What Are the Job Requirements for a Teacher?
Specific job requirements for teachers vary by state and level of education. The most traditional path involves graduating from an accredited education program and earning state licensure, but alternate licensing routes might be available for individuals lacking education-related degrees. Continue reading to learn more.
Teachers are in charge of preparing students to be able to handle future schooling or life experiences through education. Typically, all teachers will need to prepare lesson plans, grade assignments and work with students both in groups and individually. Some teachers, such as those who teach at the elementary school level, will teach a variety of subjects, while teachers at higher levels may teach a single subject, such as math, history or English. Teachers may also work in specialty areas, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) or special education.
Important Facts About Teachers
|Elementary School Teachers||Middle School Teachers||High School Teachers|
|Median Annual Salary (2018)||$58,230||$58,600||$60,320|
|Entry-level Education||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||7%||8%||8%|
|Licensure||Early childhood or elementary school education||Elementary, middle, or secondary school education (depending on state requirements)||Secondary or high school education|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), all teachers are required to have at least a bachelor's degree. Some states may require teachers to have a master's degree to teach at the middle or high school level. At the middle and high school level, teachers may major in a non-education subject, such as math or science, and then take teacher preparation courses in addition.
Elementary school teachers typically graduate from elementary education teaching programs at accredited four-year institutions. Courses in these programs cover subjects like math, science, art and psychology, in addition to education-based classes, such as philosophy of education and teaching methods.
Education programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (www.ncate.org). Most programs have student teacher internship requirements, which must be fulfilled prior to graduation.
All public school teachers must be licensed. Typically, teaching licenses are available through state boards of education and are divided into such categories as early childhood, elementary, middle and secondary education, and special subjects, such as reading or music.
Though licensing requirements vary by state, all public school teachers must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Completion of a teacher education program might make receiving a license easier, but most states offer alternative licensing options for aspiring teachers with bachelor's degrees in other subject areas. States typically also require teachers to pass a general certification exam, and they may also require that each teacher take an exam specific to their subject area. Teachers may also be required to complete professional development classes on a regular basis to maintain their license.
Private school teachers typically are exempt from state-mandated licensing requirements. However, depending on the school, teachers will still likely need a bachelor's degree in order to be hired.