Requirements for licensure and certification vary from state to state. Completion of a bachelor's degree is a baseline requirement to teach an academic subject (e.g., math, science, English) in all states. However, a bachelor's degree may not be required for career/technical education (e.g., electronics, automotive, computer networking).
Requirements generally include:
- Obtaining a bachelor's degree
- Completing a teacher preparation program
- Student teaching
- Background check
- State testing
Formal teacher preparation programs are typically hosted by appropriately accredited state approved institutions that lead to licensure in K-12 public education content areas (e.g. math, science). In most states, such programs are referred to as “traditional routes to certification”.
Alternative Routes to Certification are non-traditional teacher preparation pathways designed for those individuals who have not completed a formal teacher preparation program at an appropriately accredited institution but wish to obtain necessary training to become a state certified teacher. Education and work experience requirements may apply for specific areas of interest.
Reciprocity is a system whereby a recommendation for licensure from a state-approved education training program at an accredited college or university is recognized in another state. However, reciprocity does not guarantee that a license in one state can be “traded in” for a license in another state.