The requirements for becoming an elementary school teacher vary from state to state, however they are largely very similar. The only differences tend to be the name and type of exam that you must sit before you can become a fully qualified teacher.
Firstly, you’re going to need to have a bachelor’s degree. To be eligible for certification you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree in any subject – not necessarily in education or the subject that you’re going to teach, although both may help your application.
The traditional route to becoming an elementary school teacher involved going to a university and taking a degree that included an approved teacher education program. The advantage of this approach is that students could graduate and were immediately prepared to sit the exams required before becoming a fully qualified teacher.
The problem with having just this one route to certification was that it was tailored to young students who knew that they wanted to go into teaching from the outset and was no use to somebody who was perhaps working in another job and fancied changing their career to become an elementary school teacher. That’s why all States have an alternative path to certification. These are state approved programs that anyone can take to be taught about the science of pedagogy (essentially this is about classroom management, learning styles and generally how to teach effectively) and also to be prepared for the certification exams that you’ll sit at the end of the course.
So, the second part of the process to becoming an elementary school teacher is to go through an approved teacher education program – whether that be part of your degree program or separately through an alternative teacher certification program…Either works well.
Pass the Final Certification Examinations
This is where the path to certification varies quite heavily between states. In most states (not all), you are required to sit some certification examinations before you are officially a fully qualified teacher in that state. For example, in California you have to take the California exam and the THEA exam – the California exam is an exam that is specific to the subject that you want to teach (to test your subject matter expertise) and the THEA is an exam that is designed to test your ability as a teacher.
In some states you’ll also be required to take a basic skills test that is designed to make sure you have suitable knowledge and understanding of literacy, numeracy and other basics that all teachers should have.
Online Teacher Certification Programs
Online teacher certification programs are becoming very popular up-and-down the United States because people who want to become teachers no longer have to actually attend the physical classroom, instead they can actually learn from the comfort of their own home through the power of a computer and an Internet connection.
The system works through what is called webinars. Webinars and allow you to see and hear a teacher in a virtual classroom and it is just like being in a lecture theatre because you can see the white board, you can hear everything that he or she is saying and there is all sorts of interactive features — including things like questions.
These programs aren’t considered any less valuable than off-line teaching programs so therefore you won’t be in a disadvantaged position because you took an online training program as opposed to an off-line training programe.California online teaching certification programs cost pretty much the same as an off-line teaching certification program and the payment process is very similar. Lots of online teaching certification programs allow you to make a down payment upfront and then pay off the remaining balance after you have become a teacher and on a monthly basis.
This makes the whole course a lot more affordable and accessible for the majority of the population who don’t necessarily have a four figure sum that they can put upfront for the training.
I do have a word of warning about online to justification programs that and that is that if you want the kind of person who can motivate yourself and work on your own then this may not necessarily be the right course to you. It takes a very special type of person to be able to learn through all webinar and motivate yourself to do the required homework.The length of the online certificate shall program is exactly the same as the off-line program and comes in at about one year. During this time you’ll be able to study in your own time because of the distance learning nature of the course so if you do happen to have another part-time job or other daily commitments then the online program may be a better alternative to the off-line program.
Once you’ve completed your online certification you will then be examined for the grade and course that you wish to teach. Many prospective teachers don’t know exactly what they want to do at the start of the course, so therefore there are many teaching professionals on hand to help advise the direction of your career and this will help you understand exactly what it is you want to teach and at what level.
The final thing I’ll say is that you can apply to any number of CSULB online certification programs risk-free — they will give you a complete assessment and you won’t have to pay a penny for it. So I recommend that you apply for a couple of programs, communicate with the organizers and then choose which one takes your pick.
Finally, I want to wish you all the best in your endeavor to become a teacher in the US!