So You Would Like to Become a Teacher
by Dr. Claude Cunningham, Associate Superintendent Curriculum & Instruction
The current economy has caused many of our local businesses and industries to make work force reductions. The employees displaced have skills and knowledge which may be of great value to the children of our community. If you are in this situation, you may have decided that it is time to look seriously into teaching as a possible career. Teaching is not easy. Teaching is very time intensive and requires a lot of emotional energy. If it is a fit for you, teaching is one of the most rewarding professions in the world. To make this career change, there are some things that you need to know:
Entering the teaching profession as a public school teacher requires that you become certified by the State of Texas. There are two primary routes to certification; the traditional certification route and an alternative certification route.
The traditional pathway to certification is to enroll in the Teacher Education program at a local college or university. Typically, you will be required to take 18 hours of professional education course work. These may include a field experience or internship. Many of our local colleges and universities have special programs for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree who are looking to change professions. The requirements for these programs may vary, but the number of courses is about the same.
There are several programs which offer alternative routes to certification. Some of these are proprietary programs; others are offered through colleges and universities or the regional Educational Service Center (FYI, Mansfield ISD is in ESC Region 11). These programs typically offer intense, short term instructional programs in the summer followed by regularly scheduled follow up sessions in group or individual settings. Alternative certification often allows you to become a regularly employed classroom teacher while completing the certification program.
Either route will result in the receipt of a Texas Standard Teaching License. The State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) has a very helpful web site which lists all the approved teacher certification programs in the state, traditional and alternative. It will be to your benefit to “shop” the various programs as each has unique requirements. Identify the one that best fits your needs before you commit to any particular program.
If you are interested in determining the opportunities available to you in this area, go to the SBEC Web site and pick the region in which you would like to pursue a certificate. You will be given a list of programs and links to each program.