Should I Become a Spanish Teacher?
Individuals who wish to combine their love of foreign language with a passion for teaching may enjoy a career as a Spanish teacher. A bachelor's degree program in Spanish will give students an in-depth understanding of the Spanish language, including translation, diction and history. In addition, coursework in education will delve into the foundations of teaching and best practices for how to assist students in their study of foreign language.
Because many college programs now require a level of proficiency in foreign language for acceptance, high schools are now offering more foreign language courses. However, some students may be resistant to learning a foreign language or could find the task difficult, making this teaching job sometimes challenging. The potential rewards are worthwhile though, as teachers can observe their students' progress toward speaking fluent Spanish.
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|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Spanish, Spanish Education|
|Licensure and Certification||License or certification in teaching is required|
|Experience||Teaching experience is helpful|
|Key Skills||Instructing, Public Speaking, Listening, Planning|
|Salary||$56,310 (2014 Median Salary for High School Teachers, Varies by State)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; O*Net Online.
Step One: Research Schools and Programs
Before enrolling in a Spanish program, make sure to do some research, as not all programs are equal. Some may have a broader course catalog, more study abroad options, and a larger Spanish-speaking faculty. Other programs may require that you spend time abroad in order to complete a degree, which may not be feasible for all students. If being able to complete part of the degree online is a priority, make sure that a program offers online courses. All of these are important factors to consider before selecting a program.
Step Two: Complete the Degree
In order to become a Spanish teacher, students commonly have one or two. They can complete a bachelor's degree in Spanish or a bachelor's degree in Spanish education. A degree program in Spanish will give students the ability to fluently speak the language and will focus on aspects of Spanish culture. Aspiring teachers in these programs usually need to minor in education to gain the necessary preparation for teaching certification. Comparatively, students in a Spanish education program will also study the language, in addition to taking courses focused on leading a classroom and teaching Spanish to non-native speakers.
While neither of these programs is typically available online, students can complete some of the required courses through online study. Core courses for a bachelor's degree in Spanish education include Spanish diction and conversation, Latin American literature, linguistics and composition. In a bachelor's degree program in Spanish, some core courses include translation, Spanish civilization, and history of Spanish language.
- Take Advantage of Study Abroad Opportunities. Although not all programs require students to study abroad, most programs highly recommend the additional training. Students who continue their education in Spanish-speaking countries gain cultural exposure and intensive language practice. Being immersed in the language for an extended period of time will help solidify the speaking and comprehension skills that students learned during their education process.
Step Three: Get Licensed or Certified to Teach
Students who complete a bachelor's degree in education must be licensed or certified by the state they plan on teaching in. The BLS reported that state requirements differ somewhat, but all teachers must complete the minimum of a bachelor's degree and an approved teacher education program to earn licensure.
Students who obtain a bachelor's degree in Spanish and want to teach may need to earn a subject credential in Spanish, particularly if they want to teach in a secondary school. In order to become a credentialed Spanish teacher, students must file necessary paperwork and meet other state-specified eligibility requirements. Most states list the requirements on their department of education websites.
Step Four: Consider Pursuing a Master's Degree to Advance Your Career
The BLS noted that while teachers can find jobs with only a bachelor's degree, earning a master's degree will increase their odds of landing a job and expand their opportunities, as some states do require a master's for foreign language instruction. Certain master's degree programs in education with a Spanish teaching focus are offered online, allowing students to complete a master's degree without ever attending on-campus classes. Core courses in a Spanish master's degree program include Spanish linguistics, grammar and composition and teaching Spanish.