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How Do I Become a Psychology Teacher?

An advanced degree is typically required to become a psychology teacher.
A psychology teacher could teach at the high school level.
Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Typically, a person will have to pursue an advanced degree if he wants to become a psychology teacher. In most cases, an individual has to attend college and then graduate school, earning a master’s degree in psychology in order to teach this subject. If he wants to teach as a full-time college professor, he may find a doctoral degree a better choice.

Most elementary and middle schools don’t hire teachers to teach psychology alone. Some high schools may hire psychology teachers to instruct students bound for college or careers in which the subject may prove helpful, however. The requirements for becoming a teacher in one of these settings vary from place to place. In some places, a person who wants to become a psychology teacher needs to earn a bachelor’s degree in education or another subject, with a minimum number of psychology credits included. Others may prefer teachers with bachelor’s degrees in psychology instead.

Usually, a prospective psychology teacher must enroll in a teacher preparation program to secure the training necessary for instructing students in a classroom setting. Prospective teachers may also have to take certification exams and seek licensing from the local educational authority. Licensing requirements vary, but often require not only degrees and testing, but also background and criminal history checks.

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More often, a person who wants to become a psychology teacher does so by pursuing a career at a college or vocational school. Such positions require the candidate to earn an advanced degree, such as a master’s degree or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) rather than stopping after graduating from an undergraduate program. Often, the minimal requirement for becoming a psychology professor is a master’s degree with at least 15 or so psychology credits. This means a person may become a professor in this field without earning a psychology degree. He may instead opt to earn a related degree, such as one in counseling or sociology, as long as he also earns a significant number of psychology credits.

If a person hopes for a full-time, tenured position as a college psychology professor, he will usually go on to earn a Ph.D. instead of stopping with a master's. It is worth noting that a person may choose to become a psychology teacher after working in the field for many years as well. Instead of opting for teaching right after graduation, some people pursue teaching jobs when they desire a career change.

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