In order to earn a teacher certificate, an individual needs to earn a bachelor's degree, complete a teacher preparation program, complete a student teaching experience and pass a teaching certification test. A teaching certificate is typically specific to a certain type of education, such as elementary or secondary.
Depending on the state, an individual might need a certain grade point average before she can be awarded a teaching certificate. Besides the standard certification test, an individual might also be required to show knowledge of the subject she wishes to specialize in. Once a teacher has earned her license, she is required to complete professional continuing education courses every year in order for the license to remain up-to-date.
An individual who has a bachelor's degree but lacks the specific education classes that are required for certification can become certified through an alternative certification program, which lets the person start teaching under the supervision of a fully certified and experienced teacher once she has graduated. Such alternative certification programs cover child development and teaching methodology. There are also some alternative certification programs that award participants with a master's degree in addition to certification.
In many cases, teachers who are employed in private schools are not required to earn a teaching license.