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How to Become a Georgia Science Teacher

Science teachers instruct students in the scientific method, earth science, physics, chemistry, biology, and other fields of scientific inquiry. Read on to learn how to earn middle grades (4-8) and high school (6-12) science teaching certification in the state of Georgia.

Teaching Science in Georgia: Job Description, Education, and Certification

Science teachers in Georgia teach in middle schools and in high schools. Certification for teaching science in middle school covers grades 4-8, but most middle schools in Georgia run from grades 6-8. High school certifications cover grades 6-12, but most high school science teachers in Georgia will teach in grades 9-12. This article will provide a job description and the steps to Induction-tier science teaching certification in Georgia.

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 Assessment - Program Entry
GACE Content Assessment: History
Educator Ethics Assessment - Program Exit
Content Pedagogy Assessment: edTPA
License Validity Period Induction Certificate: 3 years
Mean Salary for Teachers in Georgia (2018)* $58,190 (Middle School), $58,050 (High School)*
Job Growth for Teachers (2016-2026, nationwide)* 8% (Middle School), 8% (High School)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Middle school science teachers in Georgia typically teach general science courses. Science teachers in high school generally teach more focused courses in the sciences, such as physics, chemistry, and biology. Science teachers instruct students in methods of scientific inquiry and the evaluation of scientific research and results. Science courses often include hands-on work within the classroom and sometimes outside of the classroom, along with traditional lectures, in-class and out-of-class assignments and projects, and exams. Teachers also design course materials, projects, and exams; meet with students; assess student work; report on student progress; and may be involved in extracurricular activities.

Georgia Certification System

Georgia has a tiered certification system with four tiers: Pre-Service, Induction, Professional, and Advanced & Lead Professional. The Pre-Service Certification is required for the completion of field work and clinical practice in a Georgia institution during the candidate's educator preparation program. The primary focus of this article will be on the second tier, the Induction Certification, as this is the first teaching certification most candidates will work towards in order to get their first teaching position in Georgia. There are four pathways defined for certification at the Induction level, each specifying different criteria for certification depending on whether a candidate has completed the educator preparation program in Georgia or out of state and if a candidate has completed the educator preparation program in conjunction with the bachelor's degree. This article will focus on candidates who completed their educator preparation program in Georgia and in conjunction with their bachelor's degree programs.

Education

Aspiring science educators must first earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and complete a Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC)-approved educator preparation program, during which they will complete field work and clinical practice. Students must pass two assessments in order to be admitted to an educator preparation program: the GACE Program Admission Assessment and GACE Educator Ethics Assessment - Program Entry. Pre-service Certification for field work and clinical practice will be requested for the candidate by his or her educational institution. Candidates for middle grades (4-8) certification will complete field work and clinical practice at grade levels 4-5 and 6-8. Candidates for high school (6-12) certification will complete field work and clinical practice at grade levels 6-8 and 9-12.

Certification at the Induction Tier

In order to certify at the Induction tier, candidates must take the GACE Content Assessment that corresponds to their teaching area and grade level:

  • Candidates for Middle Grades (4-8) - Science: Middle Grades Science
  • Candidates for Biology (6-12): Biology
  • Candidates for Chemistry (6-12): Chemistry
  • Candidates for Earth/Space Science (6-12): Science
  • Candidates for Geography (6-12): Geography
  • Candidates for Physics (6-12): Physics
  • Candidates for Science (6-12): Science

Candidates must also pass the Educator Ethics Assessment - Program Exit Assessment, which is designed to assess both ethical knowledge and the ability to apply ethical norms and regulations within an educational context. Candidates are also required to pass the Content Pedagogy Assessment: Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA), which requires candidates to create a teaching portfolio and answer prompts which will have them reflect upon effective teaching methods and their teaching philosophy. Finally, candidates must complete a course on identifying and educating exceptional children, which must be inclusive of students with physical, behavioral, intellectual, and behavioral disabilities and gifted students.

Advancement to the Professional Tier

There are four certifications that can be earned at the Professional tier, all of which require three years' teaching experience in a Georgia institution. The Standard Professional Certificate only requires additional materials if the educator is seeking a service certificate. In order to advance to the Standard Professional Educational Leadership Certificate, the educator must complete a GaPSC-approved Tier I Educational Leadership program. Both the Performance-Based Professional Certificate and the Performance-Based Professional Educational Leadership Certificate require the educator to earn a 'Proficient' or 'Exemplary' rating on the TAPS component of the statewide Teacher Keys Effectiveness System evaluation all three years of teaching. In addition, educators who want the Performance-Based Educational Leadership Certificate must complete a GaPSC-approved Performance-Based Educational Leadership program, pass the GACE Educational Leadership content assessment, and pass the Performance Assessment for School Leaders.