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Before becoming teachers, the last step for most education students is to become certified. Teacher certification is only possible once the new teacher has proven that he or she has completed all of the qualifying steps, a different process in almost every state. Most of the major requirements for teacher certification, however, are similar.
The first major requirement for teacher certification is education. Students must have a Bachelor's degree before becoming teachers. In most states, it is possible to get a temporary license after this degree, but the teacher would need to upgrade to a professional, permanent license within a few years. To get the permanent license, teachers need to complete a credential program in education.
As part of the education required to receive teacher certification, students must have received a certain amount of teaching experience. Student teaching, normally performed during the credential program, provides the experience that the students need to meet this requirement. During student teaching assignments, the students generally start by just observing the classroom, but eventually move up to teaching the class by themselves. Student teachers work in classrooms similar to the one they will eventually be teaching by themselves in. For example, a student interested in teaching high school science would be placed in a high school science class.
After receiving a degree in education, there are a few more classes new teachers are usually required to attend. Most states require that teachers take a course in noticing and reporting signs that a child has been neglected or abused before becoming licensed. Other courses may include a first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course or a course in recognizing the signs of substance abuse.
Before becoming a teacher, students must take and pass a licensing test or series of tests. These exams will test the teaching student's knowledge of the area they want to teach, such as history, languages, or math, as well as teaching skills and other relevant material. Some states also require the applicant to submit a video demonstrating his or her teaching skills in a real classroom. These tests prove that an applicant is ready for teacher certification.
Even though each state has its own teaching license requirements, many states saw the benefits behind reciprocal acceptance of other state's teaching licenses. In fact, 39 states have an agreement stating that they will honor the licenses of teachers from other states. Among this list of states are New York, New Jersey, Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, and Tennessee. Although there may be a couple added requirements for teacher certification when moving state to state, they are minimal and easily completed to get education students on the path to their first year of teaching.