How to Become a Teacher Without a Degree in Education

Many people assume that they need a degree in education to become a teacher. However, this is not always the case. There are a number of ways that you can become a teacher without a degree in education.

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There are a few ways that you can become a teacher without a degree in education. The most common way is to complete an alternative certification program. These programs are designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in another field and want to become teachers. Many of these programs can be completed in one year or less.

Other ways to become a teacher without a degree in education include obtaining a teaching license through reciprocity or completing an undergraduate teacher education program. Some states offer reciprocity agreements with other states that allow individuals who are licensed to teach in one state to obtain a teaching license in another state.

Undergraduate teacher education programs are typically four-year programs that combine academic coursework with field experiences such as student teaching. Individuals who complete these programs typically earn a bachelor’s degree in education and are eligible for state licensure.

The Different Types of Teacher Certification

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, around 20% of public school teachers have a degree in education. The majority of teachers are certified, but there are a few different types of certification. The most common type of certification is a teaching license, which allows you to teach in a specific subject area or grade level. There are also alternative certification programs, which are designed for people who want to become teachers but don’t have a degree in education. These programs generally require you to take a few extra courses, but they can help you get into the classroom faster.

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Traditional Certification

There are many different types of certification available for teachers, but the most common and traditional path is through a four-year degree in education. This type of certification will qualify you to teach in most public schools across the country. To be eligible for traditional certification, you will need to complete an accredited teaching program and pass a state-level certification exam.

Certification by Portfolio

Teachers who want to alternative certification programs may be interested in certification by portfolio. In this type of program, candidates assemble a portfolio of their work, including lesson plans, student work samples, and videos of them teaching. They also write a reflective essay about their teaching. The portfolio is evaluated by a panel of experts, who determine whether the candidate is ready to teach.

Certification by Exam

Teachers who chose not to complete a degree in education can still become certified to teach in most states. The most common way to do this is by taking certification exams, which generally cover content knowledge and pedagogical skills. In some cases, candidates may need to complete a practicum or student-teaching component as well.

The Pros and Cons of each Certification Type

There are many ways to become a certified teacher. You can get a degree in education, or you can get certified through an alternative route. With so many options, it can be hard to decide which route to take. In this article, we will compare the pros and cons of each certification type so that you can make an informed decision.

Traditional Certification

There are several certification types available to aspiring teachers, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Traditional certification, for example, is the most common type of certification and typically requires completion of a bachelor’s degree in education from an accredited institution. While this type of certification offers the most comprehensive preparation for teaching, it can be the most expensive and time-consuming to earn.

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Certification by Portfolio

Certification by portfolio assesses an individual’s teaching knowledge and skills by examining a collection of artifacts that demonstrate their work as a teacher. This type of certification may be ideal for individuals who have several years of teaching experience or who have already earned a degree in education but are not certified.

The biggest advantage of this type of certification is that it offers flexibility for those who want to enter the teaching profession without completing a traditional teacher education program. Individuals can choose which artifacts to submit for review and they can complete the portfolio over an extended period of time, making it possible to complete the certification process while working full-time as a teacher.

However, the disadvantages of this type of certification should also be considered. Because there is no set curriculum, individuals may find it difficult to know what is expected of them in terms of meeting the standards for certification. Additionally, individuals who choose this route may have difficulty finding a mentor or peer support group to help guide them through the process.

Certification by Exam

Certification by exam is one way to become a teacher without a degree in education. It is generally quicker and less expensive than completing a traditional teacher training program, but it has some drawbacks. The most significant drawback is that you will not have the same level of pedagogical training as a teacher who has completed a degree in education. This can mean that you are less prepared to deal with the challenges of the classroom, and it can also mean that you are less qualified for certain types of jobs. Another downside is that you may have to take additional courses in order to keep your certification current.

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How to Choose the Right Certification Type for You

If you want to become a teacher without a degree in education, you will need to choose the right certification type for your goals. There are three main types of certification: initial, alternative, and provisional.

Initial certification is the most common type of certification. To be eligible for initial certification, you must complete an accredited teacher preparation program and pass the required exams.

Alternative certification is available for candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than education. To be eligible for alternative certification, you must complete an accredited teacher preparation program and pass the required exams.

Provisional certification is available for candidates who have not completed an accredited teacher preparation program. To be eligible for provisional certification, you must pass the required exams.


Becoming a teacher without a degree in education is not impossible, but it is definitely not the norm. There are many alternative certification programs available that can help you obtain the necessary credentials to teach in your state. These programs typically take 1-2 years to complete and include student teaching internships. Once you have completed an alternative certification program and obtained your teaching license, you will likely be able to find a teaching position at a public school. However, keep in mind that you may be paid less than certified teachers and may be limited in the types of classes you are able to teach.

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