How Long Does it Take to Become a Teacher in USA – (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 4-5 years

A teacher must be licensed and regulated by the state they wish to teach in. They also need to make sure that they maintain their license through a continuing education program or CE program.

Teacher licensing includes a background check and a certain timeframe that the teacher undergoes supervised student teaching. This can be approximately one year.

There are usually two ways to be a certified teacher. One way is to attend college and major in teaching either elementary, middle, or high school.

Another way is to attend college for any other subject and then try to become a teacher. Each state has its requirements, but these are the basics.

Minimum Requirements to become a Teacher in the USA
Degree – Education FieldDegree – Any Other Field
4-year DegreeXX
Student Teaching XX
Professional Experience X
Teacher Prep Program

X

How Long Does It Take to Become a Teacher in the USA?

To become a teacher in the USA requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree which can take 4-5 years. The person also needs to obtain a teaching certificate for the state they wish to teach in.

The bachelor’s degree is usually in education. Each course is one semester in length which is approximately 10 -12 weeks.

The types of courses vary based on the type of teaching the student wishes to pursue upon graduation. Almost all teaching degrees will require an Instructional Planning course.

This course will train the student on how to create a curriculum for the student as well as a teaching plan which outlines what will be taught and the length of time spent on each topic.

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This certificate is simply filling out information to show that they have completed all the requirements. After completing the application for the certificate, it is also required to undergo at least a year of supervised teaching.

This is when someone from the certification board visits the applicant’s classroom and observes how they teach to determine if they would make a good teacher. Normally when this is done, the applicant is considered a student-teacher and not a full-fledged teacher until he/she obtains their certificate.

A bachelor’s degree is required if the person wants to teach elementary, middle, or high school students. However, if the applicant would like to teach college students then the minimum requirement is a Master’s degree.

Minimum Degree Requirement to Teach a Certain Grade in the USA
 
Bachelor DegreeMaster Degree   Doctorate
Elementary School TeacherX  
Middle School TeacherX
High School TeacherX
Community CollegeX
University Professor X

Why Does It Take This Long to Become a Teacher in the USA?

It is important that those who teach the students are knowledgeable in the subjects that they teach the students. It is also important that teachers learn how to teach those students. Obtaining a degree and deciding to teach students does not just involve telling them what you know but it involves getting through to them so that they want to learn.

This type of thinking requires a higher level of exposure than high school can provide therefore, a teacher must undergo up to 4 years of learning to obtain a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. Also, if a teacher does not have higher qualifications than the ones they are teaching then, the students may not feel as if the teacher is qualified to teach them.

Teachers also undergo other training needed to deal with the day to day activities and changes that occur throughout the school year.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02607476.2017.1296562
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0742051X05000405
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