University Of Phoenix: Five Routes To Becoming A K-12 Teacher

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University Of Phoenix: Five Routes To Becoming A K-12 Teacher

Many young people find inspiration in their teachers and hope to enter the teaching profession so they can inspire the next generation of learners. Many even feel that teaching is their calling rather than a career choice. But how can you get into teaching? What qualifications do you need?

The short answer is that there are a variety of ways to become a teacher. And, as there is a serious teacher shortage in the United States, there are several opportunities on offer to help individuals discover and rediscover their passion for teaching and combat this shortage. Here, we will work through five routes you can take to a teaching career.

1. Follow the Traditional Route

Every state requires that public school teachers have a bachelor’s degree, although this does not always have to be a specific teaching degree. The traditional route to becoming a teacher is to earn a bachelor’s degree, complete a teacher education program, and pass a certification or licensure exam, which may be a Praxis test.

However, each state has its own qualification requirements for public school K-12 teachers. While some states require teachers to pass Praxis tests, some like Kentucky and Virginia require teachers to pass state-specific Praxis tests. And others, like Arizona and Michigan, do not require teachers to pass Praxis tests at all.

2. Study for a Teaching Certification

Public school teachers need a certification or license in the state where they work as proof that they meet state requirements to teach. Teacher candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in something other than education can study for a teacher education program to earn a license and help them develop their teaching skills to support their academic skills.

Many prospective teachers take the University of Phoenix Graduate Alternative Pathway/Secondary Education Certificate to gain their licenses to teach at secondary schools. This qualification is also ideal for those who are switching to teaching part way through their careers and have qualified in a different niche.

Alternatively, licensed teachers who are looking to develop their skills and knowledge in a specific niche, such as special education or education leadership, may prefer to study for an education certificate.

3. Qualify to Teach at a Charter or Private School

While there is some flexibility over qualifying to teach in the K-12 field, there is even more flexibility over qualifying to teach in charter and private schools. Although charter schools are also publicly funded and tuition free, they do not always receive the same level of funding as public schools. These schools tend to operate to individual agreements with state or local governments, which may detail rules and performance standards. Therefore, some charter schools do not require teachers to have earned a state license or certification.

On the other hand, private schools can opt to not receive government funding, freeing them of curriculum, admissions, and teacher certification requirements. In this case, teaching requirements are up to the state, unless the private school elects not to apply to be state chartered. In this situation, the school sets the requirements for its teachers. Therefore, some private schools do not require teachers to have licenses, but others require teachers to have earned both a teaching certification and a postgraduate degree. These schools may also prefer teachers who are subject matter experts, rather than teachers who have completed a general teaching certificate.

4. Try Substitute Teaching

Substitute teaching is another good way to get your foot in the door of a teaching career. Each state has its own requirements for substitute teachers, although some states, like Oregon and Kansas, have eased these requirements because of the teacher shortage. However, in general, substitute teachers must have completed a bachelor’s degree and certification, have at least a GED or high school diploma, and pass a background check.

5. Apply for an Emergency Teaching Certificate

Given the national shortage of teachers, some school districts have also introduced emergency teaching certificates to get more teachers into classrooms. These certificates are available through certain school districts and permit candidates to teach for one school year. Although the criteria to be eligible for one of these certificates varies from state to state, most require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree and pass a skills assessment.

For more information on how to become a K-12 teacher, visit University of Phoenix’s blog.

The Chance to Inspire Students

Those who become teachers get the chance to inspire students and guide them on their journeys to reach their own career goals. University of Phoenix offers a Bachelor of Science in Education as a great starting point for candidates to become effective teachers and gives these candidates the foundations they need to pass licensure exams.

Those who complete this program can also apply their credits to a Master of Arts in Education/Secondary Teacher Education and specialize in areas like administration or curriculum development. This degree would allow them to further progress their teaching skills or add another major to complement their teaching degree. They may then also study for a Doctor of Education.

Explore University of Phoenix’s variety of online degrees and education certificate programs.

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is committed to advancing its adult and nontraditional learners’ educational goals and to helping them navigate the career options and degree programs that best match their interests. The University’s degree programs align with a plethora of in-demand career paths including in cybersecurity, nursing and business. The University also offers flexible start dates, online classes and several scholarship opportunities so anyone can earn the degree they need to get ahead.

Furthermore, University of Phoenix’s Career Services for Life® commitment to active students and graduates provides the services and resources needed to be competitive in the workforce for no additional charge. Services include resume and interview support, career guidance, and education and networking opportunities. For more information, visit

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