All about Teacher Education Programs
MANY STEPS are involved in becoming a teacher. The first one is to get the proper training. You must select a school that will meet the future demands of your profession. This chapter explains the requirements common to most teacher education programs in the United States.
Before you can begin your career as a teacher, you must acquire the necessary education. The good news is that many routes exist for you to get the teaching education you need. Depending on your current educational background, this could mean: obtaining a four-year college degree from an accredited teacher education program; or, if you already hold a college degree but it isn't in the education field, you can enroll in a teacher education graduate program; or you may only need to take a few specific education courses at an institution approved by your state department of education. Another option available to you is distance learning, which enables you to learn in your own home at your own pace.
While you have to complete a certain amount of teacher education in order to become certified as a teacher, you don't always need to obtain your full certification in order to land your first full-time teaching job. This is especially true in urban or rural areas where there is often a high demand for teachers.
No matter what your situation is—a high school student just starting out, a two- or four-year college student who has decided to go into teaching, or a college graduate deciding to change careers—you have to complete a teacher education program in order to be certified as a teacher. If you want to begin teaching immediately after college, without obtaining a graduate degree, you must attend a school that offers a program in your interest area that ensures you have the necessary educational credentials to obtain certification. If you want to study something more esoteric in your undergraduate years and still be able to teach, you can get a graduate degree with a concentration in education. Either way, you must have specialized training in education to obtain certification, get hired, and become a successful teacher.
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