Choosing a Major
Teachers can teach different subjects at the preschool, elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels. The State Board of Education usually grants teacher licensure, and students should check their state's requirements before deciding on a major. Teacher's licenses are necessary to teach at public schools, though it may not be required to teach at most private schools.
Early Childhood Education
A major in early childhood education suits students intending to teach pre-kindergarten to third grade. This major teaches them to serve as a role model as well as an educator, since such teachers often play a vital role in the early development of children.
Individuals interested in teaching at the elementary level, which typically includes kindergarten through eighth grade, can major in elementary education. At this stage, education majors can specialize in a specific subject, including English, math, history or science.
Aspiring teachers who want to work with older students specialize in secondary education, which ranges from sixth to twelfth grade. They can also choose a specific liberal arts field to concentrate in, such as English literature, calculus, American history or physics.
A component that all education curricula include is student-teaching, which usually occurs during senior year. These field experiences place student-teachers in real classrooms with active students. Student-teachers gain hands-on training under the supervision of certified teachers. Many states require teachers to complete student-teaching to qualify for licensure.
Students intent on teaching at the college or university level need to pursue a master's degree or doctorate in graduate school. As undergraduates, they can major in whichever subject they would like to teach.