But what certifications and endorsements are typically required? It depends on the state.
Every state requires a unique combination of degrees, certifications, in-classroom experience and/or assessments before awarding licensure. However, it’s nearly universal for all teachers to at least hold a bachelor’s degree.
For people interested in teaching, the first place to start researching requirements would be their state’s Department of Education website. “States use different lingo,” Keegan says. “Some call them licenses, others call them certifications.” For most states, the terms are interchangeable. Also, it’s typical that state licenses must be renewed every five years.
Keegan explains that new teachers typically have more steps than those who have already received licenses in the past. Before entering a classroom, they may have to:
- Log observation hours
- Intern in a full-time student-teaching role
- Pass various exams about their subjects
- Pass a background check, before entering a class
One important exam is the Praxis® test, which measures teachers’ knowledge of the subjects they intend to teach. According to the National Education Association, exams are pass/fail but provide additional information to the test takers about their performance relative to other aspiring educators who take the same exam.
The Praxis tests are not the only assessments that states use to certify teachers. Some states require teachers to pass separate, state-specific competency exams.
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