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Nowadays, it is particularly important to understand all of the options available and to be able to evaluate them through a nonbiased source, crucial both for planning a future in education and preparing for any tests that may be required along the way. Understanding requirements and regulations in the teaching certification area helps you understand some of the general principles behind the teaching certification system in the United States.
Once you understand what forces are at work behind the scenes of the current certification system, you will want to understand know how to navigate the system. One of the fundamental steps to receiving certification is the test everyone must pass after their academic preparation. This section provides an overview of the requirements and regulations governing teaching certification. The most important thing you need to know is that each state creates and maintains its own regulations and laws concerning teaching certification requirements.
While each state has its own teaching certification requirements, there are also a number of district programs that prepare teachers to practice their trade in a particular city or district. Before you begin to look through the other resources in this section regarding state requirements and regulations, and reasons for teacher certification, try to narrow your search to a single state. Now more than any other time, the individual teacher may choose his or her own path to teacher certification. After reading the guide, you will know how state regulations differ, depending on the subject you would like to teach. All of this information should help you begin to plot your own path to your professional certification. The process of training for a certificate and the regulations that govern that process differ depending on the state, as well as on a number of other factors. There is now a membership of states that have joined together to adhere to similar principles set forth by the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF), but even among the participating states, there are significant differences. In addition to subject and district, there are currently a number of countrywide programs that also provide alternate routes to obtaining teacher certification. No matter what certification program you attend, whether a college-sponsored program, an alternative route such as Teach for America, or a state-run program, you will need to receive your undergraduate degree at some point in the process. Teacher Certification State RequirementsIf you are thinking about pursuing a teaching certification then probably the most important thing to know is that each state has its own teaching certification requirements. There are many different approaches to teacher training as well as a number of different types of certification programs. It also includes tips for navigating the process and making some of the difficult decisions future educators face. One of the first things to decide when pursuing teacher certification is not when, why, how, or what, but rather where. Many of these district programs have been successful in preparing teachers because they join district-specific cultural knowledge to general teaching best practices. If you are interested in a particular district, look up teaching certification requirements within that district.
For example, there are a host of undergraduate- and graduate-level programs involving between four and six years of preparation before entrance to the classroom.
Once you throw in the facts that each state is different in its requirements and that each program is different, the information might be difficult to sort out. You will also see how your chosen subject will likely affect the steps you will take toward certification. For this reason, it is important to start your research by narrowing your teacher certification search to a single state. Teach For America is one of the better-known programs of this variety; it places college graduates in the classroom in a very short period of time. This resource provides information about teacher training, certification programs, and education to help anyone considering a career in K-12 education.
Pursuing a district-specific certification does not mean that you will be “stuck” teaching in that district for life.
If you have yet to pursue an undergraduate degree or are in the midst of obtaining one, this may be a great option for you. This guide aims to provide some helpful advice, real-world examples, and information on the current certification system.
In addition, you will understand some general rules of thumb regarding the prerequisites for obtaining teacher certification. Once you have narrowed your search, then you will be better able to use the information that follows. Nowadays, particularly if you are a professional with experience related to a given secondary school subject area, it can be extremely helpful to check district-led programs for what kind of teachers they need.
Immediately focusing on a particular state will make it much easier to research state-specific certification regulations and requirements.After you have narrowed your search down to a particular state, you will then want to consider the subject area in which you would like to teach.


