Online Spanish Teacher Certification Information

Jan 16, 2020

Find out about online Spanish teacher certification courses and in which degree programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info, and online requirements to make an informed decision.

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Essential Information

Program Levels Bachelor's degree; graduate certificate programs for native speakers and those with a bachelor's but no teaching credentials; Master of Arts in Teaching, Spanish emphasis
Field(s) of Study Spanish or education
Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability: Blended programs are available
In-Person Requirements Student teaching
Program Length: 4-5 years for bachelor's degree; 1-2 years for certificate programs, 12 months for master's
Licensure/Certification Licensure required in all states to teach in public schools
Job Outlook (2018-2028)* 4% growth
Median Annual Salary (2020)** $49,427 (for all high school teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

While there are no completely online degree programs that qualify students for certification to teach Spanish, students may be able to meet state certification requirements by combining online courses with student teaching and internship requirements, which must be done in a classroom. There are several paths leading to teacher certification, including bachelor's degree programs, graduate certificate programs, and master's degree programs.

All states require that public school teachers become certified by meeting certain education and knowledge standards. Specific requirements vary by state. Teachers must have completed accredited programs in teacher education and pass competency examinations in general education, and in their subject area, which is Spanish in this case. All states call for at least a bachelor's degree, and alternative licensure paths are often available as well.

Bachelor's Degree, Spanish Emphasis

A bachelor's degree with an emphasis in Spanish is the minimum requirement for individuals to qualify as a Spanish teacher at a public secondary school. Teacher certification is sometimes included in the degree curriculum. Depending on the institution, the degree is most often a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Education.

An online 4-5 year bachelor's degree program requires courses in theory, pedagogy and Spanish, in addition to general education courses - all of which are available online. A supervised student teaching or internship component of the program can last as long as a school year and cannot be completed online. Students are required to have a computer with Internet access, although in many programs no special software is necessary.

Courses found in an online bachelor's degree program in education with an emphasis on Spanish are largely the same as those in an on-campus program. Subject-specific courses provide a broad overview of Spanish language and culture and its influence on society.

Spanish Civilization

The Spanish Civilization course is a survey course in Spanish history from prehistoric times to the present and is often taught entirely in Spanish. It provides an introduction to the development of civilization in Spain and the changes in everyday life through the years.

Latin American Civilization

The Latin American Civilization course is also generally conducted in Spanish. This course explores the cultural advances and national character of Latin American countries. The subject matter usually begins with an exploration into the conditions that existed in pre-Columbian civilizations and how they were affected by Spanish exploration.

Spanish Composition and Conversation

In the advanced course Spanish Composition and Conversation, students participate in academic investigation into the Spanish language. Argument, definition, classification, analysis, and comparison are some of the tools students use to develop and improve their oral and written Spanish proficiency.

Spanish Literature

Spanish Literature, one of the mainstays of certification requirements, is a course in Spanish or Hispanic literature. The works of major Hispanic novelists, poets, dramatists, essayists, and short story writers are read and analyzed. This exercise develops a student's facility with craft of the language and provides insight into the periods in which the pieces were produced.

Graduate Certificate

A bachelor's degree with a Spanish major, or its equivalent, is the minimum educational requirement for admission to a graduate certificate program with Spanish emphasis that culminates in a certificate rather than a degree. After obtaining a graduate certificate, students often apply the credits toward a master's degree in teaching and professional certification.

Applicants holding a degree in Spanish have filled all background core topic requirements, and native Spanish speakers meet the requirements through the Praxis II examination, which is required of all applicants of the graduate certificate program. Those whose degrees are not in Spanish are required to complete background courses such as grammar and composition, writing and rhetoric, phonetics, and Spanish Civilization. Certification programs themselves are usually self-paced and consist of 18-23 credit hours. With the exception of an internship, which lasts a minimum of 12 weeks, all courses are available online. Letters of recommendation may be required.

Students must have a computer with Internet access. In most cases, the program is delivered in modules covering topics such as strategies, classroom management, and the use of technology. Throughout the program, students may be required to participate in real-time online discussions and videoconferencing, which may require webcams.

Because all Spanish language requirements are met while completing undergraduate or prerequisite work, the online courses necessary for a graduate teaching certificate focus on pedagogy, principles, and methodology.


Instructional planning, discipline, classroom management, motivation and instruction for diverse populations within school settings are among the skills developed in the Pedagogy course. Principles of learning theories and instructional design as they apply to teaching methods are emphasized.


The Diagnostics course delves into the analysis, selection, and implementation of proper instructional methods, taking into consideration students' cognitive and emotional development. Various learning and instructional styles are examined. Focus is placed on the effect of outside influences on learning, including physical, social, and emotional factors.

Language Arts

Based on the belief that all learning is interrelated, the Language Arts course teaches the integration of writing, reading, listening, and speaking. The focus is on the analysis and techniques of melding these aspects into a seamless and effective instructional strategy.

Master of Arts Teaching Program

Much like an on-campus master's degree program, the online master's program may require a minimum undergraduate GPA as well as a number of letters of recommendation. Students are required to complete background courses in Spanish, unless exempted because they are native speakers or their undergraduate degree is in Spanish. All students are generally required to pass the Praxis I, reading, writing, and math exam in addition to the Praxis II Spanish proficiency exam.

Coursework for a 12-month Master of Arts in Teaching, Spanish Emphasis includes all courses required for a graduate teaching certificate, including student teaching or internship, as well as advanced courses. Whereas regular master's programs have a residency requirement, in most cases online courses are considered in-residence. Some schools have a short on-campus orientation or training session. The meat of the program may be pursued entirely online, allowing students to earn a master's degree while employed as a teacher.

While some schools allow students to proceed at their own pace, others shepherd students through the program as a cohort, course by course. Students need Internet access and, in some cases, the ability to communicate through audio input for participation in real-time seminars or class discussions.

The advanced portion of the master's program may be split between online and on-campus courses. Although a fair portion of the program deals with Spanish-related material, usually the larger portion deals with principles, techniques, and the methodology of teaching.

Research Methods

Mindful of ethical considerations, students learn to use instruments such as questionnaires, focus groups and surveys as they explore basic, applied or directed, evaluation, historical, descriptive, correlational, and experimental research methods.

Advanced Methods of Teaching Spanish

Students explore methods of teaching Spanish, including the use of the Internet, the integration of cultural concepts into the classroom setting, and the development of personal teaching materials and language laboratory techniques.

Teacher Leadership

Students study and develop traits and methods that yield productive results in the classroom. With an emphasis on proactive risk-taking, effective listening, and communication, students learn the value of collaborative efforts, coaching, and mentoring as the develop curriculum and convey knowledge effectively.

Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), expected employment opportunities for all high school teachers to increase by 4% from 2018-2028, which is as fast as the average of other occupations. The BLS further reported that the percentage was expected to vary widely according to locality, with inner cities and rural areas presenting the most forecasted job opportunities and the aging of the large baby boomer generation prompting an expected increase in the number of teachers retiring over the same 10-year period.

In a survey covering the 2012-2013 school year, the National Education Association found the average starting salary for a first-year teacher with a bachelor's degree to be $36,141. In January 2020, reported the median salary for all high school teachers to be $$49,427.

Three areas of teaching Spanish certification can be reached through the completion of online courses: a bachelor's degree with Spanish emphasis, a graduate certificate, and a Master of Arts teaching degree. However, not any can be completed solely online, due to student teaching or internship requirements that allow a teacher to teach Spanish in a high school setting after completing the necessary courses in basic Spanish, hispanic culture, and history, and then with an advanced degrees, courses that focus on teaching methodology and techniques.

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