How to Become a Teacher in 4 Simple Steps

What is a Teacher ?

Teachers have the important job of molding the workforce of tomorrow.

They motivate, prepare, educate, and guide students to be better human beings.

They teach manners, life skills, meet educational needs, and show constant love and compassion.

It’s an exciting career field that you may find perfect for you.

You may wonder how to become a teacher, and what you need to do to be licensed in your state. For starters, you must be able to tell yourself that you can do the following:

  • Prepare Lesson Plans According To State Laws
  • Work With Diverse Personalities and Economic Challenges
  • Understand That No Two Children Are Alike or Have The Same Learning Process
  • Know That There are Days When You Are Rewarded And Days of Major Stress
  • Continue Schooling to Keep Up With Licensing Requirements

If you can follow these five steps and much more, then you may have what it takes to be a teacher.

Teacher salary depends on the level and specialty, but the average salary is $60,320.

The Work-Space and Hours Of A Teacher

Teachers work in a classroom setting. The hour structure is pretty good. They may work from 8 am to 4 pm, or from 7:00 am to 3 pm. It all depends on the district and their hourly requirements. According to a survey done by The Washington Post, the average teacher works 53 hours per week. Most districts, around the country, go 180 days per year. The other 185 students and teachers enjoy a much-needed break.

Classrooms are all laid out in a similar fashion. According to a study done by University of Salford’s School, the classroom setting is evolving. Most rooms have a whiteboard or blackboard, and they have student desks in front of it. The teacher also has a desk that they use to keep organized. Most schools have some sort of technology in use in the classroom. Students may use a tablet, computer, or other device for learning.

Each teacher takes the time to create the perfect learning environment. Most districts allow the teacher to decorate their rooms according to their personality. Creating a great environment is one of the perks for the creative teacher.

Top Skills That A Teacher Must Have
To be a great teacher you need to make sure you have the following skills:

Good Communication Skills – If you cannot communicate well, then how can you teach others?

A Passion For Teaching – You must be passionate about your job. Teaching is not easy. Many take the job for the great hours and days off, and they find that it is so much more involved.

Use Correct Grammar – While street slang may be appropriate in some situations, in the classroom you must use proper grammar.

A Pleasant Demeanor – You must be able to smile and light up the room, be encouraging to students that are downtrodden, and always be willing to listen to a student’s issues.

•Positive Body Language – While you may roll your eyes at friends and relatives, when you are in the classroom, your body language must be positive.

Can you do the preceding five things with ease? If so, perhaps, being a teacher is the right job for you.

What is a Teacher

Becoming a Teacher

Step 1: High School Requirements

High School Courses for Teachers

The classes you take in high school can help you in your adult life. In the quest for how to become a teacher, you must start with solid high school classes.

Public Speaking

A public speaking/speech or drama class would be a good start. You must learn to be able to speak to others without hesitation.

You should broaden your knowledge of the world in general with a psychology course. It will help you greatly when you are a teacher.


Lastly, you should consider a class in Spanish. So many people speak Spanish in this country that it can help to communicate effectively with a diverse population.

Formal Education Requirements

The educational requirements of a teacher are more stringent now than they have ever been. Your first step to become a teacher is to start with planning your education. Most states require a bachelor’s degree for licensure.

While these requirements can be met online most times, there are many things that should be considered. Additionally, having a master’s degree will give you more opportunities in today’s job market. Teachers were once in high demand and now the market is crowded in some areas.

So, you need to offer something to the district that others don’t. If they have a whole group of applicants with bachelor’s degrees and one with a master’s degree, they are likely to look at the one with the highest qualifications. Schooling and continued schooling is important to be a teacher.

According to Marcus Winters from New York Daily News, teachers with a master’s degree earn about $7,500 more than those with just a bachelor’s degree.

Step 2: Get an Undergraduate Degree

Bachelor Degree in Education 4 years

The basic requirement at almost all colleges and universities, for the teaching program, is a bachelor’s degree. Most institutions will require around 120 semester hours, or 180 quarter hours to graduate, which breaks down into 12-18 credit hours per semester.

