How hard would it be to become a teacher?

As I am starting to seriously consider a career as a high school teacher, I decided to do some research on my own but the results are far from clear. It seems that each state has its own set of rules for teachers in public schools, different rules for what it takes to become certified and also different rules concerning whether you need to be certified before you start teaching or can study during your first years as a teacher.

Here’s my situation. I have a B.S. in computer science from a high ranked college of science and engineering. I also have an extensive background in math, as in I’ve taken more classes than would be necessary to get a B.S. However, I have very little experience working with children. My only experience comes from volunteer work I did with a program organized by a local church to introduce children to computers.

Given all this, how long, realistically, could I expect to spend getting certified? Also, what is the job market really like for high school teachers right now? Is it reasonable to expect that if I get certified, I’ll find employment right away?

You’re going to have to check with an advisor to see how many of your undergraduate courses can be applied to what you need for a teacher’s certification, but given the number of courses that must be taken in sequence, I’d guess 3 to 4 semesters.

Yes, there’s a net shortage of teachers. But that doesn’t mean every district has a shortage of teachers. If you embrace teaching in an inner-city high school in another state, you’ll probably have no trouble at all.

Rather than diving right in and committing to several more semesters, you might want to investigate becoming a teacher assistant. You won’t need a certificate, and you’ll experience life in a classroom. The pay isn’t great (not that the pay for a beginning teacher with Bachelor’s degree is anything to write home about) but many districts offer tuition reimbursement programs if you decide to go on for a certification.

Many states offer reciprocal certification with other states. Again, you’ll need to check with an advisor.

It really depends upon the state. There are a lot of places that the credentials you listed would get you a job teaching high school math or computer science on an emergency credential so that you could teach while finishing up your classwork and going through a credentialing program, which would likely entail going to night classes and summer school.

Contact the recruiting agency of the state where you would like to teach, and they’ll get you started.

New York City has a huge recruiting program for people who want to teach high school math, and they’d do the work of helping to determine what you’d need to get qualified.

Yes. This is true. Different states each have their own board of eduction which sets curriculum requirements.

Look into what kunilou suggested regarding becoming a teacher assistant for a year or so. You can also look into substitute teaching. In most states you don’t need a teaching certificate to sub. Here in Michigan you don’t need one. Also consider looking into a VoTech school that is run by an ISD (Intermediate School Dist.) or RESA (Regional Educational Serivice Agency). I happen to work for one in MI myself and the teachers at our Vo-Tech center teach high school students that are looking for training in specific types of job skills.

I’m not sure about other ISD’s but our center has hired people with no teaching certificate as long as they were qualified in the area they were teaching and also as long as they were taking classes toward teacher certification.

It all depends on what they say you still need in the form of education-related classes. If you decide to go to college and take the courses, you can get your certificate in about 2 to 3 years depending on how many classes per semester you take. Some classes are prerequisites for other classes, depending on what you would like to teach. You may also be able to test out of some classes, thus speeding up the process. Some college classes you took before may count as well.

Right now Special Education teachers are real hard to find and many places are always looking to fill SPED positions. Secondary Ed. instructor (High School) positions are out there, it is harder to get into places that are known for being really good schools (Both from a work envrionment perspective as well as a student achievement perspective) since they usually don’t have the same type of turn over as other schools with not-so-good reputations.

Good luck.