Certified teachers complete a bachelor's degree in Education, take mandated tests and apply for a teaching license. Specific requirements vary by state and are usually set by the state's department of education.
Different types of bachelor's degrees in Education allow teachers to specialize in an area. Examples include elementary education, secondary education and special education. Students in an accredited education program also choose a minor or specialty area such as math, reading, science or social studies. This determines the areas of certification on the teaching license.
The education degree program involves general education, subject-specific content and teaching practice classes. A teacher preparation program is built into the four-year degree requirements. Education majors often work in actual classrooms to gain hands-on experience. The education program culminates with a student teaching period typically lasting a full semester.
Near the end of the teacher education program, a teaching candidate must complete standardized tests per the state's requirements. The Praxis exam is a common option for teachers. These tests evaluate the education major's understanding of general teaching practices and content-specific knowledge based on certification areas.
After graduation, an education major applies for a license with the state department of education. The application process typically includes a background check and a fee for the license.