How do I get a Teaching Certificate?

Article Details
  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 03 January 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

In the United States. most people who receive a teaching certificate do so at their state level, which means requirements may vary from state to state, and in fact there is some significant variance. In other countries, people can expect that getting a teaching certificate will be variable too, and depends on the country in which they live. To get specific instructions on training in varied locations look to state or country boards of education, which typically regulate how credentials and certificates are earned.

The usual path in the US is to possess a bachelor’s degree, or four-year education. This can be in a single subject, in which people might earn a single subject credential or might be in multiple subjects. The teaching certificate may license someone to teach, but specific studies at the undergraduate or graduate level may determine where that person teaches. Those wanting to teach in the primary grades must study subjects like early childhood education, and those wanting to teach single subjects like English or Math, pursue undergraduate degrees in those subjects.


In most states, the teacher certificate is earned by completing a teacher training program after the undergraduate degree has been earned. Some states or schools within a state may modify this slightly and offer a five or six-year undergraduate degree that results in readiness to attain a credential and includes all teaching training and supervised work. Students may also need to take exams that prove basic competency to teach, and these exams may have essay writing portions and math levels up to algebra. Teaching certificate programs may also result in a master’s degree in some schools, which can be beneficial since it typically translates to a higher starting pay.

During any teacher training, students will have practical experience in the varying grades, which will be supervised by other teachers. Once a program has been finished and any practical experience requirements are met, a person can apply for a teacher certificate. They usually need to submit to a background check, which can include fingerprinting.

Some people do a lot of teaching with a temporary teacher certificate. In some states people who possess only a bachelor’s degree and who have taken teacher competency tests may apply for these credentials. Temporary or emergency certificates may be good for up to a year and allow many people to work as substitute teachers. Private schools may or may not require certificates for teachers, though they very often do.

Being certified in one state doesn’t mean being certified in all. There are many states that recognize credentialing processes and programs in other states, however. In order to verify if a certificate from one state is valid in another, teachers can contact state education boards. They may be able to skip this step if they have completed additional requirements to get National Board Certification. This does involve having at least three years’ teaching experiencing, submitting portfolios subject to a review, and paying several thousand US Dollars (USD) for this review. Should teachers successfully attain certification, their teaching certificate is usually recognized in all states.



Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?