Easy Steps on How to Become a Certified Teacher in 2023

While some people have had a lifelong passion for teaching, others have had successful careers in other sectors before deciding to become licensed teachers in order to pass on their expertise to future generations.

In either case, when considering a profession as a licensed teacher, one should be aware of a few steps.

Teachers earn an average annual salary of $47,989, but with the right credentials and experience, they can earn up to $70,000.

Becoming certified to teach English as a foreign language can help you earn more money as a teacher (TEFL).

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow by 3%, providing 53,100 job positions nationwide.

If you want to start a career as a teacher, this book will help you discover the methods and critical elements of becoming a certified teacher.

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Teaching at Every Age Level

Although the purpose of education is to encourage learning, how this goal is attained varies depending on the age of the students.

By being aware of these age groups, an individual can select the type of teaching position that best meets their career goals.

Elementary School and Kindergarten

At kindergarten and primary school, students learn fundamental principles in reading and math.

Several primary schools incorporate specific activities such as art and music courses in the curriculum to help young students to think critically and learn more.

Furthermore, when they complete tasks and connect with other students, they develop personal skills such as study habits and interpersonal communication abilities.

As a result, someone interested in a career in elementary education would want to help students acquire core study and life skills.

Middle School 

The grades in middle school span from sixth to eighth.

Most educational institutions hire professors who are experts in specific subjects, such as chemistry or mathematics.

Because children are becoming more proficient learners, they can now be held to greater academic performance standards.

High School

High school teachers specialize on one subject, such as English or US history.

Their major objective is to educate pupils and prepare them to enter the labor force or further their studies at a university.

A high school teacher’s secondary responsibility may be to counsel students on how to write excellent college admission essays or score well on standardized tests.

Higher Education

Teachers of all ages operate on similar schedules, with the majority working during regular school hours and taking two to three months off during the summer.

College professors’ schedules may vary based on when they conduct research and teach students, but they can also take the summers off or decide to offer summer courses.

How Much Do Certified Teachers Earn?

Teacher salaries vary greatly depending on a variety of criteria, the most important of which is the state in which you live and teach.

The subject you teach, your experience level, the grade you teach, and the degree you hold are all factors that influence teacher wages, whether you work in a private or public school or teach summer school.

Having an alumni network across the country makes it easier to find a job with a good wage.

A large network gives access to many teaching jobs and educational systems.

When you graduate from American University, for example, you join a varied network of outstanding students from all across the United States and more than 150 countries.

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How to Become a Certified Teacher

The methods below will assist you in becoming a qualified teacher by 2023.

Step 1: Refine Your Career Objective

Teachers-in-training typically hear this advise when learning how to develop lesson plans, which is the first step in becoming certified teachers: When you begin, keep the end in mind.

It’s also a good idea for career planning.

With a clear grasp of your goal, you can determine the steps necessary to achieve it.

So give yourself some time to imagine yourself as a competent instructor.

  • What kind of teaching position do you want?
  • Which subject do you want to teach?
  • Who are you going to teach it to?
  • What grade level do you want to teach: elementary, middle, or high school?
  • Do you want to work as a substitute teacher or run your own classroom?
  • By making these clarifications, you can proceed to the next steps.

Please indicate whether you like to teach a single subject or a combination of them.

Multiple-subject teachers are often elementary school teachers who work with a single class of children in a self-contained classroom throughout the school year.

Many special education teachers who work with individuals with disabilities are also qualified in a variety of subjects.

Single-subject teachers, on the other hand, deal with different student groups and grade levels throughout the year.

Most primary schools have a small number of professors that teach elective subjects such as art, music, physical education, computers, and libraries.

At middle and high schools, however, single-subject instructors predominate.

Step 2: Research the State Teacher Requirements.

Because criteria differ from state to state, you should go to the Department of Education (DOE) website for the state where you intend to apply for a teaching post.

This allows you to meet the standards without going above and beyond.

Getting the information you want may necessitate some navigation.

Step 3: Create a Career Plan

When you contemplate everything you need to do before starting a career as a teacher, you may become quickly overwhelmed.

To help you focus and stay on track, create a career plan that outlines everything you need to accomplish to meet the requirements, such as acquiring a license or completing a teacher certification course.

Your state may have services to help you through the process.

The tool guides you based on your current situation, such as whether you are a high school or college student, have a bachelor’s degree, are changing careers, or are licensed in another state.

Step 4: Earn Your Undergraduate Degree

If you don’t have have a four-year degree and are wondering what degree you need to be a teacher, you’ll be relieved to know that there are various possibilities open to aspiring teachers.

