Becoming a Teacher in Georgia: Information and Requirements
Learn how to become a teacher in Georgia. Research the job description, as well as education and licensing requirements, and find out how to start a career as a teacher in Georgia.
Do I Want to Be a Teacher in Georgia?
Teachers instruct students through the use and adaptation of various methods, including discussions, lectures and demonstrations. These professionals can choose to teach in elementary, middle or high schools. Teaching can be a tiring and demanding profession, since teachers work on a daily basis with students who are often boisterous and sometimes disrespectful. Many teachers also find it to be rewarding, due to seeing students succeed and receiving positive feedback from parents. Teachers often get the summer months off, since their work schedules follow the school calendar.
The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) regulates teacher certification in the state. To become certified to teach in Georgia, aspiring teachers are required to earn a bachelor's degree in education or, if they already have a bachelor's degree in another field, complete a state-approved educator preparation program. Aspiring teachers should choose an appropriate undergraduate degree program based on the age group they plan to teach. After completing the required teacher preparation coursework, they will take an exam to obtain a Georgia teaching certificate. The following table contains the main requirements for being a teacher in Georgia:
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree is required; some teachers have a master's degree*|
|Degree Field||Early childhood education; middle grades education; subject areas such as English/language arts, mathematics or biology**|
|Certification||Must take a content assessment exam to acquire certification*|
|Experience||Fieldwork, student teaching internship**|
|Key Skills||Instructing, speaking, listening, social perceptiveness***|
Sources: *Georgia Professional Standards Commission, **Reinhardt University, ***O*Net Online
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Education or a Specific Subject Area
A bachelor's degree is the minimum level of education required to be eligible for teacher certification in Georgia. To enter a teaching program, students first need to take the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) basic skills exam or an equivalent exam, such as the ACT or SAT. Appropriate majors vary depending on the age of the students to be taught. For those who plan to teach in an elementary school, the major is usually early childhood education. Future middle school teachers can find middle grades education programs. Individuals who want to teach secondary school students usually major in the specific subject area that they're planning to teach, such as English, mathematics or social studies. Students are required to complete a student teaching internship for certification. In the final year of a degree program, students will need to take the GACE content assessment exams, which also are required for certification.
- Volunteer in a capacity that involves working with children. One volunteering possibility for individuals who plan to teach is tutoring. Future teachers can volunteer to work with children who are in the same age group as those they plan on teaching and/or in the subject they intend to teach.
- Seek work as a substitute teacher while attending college. Working as a substitute teacher when one's schedule permits can provide the opportunity to gain experience in the classroom and fine-tune the skills needed to be successful as a teacher, such as communicating effectively and managing a classroom. Additionally, being a substitute can allow future educators to learn from experienced professionals.
Step 2: Get Georgia State Certification
After finishing an approved teacher education program and taking assessment exams, graduates should be eligible to receive teacher certification in Georgia. To get certified, an individual needs to submit an application to be approved by the PSC. Prospective teachers who've achieved all of the requirements for certification will be eligible for a Clear Renewable Certificate, while those who may still need to meet some requirements will be issued a Conditional Certificate. There are three types of certificates classified by function: service, teaching and leadership. Additionally, teaching certificates are classified according to grade level as well as the educational attainment of the individual teacher. For example, a teacher with a bachelor's degree would receive a level 4 certificate, while one with a master's degree would receive a level 5 certificate.
Step 3: Continue Your Education with a Master's Degree
Although only a bachelor's degree is required to be eligible for certification as a teacher in Georgia, some teachers go on to earn a master's degree. Many universities in Georgia offer graduate degree programs for certified teachers who wish to continue their education. One common graduate degree program for professional educators is the Master of Education (M.Ed.). The M.Ed., which does not lead to certification, is designed for certified teachers who are interested in obtaining a higher level certificate or adding additional certification subject areas.
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