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Understanding Your Teaching Credential Options

While every state has its own legislated requirements for teaching credentials qualification, all of them, under the No Child Left Behind Act, require their public school teachers to have bachelor’s degrees.

They also require teaching candidates to have completed a specific number of teaching courses, have supervised teaching or student teaching classroom experience, and to pass various state teaching credentials exams. The exams will depend on the teaching credentials for which the candidates want to qualify.

The available credentials qualify teachers to teach the early childhood, elementary, and middle grades; those wanting to teach grades seven through twelve will need secondary education subjects teaching credentials. Teachers who wish to teach a single subject, like music or art–usually for all grades from kindergarten through high school–can qualify for a special subject teaching credentials.

Elementary School Credentials

The teaching credentials for those at the elementary school level, from grades one to six, are based more on general knowledge of several subjects; middle and secondary school teaching credentials are given to those who have an in-depth knowledge of one or two subjects and will teach them exclusively.

Secondary School Credentials

Those who are planning on a career in secondary education can prepare to qualify for their teaching credentials either by majoring in education and minoring in the subject which they want to teach, or majoring in the subject they intend to teach and minoring in education.

Charter And Private School Requirements

Although Charter Schools, technically, are public institutions, each of them is run by a board of trustees who have the final say on the qualifications required for its teachers.
There are states which do not require their Charter School teacher to have teaching credentials, while others hold their Charter Schools to the same certification standards as their traditional public schools.

Private schools, on the other hand, are not required have a credentialed faculty, and some of them will still hire those without teaching credentials as a way to save on staff salaries. The best way to determine the policy of the private schools in your area is to contact each one directly.

While testing to qualify for teaching credentials is different in each state, it will always include ways of measuring reading comprehension, math skills, writing ability, and critical analysis.


prospective teachers must undergo to get their teaching credentials may seem intimidating to those just beginning their college careers. But the strength of their motivation to complete it is a good indication of whether or not they have the commitment required to be teachers in a public school environment which grows more challenging each year.

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