What Are the Different Types of Teacher Qualifications?

Dan Cavallari

In order to become a teacher, a candidate will need to earn teacher qualifications that will prepare him or her for the rigors of the job. Most teachers will need to earn a college degree before they can be considered for certification, but some teacher qualifications can be earned without a degree. A substitute teaching credential, for example, usually requires that the candidate be working toward a college degree, and have a fingerprint clearance card. Teaching aides can also obtain qualifications while working toward a college degree.

In the United States, student teaching is a requirement for becoming a certified teacher.
In the United States, student teaching is a requirement for becoming a certified teacher.

A fully licensed teacher will need to have earned a college degree, and he or she will usually need to complete a teacher training program. These qualifications prepare the candidate for a certification exam, which is necessary for a teacher to obtain full-time work in a school. The certification exam is not included in the teacher training program; instead, the program prepares the teacher to take and pass the exam. Once completed, a teacher may be granted a provisional teaching certificate; additional teacher qualifications will be necessary for the teacher to earn the next level of certification. Additional coursework or other steps must be taken as the teacher works full-time to be granted a permanent certificate.

A fully licensed teacher will need to have earned a college degree.
A fully licensed teacher will need to have earned a college degree.

Sometimes teachers can earn additional teacher qualifications that will prepare them for various classroom situations. A special education teacher, for example, will work with high-need students with learning or emotional disabilities, as well as physical disabilities. Special certification is necessary in order to become a special education teacher, since the teacher will need to learn new teaching techniques specifically designed for students with various disabilities. English teachers often earn ESL or ELL certificates, too. ESL stands for English as a Second Language, and ELL stands for English Language Learners. Each type of certification prepares a teacher to work with students whose first language is not English.

Teachers often get hands on education in a classroom before becoming fully licensed.
Teachers often get hands on education in a classroom before becoming fully licensed.

If a teacher chooses to teach English in a non-English speaking country, he or she may need to earn specific teaching qualifications for teaching non-native speakers. A TEFL, or Teaching English as a Foreign Language, certificate is one such credential. Other similar credentials exist, though this is one of the more common ones. Teaching other subjects in various countries may require other certifications as well; a teacher will need to research the qualifications he or she will need in a particular country.

Fingerprinting is mandatory when applying for a teaching position.
Fingerprinting is mandatory when applying for a teaching position.

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