Become a Spanish Teacher: Education and Career Requirements

Jan 02, 2019

Learn how to become a Spanish teacher. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements, and find out how to start a career as a Spanish teacher.

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  • 0:00 Should I Become a…
  • 0:59 Step 1: Earn a…
  • 2:21 Step 2: Get a Teaching…
  • 2:46 Step 3: Earn a Master's Degree

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Should I Become a Spanish Teacher?

Spanish teachers must be proficient in speaking and reading English and Spanish as well as able to plan lessons and teach students utilizing exercises and activities that assist in Spanish language acquisition. They must be versatile and patient and have strong instructional, organizational, and communication skills, as well as a sincere desire to help students learn. Additionally, they must have basic computer knowledge and the capacity to think critically. Teaching students in kindergarten through 12th grade can sometimes be tiring and frustrating, but it also offers great rewards when students' accomplishments are observed.

Degree Level Bachelor's degree required; some states require a master's degree
Degree Field Spanish, unless otherwise fluent
Licensure and/or Certification State-issued certification or license required
Experience Student teaching internship is minimally required
Key Skills English and Spanish literacy and speaking proficiency; strong instructional, organizational and communication skills; basic computer knowledge; patience
Salary (2016) $61,280 (Median for all secondary school teachers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job postings by employers (August 2015)

Let's look at the steps required to become a Spanish teacher.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree program in Spanish education provides the most straightforward route to becoming a public school Spanish teacher. Classes build high levels of skill in areas like conversation, phonetics, and pronunciation. Additional courses might cover Spanish literary works, Spanish-speaking cultures and customs, and linguistics. In addition to Spanish courses, individuals have to complete courses in education, which prepares them to obtain a state teaching license. A student teaching practicum typically concludes the degree program. One might perform the practicum at an elementary, middle or secondary school, based on the age group he or she prefers to teach.

If an individual is a native Spanish speaker, or is otherwise bilingual and fluent in Spanish, a bachelor's degree in Spanish might not be necessary. However, all K-12 teachers are required to hold at least a bachelor's degree and teaching certification. Additionally, competency testing in Spanish language fluency is a requirement for aspiring Spanish teachers.

Here's a tip for success:

  • Complete a semester or a year abroad. Spending time with native Spanish speakers can help an individual develop his or her language abilities and become immersed in the culture. As a further benefit, one generally is awarded academic credit for time studying abroad.

Step 2: Get a Teaching Certificate

Spanish teachers must have state licensure to be employed with a public school; however, private schools may not require this licensure. Licensing criteria differs by state, but commonly includes graduation from a college or university with an approved teacher training curriculum as well as completion of a student teaching experience and passage of general knowledge and subject-specific exams.

Step 3: Earn a Master's Degree

Often, a teacher's education doesn't end after obtaining employment. Some school systems require teachers to earn a master's degree shortly after certification. Master's degree programs typically take about two years to finish. Spanish teachers might opt to pursue a master's degree in Spanish or education, as determined by the program and their personal interests. Some master's programs in teaching are intended for individuals who have earned a bachelor's degree in Spanish but who are not certified to teach. Other programs are aimed at educators certified in different subject areas who desire a Spanish certification. Spanish teachers with bachelor's degrees might enter a master's degree program to further their careers even if their state doesn't require education beyond a bachelor's degree.

To recap, to become a Spanish teacher, one typically needs to earn a bachelor's degree in Spanish education and complete a teaching practicum before becoming licensed by the state. A master's degree might be required for continued employment.

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