What Do You Need to Become an Educator?

Educators work in elementary and secondary schools and in higher education training students in various subjects. Becoming an educator requires specialized knowledge and education, and this can vary depending on the grade level or areas in which you'd like to teach. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Educator Overview

Educators work within various subject areas, specializations and grade levels, such as elementary, secondary or postsecondary. Determining in what capacity you would like to be an educator can better direct you on the path needed to acquire that goal. Overall, becoming an educator typically requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree, and licensure is usually required to teach grade school.

Important Facts About Teacher Education

Online Availability Fully, but on-site internships may be required
Possible Careers Childcare worker, instructional coordinator, school counselor
Common Courses Learning theories, curriculum design
Degree Levels Bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctorate

Grade School Educator Training

Working as a grade school educator requires completing a minimum of a bachelor's degree program in teacher education, such as elementary school, secondary school or early childhood. Teaching secondary school is subject-specific; therefore, you pursue a major in the subject area you'd like to teach, such as math, science or English. All aspiring grade school educators must fulfill a teacher training internship. For the internship, student teachers are assigned to a participating public school. While the field experience typically lasts for one semester, this might vary.

Licensure

All states require grade school teachers to be licensed. In addition to completing the necessary degree program and a background check and fingerprinting, you take and pass subject comprehension and professional knowledge tests. A common test is the Praxis test series, which consists of two levels of testing.

The first part, the Praxis (Core) or the Praxis I, is a test of reading, math and writing skills. Either of these tests may be taken before beginning a teacher education program, and individuals who don't have a degree in education but want to become an elementary or secondary school educator take at least one of these tests as well. The second part, the Praxis II, is a test of knowledge in the subject that an educator wants to teach. The Praxis II is taken prior to licensure, and some subjects may require more than one exam. The specific tests required to obtain a license may vary from state to state.

Specializations

Educators have the opportunity to pursue teaching specializations, such as special education or reading and literacy. Pursuing these specializations can oftentimes require additional coursework at the graduate level. The additional coursework leads to an endorsement on your teaching certificate, which indicates that you are qualified to teach children in this area.

College or University Educator Training

As an educator at the college or university level, a minimum of a master's degree is typically needed, but many have a doctorate. Degree requirements can also depend on the subject, institution and position. For instance, tenured positions within a university typically require a doctoral degree in your specialized area of expertise, such as nuclear physics. Those holding a bachelor's degree or master's degree may be adjunct professors at the university level, and they may have several years of professional work experience in the field. Full-time positions for educators with a master's degree are most often found at junior colleges.

Licensure or Certification

While most college and university professors aren't required to become licensed to work within a postsecondary institution, this can also depend on your field of expertise. For instance, working as an educator within an aeronautical college might require you to hold a pilot's license. Another example where licensure or certification might be required as a postsecondary educator is within a technical or vocational school. For example, teaching students to become electricians might require you to hold certification or licensure as an electrician.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Concordia University Portland

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    Popular programs at Concordia University Portland:

    • Master

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  • Colorado Christian University

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