Summary of Qualifications for Teachers

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Most teachers are required to take a Praxis exam to become certified to teach.
Most teachers are required to take a Praxis exam to become certified to teach. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Stepping foot inside a classroom as a teacher can be a terrifying experience if you're not properly trained. To ensure you're prepared to be a teacher, you must meet several qualifications prior to your first day in class. The qualifications to become a teacher vary depending on the state and grade you teach.

Education

The first qualification teachers must have is a well-rounded education. Teachers must have a high school diploma and a bachelor's degree. Usually students who want to become teachers will major in education and minor in the subject they want to teach, weather that be English, math, science, foreign language or other, according to Education Portal. Elementary school teachers are not required to have a minor or specialize in a subject, while often secondary school teachers are. While in college, education majors usually decide if they want to teach elementary or secondary school and then gain education specifically geared toward teaching students of that age group. Students must take psychology courses and curriculum courses.

Assistant Teaching

Usually prospective teachers must complete two years of assisting an extant veteran teacher in the classroom. Such fieldwork provides a real work environment experience where the prospective teacher can get mentoring on how to teach a classroom. Such assistant-teaching mentoring takes place once a week or up to five days or half days a week and, often while the prospective teacher is attending college if the prospect is an education major, according to Teacher Mentors. During the training, the teacher and the potential teacher work together to create a learning environment.

Licensing

All teachers in public schools must be licensed and take the licensing test that is required by the state. Private schools sometimes do not require licenses. The licensing test makes sure teachers know the basic skills involved in the subjects they are teaching. This test is called a Praxis. Alternative licensing programs are available for those who want to teach but did not major in education in college. If you want it, you can attain this alternative license within a year or two. Extra certification for teaching in technology or national degrees of certification is not required but is often encouraged, according to to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Special Education Teachers

Special Education teachers must have special education teacher training on top of all of the other qualifications a teacher is required to have. Special Education training prepares a teacher for needs that some students will have in the classroom, how to moderate lessons for those students' individual needs and how to relate to them. The training also prepares them to deal with the large amount of paperwork they must complete to track a student's progress. In addition, some states require that special education teachers have Master's degrees.

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