To work as a teacher, individuals must be licensed in their home state, however, licensure is not always required by private schools. Licensure is granted by each state's Board of Education and requires a bachelor's degree as well as completion of an approved teacher training program and supervised practice teaching.
Teaching programs begin at the bachelor degree level. Most aspiring educators opt to pursue a degree in early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, or special education. Secondary education degrees generally are in an area of specialization, such as English, mathematics, science, social studies, or foreign language.
Many states require teachers to earn a master's degree within a certain number of years of beginning a teaching career. Master of science degrees in education (MSEd) are available in elementary and secondary education, special education, administration, educational counseling, early childhood, English as a second language, instructional technology, reading and language arts, and more.
Individuals interested in educational administration often pursue a doctoral degree. The doctorate in education (EdD) is generally required for leadership positions, such as principal or superintendent of a school district. Doctoral degrees are also offered in many other areas, such as special education, secondary education, and reading instruction.
Another part of licensure is the exam component. Most states use the PRAXIS exam series.
Alternative paths to licensure are becoming increasingly common where aspiring teachers with a bachelor's degree in a subject other than education can pursue teaching credentials. Such programs offer students teacher preparation courses and provisional licensure with the goal of earning full licensure within one or two years.