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5 Steps To Earning A Teaching Degree & Starting Your Career

Reviewed by Jon Konen, District Superintendent

Do you want to know the requirements for becoming a teacher, but don’t know where to begin? It can seem so confusing, with so many paths towards a degree, so many career options, and the complicated necessity of navigating state requirements – it can seem daunting. You could make a list of 100 things you need to think about and do to become a teacher. To make it simple, we decided to spell out these 5 steps to becoming a teacher that outline the process in a simpler fashion.



If you’re asking yourself “I want to be a teacher, where do I start?” Here you go…

  • Decide your end goal. What kind of teacher do you want to be? Is it your passion for a particular subject, or the want to help a particular age group of students grow and develop their passion for learning? Before you can chart your course, you need a destination. Figure this out before you research salary prospects. We know money is important. But it shouldn’t drive your decision to teach. You will learn this is not an easy profession. You must be passionate and dedicated. That said, you should also be flexible while working towards you goals. Sometimes the perfect teaching position isn’t available, and you have to make adjustments along the way.
  • Talk to schools that offer education programs. Earning your degree is a must if you want to teach in any state. All 50 states have some kind of degree and examination requirements for certification. Some students earn education specific degrees, while others earn a bachelor’s in a non-education subject and earn their certification from there. Schools that prepare educators in your state have experience mapping student success. They can help you create a manageable schedule, timeline for completion, and help you transition to the front of the classroom after you complete your degree.
  • Pass your state’s examinations. Around 40 states require teachers pass the examinations provided by Praxis, an interactive online administered testing agency. These tests are a license requirement because they help ensure teachers have the skills to lead in the classroom. These exams cover core academic skills, subjects’ assessments, and K-12 content knowledge.
  • Become familiar with your local school districts or colleges. Before you complete your education you will need to learn what it’s like to work in the role you want. Look for student teaching jobs in the school where you want to work. Network with teachers and administrators who work at there, if you can. This will help you develop relationships with people who can help you move forward in your teaching career.
  • Prep your resume and interview skills. The last step is making sure you’re on point when it’s time for your big interview. You’ll want to have your resume prepared, and looked over by someone with professional experience. After all your hard work, you can’t afford to let a typo or an unprofessional resume trip you up. You’ll also want to practice interview questions, and make sure to dress appropriately. Many schools will help you prepare for this transition – and include it as part of their degree completion.

This is just an outline of how to get a teaching degree and start leading in the classroom. If you know what kind of teacher you would like to be, then take the next step and speak with schools in your area to choose the right program!

infographic of how to become a teacher