District-specific programs also provide graduates with a certification for teaching throughout the state; after completing a district program, you can still pursue out-of-district teaching opportunities. On the other end of the spectrum, there are a number of alternate-route programs, which place individuals in a classroom after a summer of course work. Though there is a large variance between states, subjects, and programs, there are some basic similarities.
First, children will learn breathing techniques for relaxation, yoga poses and games as well as a full yoga curriculum teaching Tools For Life. For instance, a teacher in mathematics, special education, and sometimes (depending on the state) sciences will usually have more options in paths toward certification because of teacher shortages in these areas.These shortages can force the states to bend the rules a bit and provide for alternate routes toward certification. The last half of class is dedicated to:  Yoga Obstacle Courses!  Children will learn how to use a variety of different gym equipment while practicing their yoga poses. In some instances, it is possible for teachers to prepare for teaching over a single summer and enter their first classroom at the start of the new academic year, only a few months after they enter a certification program! In contrast, the usual path toward certification, involving either an undergraduate or a master’s program, requires years rather than months. One might think, reasoning that more preparation leads to greater success, that these different paths would produce very different qualities of teaching, the quicker routes yielding poor-quality teachers and the longer routes producing generally better teachers. However, studies conducted by teacher associations, private organizations, and federal grant programs have not yet found any concrete results.
If you are interested in learning more about particular programs, see the section of this guide entitled “What to Look for in a Certification Program,” which has a lot of information about what makes some programs work and what makes some fail. Many of these alternative certification programs become available to teachers who want to teach special education because of the recent rise in special education students in the United States. In the last thirty years, in fact, the number of students placed into special education programs has more than tripled, which means that the number of teachers required for special education has also tripled. As a result, there is a general shortage across the country of teachers certified to teach students who have been classified as learning disabled. For instance, many argue that professionals who are gifted in mathematics or science and graduate with a degree in a quantitative field can more easily find higher-paying occupations in which to use their skills.
However, many of these individuals who try out a given field for a few years are now turning to teaching as a career.
Alternate-route programs connect these individuals to their career in teaching effectively and quickly. This corresponds with the first standard but aims more specifically for developing new ways to assess classroom teaching skills. The process of certification is likely to change as a result, and particular routes to certification will open, close, and adjust to these changes. More resources will become available for teachers who have been in the field for a number of years.
Previously, advanced certificates have been given little weight, and this may change, leading to additional incentives for teachers to demonstrate improvements in their teaching expertise. This aligns with the fourth principle, offering a specific way to increase the number of teacher certification programs.
At a public school, your kids would receive instruction from teachers that your taxes pay for. Even if you send your kids to private school, your taxes still pay for public-school teachers. Teacher certification offers society some control over who is teaching kids.Increasingly, America has turned to its education system as a scapegoat for many of its problems.
Education spending has increased without any noticeable results, and citizens seem determined to place blame somewhere.
There are two easy targets: the students, who are apparently not learning enough, and the teachers, who are apparently not teaching effectively.
The certification of teachers has thus also come under increased scrutiny.Over the last century, a number of changes have been enacted in the certification process. The certification system of the nineteenth century gave a lot of control to the particular districts where teachers were going to teach. Many of these districts had their own programs, and teachers would graduate and then teach kids in the same area.Under this system, some districts were slipping through the cracks and providing poor education. So people wanted more control and more standardization of the education their kids’ teachers received.
As a result, teacher certification became centralized, under state, rather than district, control. States turned from district-specific programs to colleges and universities as the source of teacher education and certification. Instead of individuals being chosen by districts, groups of teachers were sent through state-led programs in either undergraduate- or graduate-level courses and certified to teach anywhere in the state.


More recently, the flaws of this system have also come under scrutiny, leading to even more changes.
Now, though many undergraduate and graduate programs are state run, there are an increasing number of alternate routes, which allow more people with diverse ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds to enter and graduate from teacher training. Many of these alternate-route programs also target experienced professionals, giving them a more efficient way to switch their careers. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so if your undergraduate GPA is below that range, do not hesitate to research the programs you are interested in and contact them directly to find out about obtaining teaching certification. For instance, Milwaukee’s Metropolitan Multicultural Teacher Education Program does not have GPA prerequisites.
Instead, they require one year of experience as either a paraprofessional or teacher’s aide.Another fairly common requirement, which also has exceptions, is that your undergraduate major be closely aligned to what you want to teach.
This requirement is particularly true for the liberal arts, less so for mathematics and the sciences.
Passing the Praxis II exam can be a requirement, as it is for New Jersey’s Provisional Teacher Program, though this is not usually the case. The Praxis series of tests is designed and implemented by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), one of the two major testing companies in the U.S.
Alternate routes are becoming more popular with professionals who have hands-on experience. Not-for-profit teachers’ organizations, such as Teach for America, offer training and placement, completely free of charge. Additionally, there are many calls, in specific districts or states, for particular types of teachers.
If a program advertises that it is paid personally, then you can expect to make a financial contribution toward the teaching certification process. Subject AreaIdeally, the requirements for obtaining teaching certification in all subject areas would be the same. In fact, the current teacher certification system, which has been evolving over the last thirty years, is in large part a reaction to teacher shortages in specific areas such as special education and mathematics.Teacher shortages such as these have forced states to allow emergency certification on a need basis. Emergency certification has typically been a shorter process, recruiting, training, and placing prospective teachers into classrooms within a period of a few months. Many of these emergency certification programs are now known as alternate routes to teaching certification. The number of students that are currently in special education programs is triple what it was thirty years ago. Some explanations for this steep increase center around the possibility that we are merely labeling more of our youth as special education students. This increase has changed the regulations surrounding special education teachers and is also changing the dynamic of the special education classroom.
To a lesser extent than the above two areas, some states and districts also have a shortage of science teachers. This makes teacher certification programs, traditional and otherwise, quite prevalent today. The good news is that you will have plenty of programs to choose from that will most likely help you obtain a teaching certification. The bad news is that selecting the right program may take a bit of research and time.Deciding which teacher certification programs to apply to will be a different process for everybody. Those who already know the state or district in which they want to teach may already be aware of a few of the better-known teacher programs in the state or district. However, even these teaching candidates should consider all of their options prior to making a decision. In today’s teaching world, certification programs tend to specialize in recruitment and placement. As a result, choosing a program is less about the quality of the teaching methods and more about what subjects and where a program’s graduates teach.
Keep in mind that this is a starting point and that there are many different activities associated with each of the steps. In fact, most will find it difficult to choose their list of programs within less than a week’s time. The process will be shorter for those who have already selected the precise district in which they would like to teach Step 1: Choose your preferred state of residence.



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