How to Become a Teacher at 40

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It is never too late to fulfill your dream of becoming a teacher.
It is never too late to fulfill your dream of becoming a teacher. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Beginning a teaching career at 40 can present some challenges, but it is not impossible. If you already have a degree, you may be able to transfer some of your college hours to your new professional choice and decrease the number of classes you must take to receive your teaching credentials. Many schools offer evening and weekend classes if you work during the day, and financial aid is available to students regardless of their age. Some states grant conditional teaching certificates to applicants who have a Bachelor's degree in an area of study where the state needs teachers.

Traditional Certificate

Apply for a job as a substitute teacher. If you have never taught before, substituting for different classes and age groups can help you decide your career path.

Order your educational transcripts from any schools you previously attended. If you are enrolling at a college you attended in the past, it will have the information regarding your previous education.

Apply for admittance at the school of your choice. Community colleges are less expensive than four-year colleges if you have not gone to college before and need to take the basic courses such as English and History.

Meet with your guidance counselor to receive advice on what classes you must take and options for financial aid.

Apply for admittance into your school's teaching program. You may have to wait until your sophomore year to gain admittance into the program if you are going to a four-year college, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Apply to take The Praxis Series test. Most states require teachers pass The Praxis Series test before granting their state teaching license.

Apply for state licensing. States vary in their licensing requirements and change them often, according to the University of Kentucky. Contact the Department of Education in your state to determine its rules and regulations for obtaining your state license.

Apply for a teaching position at several different schools. While most schools need teachers, budget cuts can make it difficult to gain employment.

Conditional Certificate

Consult the Board of Education in your state to discover if your state grants conditional certificates. These are often pursued by professionals from business or other non-education occupations who want to become educators.

Receive approval from your local school district to apply for a conditional license.

Apply for a conditional license in your area of expertise. You will only be able to teach classes that correspond to your degree such as English, Mathematics or Science.

Apply for teaching positions after you receive your conditional license.

Tips & Warnings

  • Your state may require its teachers belong to a teacher's association. These associations provide access to the liability coverage you must have to teach in most schools.
  • The conditional license is good for a limited time - to continue teaching after its expiration you must follow your state requirements for gaining full licensure.
  • While the draw of 40-hour weeks and two months vacation each year encourages many adults to enter the teaching profession, working more than 40 hours is normal for many teachers.
  • Teachers typically provide their classrooms with many supplies that school systems do not reimburse.

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