If you’ve ever wanted a job where you know you matter, every day is different and you get to make a real difference in people’s lives, then it’s time to explore a career in teaching.
The great thing is that you can start your teaching certification journey at home.
It’s no surprise that the recent COVID-19 outbreak has affected all of our lives in unexpected ways and thrown a lot of our future plans up in the air. Right now, the only thing most of us do know about the future is that we will be spending more time at home than usual.
But despite all this craziness going on in the world, one thing remains the same. Teachers are essential. Although schools shut down across the globe, many teachers continue to engage with students by moving their lessons online.
So although things may seem bleak career-wise for many, one thing that isn’t limited is your pathway to becoming a teacher.
Right now, teachers are in high demand throughout the US. Even before the pandemic started, significant teacher shortages were growing across the country. It goes without saying that there are tons of teaching jobs available.
Because of nationwide shortages, more avenues are opening to help get educators into the classroom quicker and at a fraction of the cost of traditional pathways.
Now online training to become a certified teacher is available to all, known as alternative teaching certification.
Enrolling in an alternative teaching certification course online means you can start studying at home right now and be ready for the classroom by the next academic year.
And why wouldn’t you want to become a teacher?
There are many reasons why teaching is a fulfilling and enriching profession. The value of connecting with others for happiness is undeniable. And working with kids (and their families) means a work-life based on building positive connections with people and helping learners follow their dreams.
On any given day for a teacher, this could mean being a role model, an advisor, a cheerleader all at the same time.
Behind every president, doctor, or scientist is a teacher who inspired them. Your impact as a teacher extends beyond the classroom. Teachers are one of the noblest professions out there.
But on a smaller scale, being a teacher is also awesome because you could be laughing all day since the kids in your class never fail to bring a smile to your face. Or the satisfaction of seeing your work help others grow and blossom into their full potential.
Another reason most teachers love their jobs is that they get back as much as they give.
For starters, think about the number of professional autonomy teachers have. Or the endless learning opportunities available to grow and develop.
And did we mention the global job opportunities as a teacher?
So, if you’ve ever wondered, “should I become a teacher?” 🤔 Now is the time to say yes!
Want to know how you can kickstart your certified teaching career? Keep reading as we unpack everything you need to know to get started in becoming a licensed US teacher while you’re at home.
We’ll answer a few common questions in more detail in the rest of the post, like:
- What kind of teaching can I do?
- What are the requirements for becoming a teacher online?
- How quickly can I become a teacher online?
- Is it hard to become a teacher online?
- What are the benefits of being a teacher?
What kind of teaching can I do?
You can become a certified teacher through an online certification program. This means you can qualify to teach in K-12 classrooms and secondary schools. You’ll need a teaching license to get started.
Studying for a teaching license online qualifies you to teach in the mainstream education system. The kind of license you get will specify whether you teach in elementary, middle or high school. Depending on the age group you teach, your previous studies or experience will influence which subjects you teach.
In the rest of this article, we’ll give more insight into online pathways to licensed teaching.
What are the requirements for becoming a certified teacher online?
Since teachers are in high demand right now in the US, there are a lot of opportunities for job seekers looking to get into the classroom.
In the past, teachers in the US were required to do a bachelor’s degree in education. But, now, you can become a teacher without a bachelor’s in education, so long as you have a bachelor's degree in any subject, by doing an alternative teaching certification.
The two main criteria for anyone who wants to study for alternative teaching certification are:
- A bachelor’s degree (in any subject)
- Eligibility to work in the US
That’s right – you don’t need any prior teaching experience (although if you do have some, it won’t hurt your application, and your existing skills are sure to be put to good use).
These criteria make getting into teaching a possibility for people at many stages in their lives or careers. New graduates, supply teachers, career changers, experienced educators and Americans living overseas can all start the process to become a teacher.
Do different states have different requirements for becoming a certified teacher?
Yes. Some online teacher certification programs (like this one based in Arizona) can certify you to teach throughout the United States.
However, different states do have different guidelines and you should check the guidelines for your state (or the state you want to teach in) before committing to any online course.
How quickly can I become a certified teacher online?
Provided you fulfill the required criteria already (you have a bachelor’s degree in any subject + are eligible to work in the US), it will take as little as 6-9 months to complete an alternative teacher certification program. Meaning you could be ready for the classroom in the next academic year!
Here’s a breakdown of how you can quickly become a teacher in the US with an online certification program.
Step 1: Study, Study, Study!
Intensive core pedagogical modules and field experiences (approx. 6 months)
You’ll complete online, on-demand lessons where you’ll learn how to manage a classroom and gain deeper insights into teaching methods. The study is supported by field experiences to apply what you’ve learned and prepare you to lead your own class.
Step 2: Practice, Practice, Practice!
In-person clinical placement (approx. 3 months)
Put your knowledge into practice in a classroom setting. You’ll learn how to work in a school, build valuable relationships and receive helpful guidance from experienced educators.
Step 3: Get licensed!
Evaluation and assessment (after the 6-9 months of the program)
After you complete the program and fulfill all state requirements, you can apply through your state’s Department of Education to receive your teaching license. As a certified teacher, you’ll be qualified to teach throughout the United States and beyond.
Is it hard to become a certified teacher online?
If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you’ve done most of your studying to become a teacher already. The coursework in the program is intensive and will cover everything you need to know about pedagogy. All you need to do after is learn how to apply your knowledge in the classroom.
The good news is, studying the basics of lesson planning and classroom management is pretty straightforward. And, unlike other professions you might consider, you’ll have the advantage of having already spent many years in school yourself.
Reflecting on your experience as a student can help you focus on the kind of classes or subjects you’d like to teach.
Of course, many people who go into teaching do so because they genuinely want to make a difference in the lives of their students. In other words, they want to be great teachers.
And this comes with time and experience.
In your first few years as a teacher, you’ll have plenty to learn about your job and your students. This is one thing many teachers love about their job.
Every time you go to work, you’ll be challenged and surprised. And you’ll get better and better at teaching every day.
It’s a bit like learning to drive. It takes a little practice to gain the knowledge and skills you need to earn your license. However, the real learning begins after you get your license when you hit the streets yourself.
What are the benefits of becoming a certified teacher?
The first thing that comes to mind might be eight weeks of summer vacation. 😎
But while the long summer months are incredible, realistically, most teachers will use at least some of this time to prepare lessons and resources for the academic year ahead.
Next are the salary and benefits teachers in the US can expect.
These include job security, vacation days, sick days, teaching unions, and insurance (usually including medical, dental, and vision coverage.) Teaching also provides a regular salary and a clear pathway for promotions and pay raises throughout your teaching career.
So, those are the benefits of teaching.
But the rewards of teaching are unlike any other profession.
Think back to the teachers who inspired you when you were at school. The profound ways they shaped your life were all in a day’s work for them.
Being a teacher puts you in a position to make a meaningful, tangible difference to your students, and the wider community, daily. As a teacher, you can be responsible for immeasurably improving your student’s lives.
And it’s not just your students who will grow and learn in the classroom! Every day at school can offer a new surprise and a new challenge, making teaching an excellent outlet for anyone motivated by an interest in psychology or creative problem-solving.
These factors make teaching so much more than just a job.
It’s no exaggeration to say that getting certified to teach will change your career and your life.
Start your journey to certified teaching online today!
So, if you can see yourself standing at the front of the classroom, now is the time to make it happen!
Take a look at some of our affordable, state-approved alternative teacher certification courses that run year-round.
If you enroll in the program now, you could be going back to school – as a teacher – this September (and maybe even in a virtual classroom setting if schools remain closed).
Interested in becoming a certified teacher in the US? Talk to an admissions advisor today to learn how you can become a licensed teacher online with one of our state-approved online programs.