Despite the fact that all states need at least a bachelor’s degree from prospective teachers, they rarely specify a specific topic of study.

You don’t need a degree in the subject you wish to teach as long as you can demonstrate competence through assessment.

This is especially important if you are changing careers and have a bachelor’s degree or higher in an area other than education.

You would then need to complete a teacher training program.

Choose a degree and teacher education program connected to your work to save time, and, if possible, integrate teacher training if you know what you want to teach in advance.

PreK-12 educators usually possess one of the following bachelor’s degrees:

  • Education for Little Children
  • Degree in a Particular Subject
  • Primary Education (primarily for K-5 teachers)
  • Education for the Disabled

Degrees in specialized subjects, such as math and history, rarely involve teacher training, although state-approved education degrees must.

Step 5: Take a Teacher Preparation Course.

If your bachelor’s degree does not include teacher training, you must complete a state-approved teacher training program after graduating.

These programs teach you how to organize lessons and units of study, deliver lecture material, operate a classroom, and a variety of other important skills.

The course and student teaching complement each other.

You help a local schoolteacher in the classroom for a semester and gradually acquire some of the teacher’s responsibilities.

You are not paid to teach, but you will be observed periodically by a program supervisor.

Yet, faster training methods are becoming more popular.

Governments such as California have tried techniques to shorten the time required to become a teacher.

Depending on where you want to teach, you can apply for a teacher internship program.

This allows you to serve as a teacher-of-record in a classroom for four terms and earn a teaching salary while finishing your studies.

Internship programs are recommended for persons who have prior teaching experience because they are more rigorous than student teaching and require you to run a whole classroom on your own.

Regardless of the teacher training you ultimately pursue, your program sponsor will issue you a teaching credential once you complete the course.

This endorsement certifies that you have completed teacher training and are proficient as a teacher.

Step 6: Comply with the Basic Skills and Subject Requirements

One of the final stages is demonstrating to the state that you are competent to teach and possess the necessary basic skills and subject-matter competence.

There are various options, which vary by state.

Fundamental abilities

You can fulfill the state basic skills requirement by taking and passing a test, such as the MTTC Michigan Teacher Test, that assesses your comprehension and proficiency in English reading, writing, and basic math.

Your state should provide various options.


The topic requirement can be met by taking and passing a test, such as the CSET tests in California, or by completing a state-approved subject program.

If you’ve already completed a university program in the field for which you’ll be certified, you won’t need to take a subject exam unless you’re moving in from another state.

Step 7: Get Your Credential

Remember to check the material on teacher licensure in your state because there may be extra requirements.

California, for example, may demand a Reading Instruction Competency Assessment if you still need to complete a teacher preparation program that includes student teaching.

Prospective teachers in California must also complete a course or pass a test on the United States Constitution.

After completing all of the qualifications, you must apply for the certificate.

In addition to your application, you must send the following:

  • Transcripts, exam results, and any supporting documentation
  • Payment for the application
  • Proof that you have been fingerprinted

Although it may take several weeks for your application to be approved, you can track its status online through the state’s credentialing commission.

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How Long Does It Take to Get a Teaching Certification?

Generally, it takes four to five years to become a qualified teacher.

This timeline depicts how long it takes to obtain certification to teach in elementary, middle, or high school.

Teachers should also be prepared for additional years of study if they choose to pursue an advanced degree in education, such as a MAT or a Ph.D., depending on the level and type of job they want.

In contrast to a master’s degree, which can be obtained in as little as three years, a doctorate takes several years.

The amount of time it takes a student to complete their dissertation or research project, which they must defend in front of a panel, can also influence how long it takes to obtain a doctorate in education.

Choose a Teaching Degree Program

Before taking the steps to become a teacher, you should examine various criteria while selecting a program.

Because accreditation demonstrates that a college or university can sufficiently prepare students for their chosen field, it is critical to first determine whether a program is accredited.

If you obtain a degree from an unaccredited university, your career may suffer.

You should also consider the curriculum of a program.

All programs will include principles of teaching, but some may contain additional in-depth courses focusing on a teaching specialty relevant to your interests.

Some elements to consider when looking for a teaching degree are preference or choice.

A few examples are cost, class size, flexibility, and online versus in-person training.


Teaching is a noble profession, but it also provides the opportunity to have a substantial impact on people’s lives and to change how society evolves in areas such as government policy, the arts, and scientific research.

This can make teaching one of the most rewarding occupations.

We hope you find our information on how to become a certified teacher useful.

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