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We can all remember a teacher from our younger days who made a difference for us. Maybe it was your kindergarten teacher who introduced you to the world of books. Maybe it was a fourth grade teacher who made long division make sense. Or maybe it was the high school teacher who guided you through the maze of college applications. Here is your chance to be one of these teachers who makes a difference in someone's life. Although becoming a teacher can seem a little overwhelming, by finishing one step at a time, you can have your chance at making a difference.
- Get a bachelor's degree. It is extremely rare to be able to become a teacher without a bachelor's degree. It usually does not matter what your field of study was, as long as you have a bachelor's degree to show for it.
- Get some experience with your desired age group. To make sure that you are going into the right career for you, it is important that you get some experience with the age of students you hope to teach. (It will also look good on your resume!) There are many ways to do this, including internships in the classroom, volunteering, working as a yard supervisor at a school, coaching soccer, or teaching Sunday School at your church.
- Find a teaching credential program. Although teaching credential programs must all meet similar requirements, they can do this in very different ways. Researching credential programs will help you to find one that is a good fit for you in every way. Don't forget to take location into consideration, as well as finances, when getting ready to become a teacher. There are a wide range of fees charged for credential programs, with private programs often being much more expensive than public programs.
- Complete the required prerequisite classes. These may differ according to your credential program, so make sure that you do your research before attempting to become a teacher.
- Pass the required tests. The tests required to become a teacher vary by state, but exist in every state. For example, in California, someone would need to pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST), the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA), and the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) before applying for a teaching credential.
- Check out internship programs. If you wish to become a teacher and earn your credential while performing your student teaching, look into internship programs. Certain programs, such as Teach for America, allow you to complete your coursework while teaching in your own classroom. This can be exhausting, but makes the process go faster and is perfect for those who wish to work while going to school.
- Complete the required coursework for your credential. This can be done in a variety of different ways. Many credential programs have a one-year program or year and a half program to choose from, with some programs offering two-year master's degree programs for those wishing to become a teacher and complete a master's degree in education.
- Complete the required student teaching. To become a teacher, it is required that a candidate perform student teaching under the direction of a master teacher. Most states require at least two semesters of student teaching, although some can require more. This may be completed during an internship program, as discussed in step 6.
- Apply for jobs. Calling your local school district can familiarize you with any job openings for teachers that may exist.
- Join the teacher's union. By joining the teacher's union in your state, you are availing yourself of many different resources, including legal advice, professional development options, and mentoring programs.
Continuing education classes can help you stay up-to-date with the latest innovations and trends in teaching, and they can be taken online at your convenience.
Although it may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through to become a teacher, it is a highly rewarding and essential job that can change your life forever.