Credit hours are distributed among four areas: core, major area, professional education, and elective credits. A person that wants to teach in elementary school will need to get 21 semester credit hours in their specific field. For instance, if they want to be a math teacher, they will need to take their core classes on that subject.


General Education Requirements (55 Credits)

  • Applied Cells, Genetics & Physiology
  • Applied Biological Diversity, Ecology & Evolution
  • General Chemistry I
  • Principles of Communication
  • Principles of Microeconomics
  • Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research
  • Composition and Rhetoric II: Advanced Research and Evidence-Based Writing
  • Composition and Rhetoric III: Themes and Genres
  • Environmental Science and Society
  • The History of Philadelphia
  • Mathematical Analysis I
  • Mathematical Analysis II
  • Mathematical Analysis III
  • Introduction to Music
  • Nutrition, Foods, and Health
  • Applied Physics
  • General Psychology I
  • Educational Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Sociology of Education I

Core Courses (60 Credits)

  • Special Education Foundations: Referral and Assessment
  • Inclusionary Practices for Exceptional Students
  • Literacy and Content Skill Development PreK-8
  • Foundations in Education I: A Historical and Philosophical Perspective
  • Freshman Pedagogy Seminar
  • Child Development I: Typical Development
  • Child Development II: Atypical Development
  • Sophomore Pedagogy Seminar
  • Early Language Development
  • Diversity and Today’s Teacher
  • Early Literacy I
  • Instructing English Language Learners
  • Junior Pedagogy Seminar
  • Assessment of Young Children I
  • Creating a Positive Classroom Climate
  • Educational Policy, Law & Advocacy
  • Science Teaching Methods
  • Teaching in Urban Contexts
  • Current Research in Curriculum & Instruction
  • Multimedia in Instructional Design
  • Language Arts Processes
  • Engaging the Learner
  • Early Literacy II
  • Expressive Arts for PK-4
  • Social Studies Teaching Methods
  • Senior Pedagogy Seminar
  • Family and Community Partnerships
  • Mathematics Methods and Content: Early Childhood
  • Mathematics Methods and Content

The calculated cost of a bachelor degree in education program is $28,900 – $65,400.

Step 3: Get a Graduate Degree (Optional)

Master of Science in Education Program 1-2 years


  • Theory and Practice in Curriculum and Teaching
  • Sociopolitical Dimensions of Education
  • Race and Multicultural Education in American Society
  • Beginning Literacy Development in Inclusive Classrooms
  • Beginning Reading and Writing in Inclusive Classrooms
  • Special Education Foundations: Past, Present, and Future
  • Teaching Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students
  • Teaching Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Adolescents
  • Teaching Reading to Children with Learning Disabilities
  • Introduction to Research
  • Research in the Teaching Process
  • Comprehensive Assessment

The cost of a master of science in education program is $26,865- $40,200.

Step 4: Get Certified or Licenced

o be a certified teacher in the US, candidates must pass certain exams. Each state has specific testing requirements. According to, most regions require teachers to pass a fundamental skills test as well as a competency exam. The total cost is $1,900

Candidates must pass the Basic Skills exam. It can be accomplished by taking the Praxis Core exam. These tests measure a candidate’s overall academic. Most candidates take these tests before entering a teacher’s preparation program. Being a teacher is pretty involved, but it is a job that will come with many rewards.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Teacher and How Much Does it Cost?

Option 1 : Bachelor’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$28,900- $65,400
Total 4 years$30,800- $67,300

Option 2 : Master’s Degree

DegreeTime Cost
Bachelor’s 4 years$28,900- $65,400
Master’s2 years to 3 years$26,865- $40,200
Total6 years to 7 years$57,665- $107,500

Teacher Training Video

Noel Griffith, Ph.D.
Noel Griffith is a Doctor of Philosophy with a strong interest in educational research. He has been an editor-in-chief of since 2014. Noel is an avid reader (non-fiction), enjoys good food, live theatre, and helping others make wiser career decisions.

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