How Long Do You Have to Go to College to Be a Teacher?

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The minimum education requirement for becoming a teacher is a bachelor’s degree, which typically takes four years to earn. Teachers usually take education classes and participate in student teaching, which adds another year to the process.

Aspiring teachers either choose to specialize in education or another specific field of study. Elementary school teachers, who teach all subjects, generally get degrees in elementary education. Secondary school teachers usually get degrees in their area of expertise, or endorsement area. Most teachers participate in a teacher-training program that includes education classes and student teaching. However, people who have graduated with a bachelor’s degree and gain work experience in their endorsement area may skip this step, depending on their state’s requirements. According to, all teachers must have a license, sometimes called certification, to teach in any public school throughout the United States. There is an exam that students must passed to become certified. Teachers are not always required to be licensed to teach in a private school.