Education for Teachers
Teachers are well-educated professionals. The learning process for teachers is never complete.
However, there is a general path of education that most teachers follow. Those who know they want to enter teaching right away typically enroll in a bachelor's degree program for education. In most states, a bachelor's degree and certification (which go hand in hand at accredited colleges and universities) are the requirements needed for a first teaching job. Yet some states are now requiring master's degrees for beginning teachers.
Even if a teacher does not need a master's degree initially, many states require that teachers earn one within a given time frame. For example, a teacher may be given ten years to complete a master's degree program in education. A master's degree usually guarantees a teacher an increased salary.
Once a teacher has obtained a master's degree, the education process is still not finished. Most states require continuing education credits for licensure renewals. Some teachers decide to pursue a new degree in a related field. For instance, a teacher may work towards adding ESL certification. Otherwise, there are many workshops, online education opportunities, and local classes that offer the credits teachers need. The constant need for continuing education helps ensure that teachers stay up to date with the educational field, technology, and today's students.
For people who already have a degree in a field besides education, there are several routes to help them achieve certification in a timely manner.
Those interested in teaching in a field in which they already have a bachelor's degree can further their education and become certified by earning a master's degree in education. Usually, this only applies for teachers of core content or vocational areas at the secondary level. The National Center for Alternative Certification helps aspiring teachers earn their degree in a timely fashion.
Teach for America is a famous national program that takes top students from various fields and places them in a two-year teaching position in a high needs school. The participants go through a rigorous training experience and continue to learn on the job.
Troops for Teachers is another alternative education program. The goal is to provide service men and women who have fulfilled at least six years of military service with assistance obtaining the needed education and certification to become a teacher. Interested candidates may be able to complete the education requirements while they are still employed by the military. The amount of tuition reimbursed depends upon time spent in the military and commitment to teaching at least three years in a high-needs school setting.
There are many scholarship opportunities for education majors to help aspiring teachers earn their degrees. Local organizations often offer scholarships specifically for those entering the field of education. Check national organizations for additional opportunities.
For teachers who are willing to work in high need areas, some schools offer to pay a teacher's education debt in return for a commitment to teach at the school for a given number of years.
More information is available from the following resources.
The National Center for Alternative Certification
Teach for America
Troops to Teachers
The following resources offer scholarships information for aspiring teachers.
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards