How long does it take to become a teacher? The answer to this question depends on multiple things, such as your current education level and what kind of teacher you want to be. In this guide, we’ll go over what the education process of becoming a teacher is like for different levels, and how long it should take for each. To actually get started, learn how to find online teaching jobs in this course.
What do I need to become a teacher?
In order to be eligible for a teaching credential, you must first have an undergraduate’s degree. This goes for teaching elementary school, middle school, and high school. You can either receive a Bachelor’s degree in a subject of your choosing, or go specifically for a Bachelor of Science in Education.
Alternatively, you can learn how to get a teaching job online here, or check out this guide to the top online teaching degree picks of 2014.
After you’ve received your undergraduate degree, you will need to go through a teacher’s education program. In some states, this program comes packaged as part of an undergraduate degree program, and in others it is a separate, post-undergrad series. You can also go for your Master’s degree in education instead. Find out all about the different kinds of degrees and the differences between each in this guide on degree types. There is also this guide to different college degrees, which covers things like certifications and so on.
If you take the teaching program separately, or pursue a Master’s degree in education, you will need to spend one of those semesters teaching alongside a credentialed teacher. This is like an apprenticeship, which allows the student teacher to apply what they’ve learned in their education training programs in the field, so to speak.
After you’ve completed your education training and done your semester as a teacher’s assistant, you’ll need to pass a final examination. This teacher’s exam will test all the knowledge you need to know to become a qualified educator. After you pass this test, you’ll need to sign up for your certification or license. In some states, the certification is more of a temporary measure and you’ll need to commit to eventually receiving your Master’s degree in order for your certification to remain valid. In states where this is not a requirement, simply renewing your certification by completing updated course work after a specified period of time is enough to stay officially qualified as an instructor. This is a lot to take in! Learn how to set goals and keep them in this course. Committing to your ambitions is the first step towards achieving them.
If you want to become a professor and teach at a university, the process is different. After completing your undergraduate degree program, you will then have to begin applying for PhD programs. This program will earn you a Master’s and then eventually your Doctorate degree, which will qualify you to become a professor. Getting your PhD is tough though. It’s a long process, and you’ll need to be a teacher’s assistant to undergraduate professors during your time with the program, complete a dissertation, and commit to postdoctoral research if you’re looking for a faculty position. There, you’ll teach and do research alongside other professors. All of this schooling can be difficult. Find out what the goals of learning are in this course, and make the point of your journey more clear.
How long does this all take?
We’ve discussed the overall process above, and as you can see, there are multiple end points. You can stop at a bachelor’s degree and get a teaching certificate, you can go on to a master’s degree and get the credentials that come along with it, or you can go all the way to a PhD and teach at universities. So how long does this all take?
- Undergraduate degree: Depending on subject, it takes about four years.
- Teaching certificate: One to two years.
- Master’s degree: One and a half to two years.
- PhD: Depending on subject, about three to six years.
So if you’re going for your teaching credentials after an undergraduate degree, it should take about five to six years after high school, assuming you’ve started college immediately after. If you’re going for a master’s, it will take the same amount: six years. With a PhD, expect to be in school for about ten years before becoming a professor! Need help getting into college? Check out this course on how to master your college entrance essay.
You can also become a teacher online. Learn how with this course on how to teach online as a full-time career.