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What degree do you need to become a teacher?

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Things you can consider for this specific question...

What is the minimum degree required to become a teacher?
Can you attain a higher degree and still be a teacher?
Do different types of teachers require different types of degrees?
If you are a teacher, what kind of teacher are you, and what kind of degree did you earn?

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Deidre Mercedes’s Answer

Normally studying to be a teacher requires a Bachelor's degree in the subject area you are most interested in teaching, for example, History, English, Spanish, etc. Then once you have completed the requirements for your degree then you have to seek certification to become a licensed teacher in your state or the state of your choice. Some state certifying boards may require you to do some additional courses but usually you will need to sit an exam or exams to qualify for your teacher licensed. In the state of Georgia where I reside, you have to do a kind of general knowledge exam called GACE, it used be the Praxis Exam but they changed it, plus another test or two in your subject area. After passing these exams then you are awarded what is called a renewable certification. This is like a permanent license that allows you to teach in the state but you have to renew it every five years or so to keep your license current. Some colleges and universities also offer a teacher certification track with the subject area you major in if your plan is to go into teaching. That helps make the process easier for you because that way you know you are definitely on track to become a licensed teacher when you have finished your course of study. It may take a little longer to complete because you are doing your education courses in addition to the subject area courses but when you're done you're done.


Now, if you are thinking about Elementary Education like my daughter, or Early Childhood Education, then you have to do all your courses through the School or Department of Education at your college. In this case, you will graduate with a degree in education. If you are absolutely certain that you want to go in education, then I would advise you do get an Bachelor's in Education rather than a subject area. Doing a degree in History, etc gives you more option, in that you do not necessarily have to go into teaching, although most graduates end up teaching anyway, at least in the beginning of their post-college life but if you take that route and decide you want to teach after all then you can get your certification. However, I would advise you to get a degree in Education especially if you want to teach a core subject area such as Math, Science, English and Social Studies.

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John I.’s Answer

There are a couple of levels of "teacher" which should be addressed:


K-12: Typically require a bachelors degree OR in some cases, a teaching certification

Higher Education: Teachers are usually assigned students who are one level below.

Ex. Teachers with Masters degrees typically teach undergraduates & teachers with completed doctoral degrees (or in progress) typically work with graduate students, at a minimum. It's possible to mix and match, so long as the teacher has a degree higher than the students.


Teachers are encouraged to teach subject areas which are related in some way to there background and experience. For example, a technology instructor would typically have a degree in some technical area or specialty (software, databases, networking, security)


I'm a web development teacher/instructor @ Georgia Tech's Professional Education Dept, which is a long way of saying "I teach people who want to learn in classrooms, but don't want to enroll at the university". Students pay for their own classes, but sometimes students' employers will pay for the class, if the learning benefits the student's contribution to their company.


I have 6 degrees: Associate of Art in Mathematics, Associate of Science in Computer Science, Bachelor of General Studies, Master of Science in Human Computer Interaction, MBA, and a Master of Science in Entrepreneurship.


I don't consider this track to be typical in any way, but I believe each and every curriculum has helped me become an effective instructor and motivational teacher for adult students.



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Kelly’s Answer

The university generally has the required course work to become a teacher in the state of the university. Some states do not require an education degree whereas other states, like Kansas, offer you a temporary degree and requires you to obtain a master degree within 5 years to remain a teacher. In my state, you have a choice. You can obtain an Early Childhood teaching certificate that allows you to with children 3 years of age to Kindergarten. Elementary certification that allows you to teach first grade through 6th grade and Secondary that allows you to teach 7th through 12th grade. Texas also has an All-Level certificate that applies to some specialties such art, music, etc. Individuals with bachelor degrees receive a provisional certificate and those with a master degree receive professional certificates. You may also receive specialist composite certification in math, science, etc.

But as I started my answer, you college or university will guide you through the coursework you need. Also, in Texas, you must pass Teacher Competency testing by passing a general test and then core testing.

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