Elementary School Teacher Requirements in Georgia

Elementary school teachers in Georgia are certified to instruct children in grades PK-5. Read on to learn how to become a certified elementary school teacher in Georgia. Schools offering Elementary Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Becoming a Certified Elementary School Teacher in Georgia

Those who want to become elementary school teachers in Georgia earn certification for pre-kindergarten through grade 5. This article covers the education required and the assessments that must be passed in order to earn this certification.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution;
Completion of educator preparation program;
Completion of course on identifying and educating exceptional children
Exams Required GACE Program Admission Assessment;
Educator Ethics Assessments - Program Entry and Exit;
GACE Elementary Education Content Assessment;
Content Pedagogy Assessment: edTPA
License Validity Period Induction Certificate, 3 years
Mean Salary for Elementary School Teachers in Georgia (2018) $56,360*
Estimated Job Growth for Kindergarten Teachers and Elementary School Teachers (2016-2026, nationwide) 7%*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Elementary school teachers generally teach multiple subjects, although some elementary school teachers will specialize in subjects. The subjects that elementary school teachers will typically specialize in are art, music, or physical education. Elementary school teachers prepare and deliver lessons, assign work to be completed both in the classroom and outside of the classroom, track student progress, and report this progress to parents. These teachers are typically responsible for escorting their classes to assemblies, recess, and classes taught in separate classrooms, such as art or physical education.

Tiered Certification

Teacher certification in Georgia is a tiered system. Certification at the first tier, the Pre-Service tier, is earned during the candidate's educator preparation program. The Pre-Service certification is required to do field work and clinical practice in Georgia institutions. The second tier is the Induction Tier. The Induction Certification is intended for educators with less than 3 years of teaching experience. The third tier and fourth tiers are, respectively, the Professional Certification tier and the Advanced & Lead Professional Certification tier.

Education

Those who want to teach in elementary schools in Georgia must have a bachelor's degree, ideally in early childhood education, elementary education, or another related field. They must also complete a Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC)-approved educator preparation program and take a course on identifying and educating exceptional children. In order to be admitted into an educator preparation program, candidates must pass the GACE Program Admission Assessment and the GACE Educator Ethics Assessment - Program Entry.

As part of their educator preparation program, students will complete field work and at least one semester of clinical practice (residency/internship). The Pre-Service certification, which is required to complete field work and clinical practice, is requested by the institution where the candidate is completing the educator preparation program. Candidates for elementary education certification will complete field experiences in grades PK-K, 1-3, and 4-5.

Induction Tier Certification

There are four pathways to certification at the Induction tier. The correct pathway for a candidate to utilize will depend upon whether the educator preparation program was completed in Georgia or out-of-state and if the program was completed along with the bachelor's degree. Those who completed their educator preparation program in conjunction with their bachelor's degree in the state of Georgia must next pass several assessments:

  • GACE Content Assessment: Elementary Education (PK-5) Certification
  • Educator Ethics Assessment - Program Exit Assessment
  • Content Pedagogy Assessment: Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA)

Advancement to the Professional Tier

Advancement to the professional tier requires three years' teaching experience in a Georgia institution. There are four different certificates at this level. The Standard Professional Certificate does not have additional requirements, unless the educator is seeking a service certificate. The Standard Professional Educational Leadership Certificate requires the candidate to complete a GaPSC-approved Tier I Educational Leadership program. The two Performance-Based certificates (Performance-Based Professional certificate and Performance-Based Professional Educational Leadership certificate) require the educator to earn a 'proficient' or 'exemplary' rating all three years on the TAPs component of their Teacher Keys Effectiveness System evaluation. In addition, the Performance-Based Professional Educational Leadership certificate requires the candidate to complete a Performance-Based Educational Leadership program and pass the GACE Educational Leadership content assessment, the Performance Assessment for School Leaders assessment, and the Ethics for Educational Leadership - Program Exit assessment.

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