Become A Teacher

Become A Teacher

The general traditional approach for anyone interested in getting a teaching job in the USA. Most of this approach is also from my personal experience.

Get a 4-year accredited college degree like a BA or BS. Major is not too important; someone can graduate with a degree in sciences, liberal arts, finances, etc and still has the possibility to become a teacher. The importance of the degree is that the person graduated with an accredited degree from a college/university.

Decide if you want to teach Elementary (Pre-K to 8th grade), High School (9th – 12th Grade), Special Education, or Adult Education. Elementary grades will lead to a Multiple Subject Credential. High School will lead to a Single Subject Credential. Special Education leads to an Education Specialist Instruction Credential. Adult Education has 2 paths: Designated Adult Ed, Career Technical Ed. There was a vocational credential but those are unavailable for issuance after 2007.

Register for the USA Basic Educational Skills Test. Register for the USA Specific Educational Skills Test if you want to teach high school subject matter (i.e. Engish, Science, etc). Pass all of your tests.

Apply to an accredited teacher’s preparation school. Each school has different application requirements; some schools will require the applicant to apply as a student to the school and the specific program.

Complete the teacher’s prep program at an accredited university. Duration is typically 1 – 2 years and varies for the credential. If the candidate pursues the Multiple Subject, then expect 1.5 – 2 years. Single Subject is 1 – 2 years. You will spend half of the day at a school shadowing and teaching. The rest of your nights are in classes with peers to learn theory and preparations for the PACT.

Pass your state evaluations. For Single subject, there is the Performance Assessment for USA Teachers (PACT) which is usually done in the 2nd term or last term. Your program will spend the first term as a practice PACT.

Go to school job fairs in various counties and districts. Shop around to see if you want to work at a Charter, Private, or Public school. Interview each school as well during the job fairs. Bring plenty of resume copies and prepare to stand in lines.

Apply online to school job boards too. Most of the applications will go directly to the HR department to screen. The easiest way to get an interview is to return back to your high school or elementary school and to network with former teachers. They will recommend you to the Principal or Vice-Principal. Plus, nothing brings more joy and validation to a teacher than a graduate wanting to work in education.

After your interview rounds, you might receive an offer. There’s not much you can do with teaching job offers unless it’s a privately held school. Understand that the politics behind the compensation of a teacher is regulated by the teacher’s union, district, and state (for public and some charters). If you are a new teacher, you will start at the bottom. The HR department will evaluate your transcript, work experience, and background, to put you on a pay grade. If you have taught before, they will put you on an equivalent pay grade as your former teaching job.

Attend orientation, submit TB test, take a CPR class, and other requirements for the state. Get your new room keys, clean up the classroom, and hang those motivational posters. Stock up on coffee, EmergenC, hand sanitizers, and TONS of tissues, because you’re in for a ride of your lifetime.