.
Most teaching licenses must be renewed every five years. Teachers at public schools in Georgia have their licenses renewed by the school systems in which they teach, with no further training required. A Georgia teaching license may be transferable to other states, pending the completion of additional state qualification requirements per the interstate agreement Georgia signed with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC).
Choosing a Degree Program in Georgia
Choosing an online teaching program can be difficult, and there are many aspects to consider before making a decision. Programs can vary widely in terms of admission requirements, cost, available specializations, and other components. Prospective students should compare relative costs and research financial aid opportunities when choosing a program. Even for an online program, the physical location of the school may also be relevant, as some student resources may be available only on campus. Students will also want to make sure that they can secure student-teaching placement in their local area through the program. Learners should also ensure that the curriculum meets the requirements for an educator preparation course in the state of Georgia.
Some programs may take more time to complete than others due to variations in curriculum and field requirements. Students interested in a particular specialization should make sure the program they choose offers the specialization they seek. Online teaching programs must meet certain approval and accreditation requirements as set forth by Georgia certification laws, which are outlined in the next section.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Georgia?
As is the case with most disciplines, there are many programs that allow students to earn an online teaching degree in Georgia. Because teaching often involves face-to-face interaction, even online students must complete the student-teaching component of an educator preparation program to qualify for certification; this requirement can typically be fulfilled within the student's local community.
Graduates from online teaching programs may earn their required certification in Georgia, provided that their college or university holds accreditation by a GaPSC-accepted accrediting agency at the time the degree was awarded. The GaPSC accepts the accreditation of higher learning institutions recognized by The Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education. There are no special accreditation requirements for online programs in addition to those for traditional on-campus programs, but accreditation agencies may perform additional evaluations to make sure online programs meet the particular needs of distance learners.
In addition, the candidate's educator preparation program must have been approved by the agency responsible for educator certification in the state in which the college or university is physically located, regardless of the candidate's state of residency.
Directory of Teaching Schools in Georgia
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Georgia
Teaching students have several options to pay for their degree from state and federal sources. Some funding programs cater to students with financial need, while others are geared toward academic merit. The first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines your eligibility for scholarships, loans, grants, and tuition reimbursement programs.
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant provides funding up to $4,000 each year.
At the state level, the Georgia Tuition Equalization Grant provides educational funding to eligible residents who attend certain private colleges in the state. Students who earn this grant can receive nearly $500 each semester. Meanwhile, the federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant provides funding up to $4,000 each year. To qualify, students must complete coursework in specific areas and, upon graduation, work in a high-need field, serving students from low-income families for a certain number of years. Only certain education programs are eligible for this grant.
Employers may also offer tuition reimbursement programs, whereby employees can recoup certain educational expenses up to a specified amount each year.
Loan Forgiveness for Georgia Teachers
According to the Learning Policy Institute, there are four significant factors that contribute to the current nationwide shortage of qualified teachers: lower numbers of students enrolling in teacher preparation programs, efforts by school districts to decrease pupil-teacher ratios, an increase in the numbers of students enrolled in school districts, and a turnover rate in the profession. In order to address low enrollment in teacher preparation programs and teacher attrition, some state and federal organizations are trying to incentivize people to become teachers and stay in the profession once they have entered the field. One such incentive is loan forgiveness programs.
Educators in the state may be eligible for federal loan forgiveness programs, which erase a portion of a teacher's student loans if they meet certain teaching requirements. The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is available for teachers who serve at least five full-time and consecutive years in a low-income school or educational service agency. Eligible teachers may receive up to $17,500 of federal student loans.
Scholarships for Georgia Teaching Students
College students earning their teaching degree have several options for funding and financial aid. One option is to research scholarship opportunities, including awards specific to prospective teachers in the state of Georgia.
MetLife Foundation Scholarship $2,000
Geiger Ellis Student Teaching Award $1,000
PAGE Marcia T. Clanton Future Educator Scholarship $1,000
Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning Scholarship for Academic Credit Varies
Charles McDaniel Teacher Scholarship $1,000
Promise Teacher Scholarship Program $1,500-$3,000
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Georgia
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
Teachers in Georgia earn, on average, less than their peers nationwide. However, according to U.S. News & World Report, Georgia also has the 15th lowest cost of living in the United States. Additionally, salary levels differ based on city or region. For example, teachers working in Quitman County, a rural county in Georgia with a relatively low population, earned an average of $46,103 for the 2015-2016 school year. Meanwhile, teachers in the Buford City School District, which is in the much more populous Gwinnett County, earned an average of $64,636 in that same school year.
Teacher salaries also vary by teaching level and years of experience. As the table below suggests, preschool teachers earn less than kindergarten teachers, and elementary school teachers earn less than their middle school and secondary school counterparts.
|Elementary School Teachers||$54,890|
|Middle School Teachers||$56,410|
|Secondary School Teachers||$56,420|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Georgia
How do I become a substitute teacher in Georgia?
How much do teachers make in Georgia?
How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Georgia?
What is the GA TAPP program?
Can you teach in Georgia without an education degree?
Resources for Teachers in Georgia
- Georgia Department of Education The Georgia Department of Education is involved in all aspects of the school system. Teachers can find support and resources such as virtual curricula and opportunities for professional learning. A teacher advisory council convenes twice a year to discuss how decisions are made at the state level that affect teachers in classrooms across the state.
- Georgia Association of Educators GAE advocates to the state legislature for teachers and others employed across many industries in human services. Their advocacy efforts include initiatives to improve teacher salaries and retirement packages. Membership benefits include professional development seminars, lesson plans, liability insurance, product discounts, and grants.
- Georgia Professional Standards Commission GaPSC is tasked with recruiting and preparing qualified and skilled teachers to work in Georgia school systems. They develop and enforce the standards by which certification is awarded to teachers in this state. GaPSC also provides job listings and job fairs for those licensed to teach in Georgia.
- National Education Association Founded in 1857, the NEA is the nation's largest professional employee association and advocates for public education. This organization champions such issues as child nutrition, gun violence prevention, and voting rights. NEA offers online access to various publications, discounted legal services, and discussion forums.
- Association of American Educators AAE was established in 1994 to promote student achievement and provide benefits to its members. The association’s code of ethics is designed for educators with respect to the rights of students and teachers alike. They offer professional resources and liability insurance, as well as scholarships and grants.