Are You Qualified?
If you are graduating or have graduated from an accredited college with a department or college of education with an education degree, you have the background to become fully qualified as a teacher. If you have a bachelor’s degree in something other than education, most states have a way for you to become alternatively certified.
Teacher certification in all states requires taking specific tests (which cost money). PRAXIS tests are required in 39 states. The others have their own tests, but some that use PRAXIS also require their own tests. The only way to know what tests are required is to double check—get the requirements from your school of ed’s licensure or certification officer (ask in the school of ed office) and go to your state’s department of education web site.
If you plan to teach in a state other than the one where you are graduating, you will have to take the tests required in that state to attain certification there. To get more information on requirements in each state, see www.teacher.org.
If you are going to teach overseas, your state license from any state is usually what they require, so you will have to complete all the requirements and apply for your license as soon as possible so that you have it when you apply for a position.
See more about getting your certification at www.kdp.org/resources/preparingforcertifications.php
Each state can then require certifications that you have completed other necessary training such as Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) or bully prevention or suicide prevention.
See more about knowing what you need.
Applying for Your Teaching License
Remember that simply taking and passing all the required tests and certifications does not automatically make you a licensed teacher. You must apply for your license (and pay a fee). Don’t just sit and wait for it. Check on it after a couple of weeks if you have not heard anything. In many states, the school where you graduated has to approve it as well as the state department of education, so it may have gotten stopped or is waiting in a long queue. Your phone call or email will help you know if you are missing a vital piece and help it get moving through the process again.
The Other Requirement
Professionalism is the other requirement for being a teacher. Professionalism may start with what you wear and how you appear, but it envelopes how you talk to peers, colleagues, parents, and superiors; what you have on your social media; how you act in the teachers’ lounge; and even how you treat the janitors and school secretary and volunteers. Remember to be courteous to the person who calls to schedule your interview. Be respectful in the emails you write to the Human Resources Secretary. Always take the attitude that you are serving, but keep your eyes and ears open to gather as much information as possible.
Learn more at www.kdp.org/resources/beingprofessional.php