Minimum requirements for certification as a Spanish teacher include a bachelor's degree in Spanish or another subject if a native Spanish speaker, completion of a teacher training program and student teaching internship, and the successful completion of general knowledge and Spanish language competency examinations. Certification requirements vary by state.
The certification process measures a candidate's instructional skills, Spanish language fluency and knowledge of the history, arts and geography of Spanish-speaking countries. A fluent Spanish speaker communicates with native Spanish speakers without grammatical errors, with correct pronunciation, appropriate sentence structure and the proper use of verb tenses. Certification competency exams test for the Spanish language skills necessary to narrate, describe and explain, both in oral and written forms, the various elements required for language acquisition using the full range of verb tenses.
Certification examinations sometimes require the candidate to identify, correct and analyze mistakes in recorded passages and conversations, as well as explaining the topic discussed and evidencing a native-like understanding of vocabulary and idioms. Exams focus on false cognates, use of slang, and register errors, as well as common misuse of certain word pairs, such as por and para and saber and conocer.
For non-native Spanish speakers, a year of study in a Spanish-speaking country is a useful addition to undergraduate or graduate preparation for certification.