How Long Does It Take To Get Teaching Degree?

The length of time it takes to become a teacher depends largely on the level taught. Preschool teachers or those who nurture and educate three to five year old children need to have at least an associate’s degree if they want to teach in Head Start programs but there are those who run private childcare centers who simply require a high school diploma and a certification in early childhood education. Public preschool school teachers, need to have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or related field. Certificate programs can be obtained in one year while associate programs typically last for two years. Bachelor’s degree programs usually last for four years.

For those who wish to teach in kindergarten or elementary school, a bachelor’s degree in elementary education is the minimum requirement. Some states may also require students to have a content area to major in, like math, science or reading. The minimum requirement for high school teachers is a bachelor’s degree, with most schools requiring teachers to have a subject area major, such as in math, science, history, chemistry or biology.

Teachers in kindergarten, elementary and high school are generally required to take up teacher education programs where they learn how to teach young students coming from multicultural backgrounds. In some states, these classes are incorporated in the bachelor’s degree program. There are others that require aspiring teachers to take up graduate level coursework, such as a master’s degree which lasts for about two years. The teacher education program is where students actually get hands-on experience in teaching students for one semester and see what the job is really like.

After obtaining their bachelor’s degree and completing their teacher education program requirements, states usually require students to pass a general teaching certification test if they want to teach in public schools. Most states also require their teachers to attend professional development classes each year so they can maintain their license. In some states, teachers will eventually need to get their master’s degree to remain certified. It should be kept in mind that private schools aren’t required to impose the same stringent certification or licensing requirements for their teachers. Some still prefer to hire teachers who have complied with public school requirements.

The requirements for those wishing to teach college courses are more stringent. Most universities offering four-year bachelor’s degree programs require teachers to hold a PhD or a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in the particular subject they wish to teach. This means that they will have to spend an additional five to six years on the average to get their doctorate degree before they are eligible to teach in a college degree program. Students can enroll in a PhD program after completing their master’s degree program although there are options that allow students to enroll in a doctorate degree after finishing their bachelor’s degree.

If the student is aiming to become a college professor, it will take him eleven to twelve years of study at the least to fulfill the educational requirements—four years to obtain his bachelor’s degree, two years to get his master’s and five to six years for his PhD.

It’s important for students to understand that the time spent to obtain a doctorate degree can be longer than the average times. This is because students need to finish their dissertation and defend it before they can attach the PhD designation to their names. At some point in their research, they could encounter problems that could cause the delay. Experiments that have failed and difficulty getting funding are just two of the examples of potential issues that could lengthen a doctorate student’s time in school. Others also take a leave because of concerns in their personal life.

There are technical schools and colleges who are offering two year associate degree programs that do accept teachers who only have a master’s degree. In some technical or trade programs, such as cosmetology or culinary arts, experience and certification in the field are preferred than a graduate-level program. The minimum educational requirement for teachers who wish to teach these programs is the level with which they want to teach—that is, an associate’s degree if they want to teach an associate’s degree program.

Career Spotlight: Teacher

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