Many teacher preparation programs can be completed during undergraduate study, although some are designed for students who are returning to school after earning a degree. Most programs require that applicants have a 2.5 grade point average or higher, and some also have a required introductory course. Undergraduates must be enrolled in a bachelor's degree program, and previous graduates must be re-admitted to the school.
Students admitted to teacher prep programs learn educational pedagogy and participate in student-teaching experiences. Graduates are eligible for teacher licensure in early childhood, elementary, or secondary education. Many specializations are available, including art education, math, physics, or foreign languages.
Teacher Preparation Certification Program
A teacher preparation program is designed to prepare both undergraduate and graduate students to become licensed teachers. Programs can offer students specialized coursework in the grade level and subjects they are interested in teaching. The teacher preparation program also includes a hands-on student teaching experience, which is required in most states for licensing. Typical coursework covers:
- Issues in education
- Child or adolescent development
- Student assessment
- Early childhood methods
- Language and literacy
- Educational psychology
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), the employment of kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and high school teachers is predicted to grow 6%, or about as fast of average, over the 2014-2024 decade. The best prospects will be in underserved areas such as urban school districts or rural areas. In May 2015, elementary school teachers earned a median salary of $54,890, while secondary school teachers earned a median salary of $57,200.
Licensing, Certification and Continuing Education
All states require public school teachers to become licensed. Teachers in private schools may not need a license. Teacher preparation programs are designed to prepare students to meet most licensing requirements. In addition to earning a degree and completing the teacher preparation program, prospective teachers must pass a basic skills test. Continuing education is required to maintain licensure. Teachers can find opportunities for continuing education through professional organizations, such as the National Education Association. Teachers might also consider voluntary board certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
Students who want a career in teaching can enroll in a teacher preparation certification program, which can be completed alongside - or after - a bachelor's degree. Along with normal coursework, students will be expected to complete a student teaching experience.