When you are creating a career plan to work in education, knowing how long it takes to become a teacher is a must. There is a growing need for teachers all throughout the nation, and this has created multiple pathways for prospective educators who want to get licensed as quickly as possible. You can either travel down the traditional route, earn your degree, and test for licensure, or you can choose an alternative one that allows you to switch fields without spending a great deal of time in school.
How long it will take you to earn your teaching certificate will depend on what you want to teach, where you want to teach, and your current education level. If you want to know all of the options, read this guide to becoming a teacher and learn what you need to know to start your planning.
How Long Does the Traditional Pathway Take to Complete?
If you are fresh out of high school or you are in a field that does not require a degree, the traditional pathway will take as long as it takes for you to earn a bachelor’s degree and a certificate. The requirements to earn your teaching certificate will depend on the state where you want to teach permanently. Almost all states require you to have no less than a four-year degree from an accredited institution. Most students will earn their degree in education, but you can also choose a subject area you want to teach with a minor in education.
Some states with education degree programs include a teacher’s education program within the undergrad program. Other states require you to get a bachelor’s degree first and then take the teacher’s education program separately, according to Synonym.
This separate program is like an apprenticeship where you will work in a classroom under the supervision of a licensed teacher. It is as if you work as a teacher assistant so that you can get the professional experience required before you can test for a certificate. If you attend school full-time, you can earn a bachelor’s in four years and complete the teacher’s program in 12 to 24 months.
Getting an Alternative Teacher Certification
If you already have a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field and you want to enter the field of teaching, it will not take an entire 5 to 6 year period before you can take a licensing test. Instead, you can travel down an alternative certification pathway where you can put your accredited degree to use. Alternative paths make it possible for you to teach in public schools after proving they have the basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. To do this you must take a special course or a test and then a subject test. How long this takes depends on your skills and the state that you plan teaching in.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a growing demand for teachers and the field is expected to grow by as much as 12 percent. With so many shortages reported throughout the nation, becoming a teacher does not take as long as it once did for candidates who are a good match. Use your education level and experience level to determine how long it takes to become a teacher, and then you can start mapping out the right route.