The Private School Guide for Dummies

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If you can choose a school that is close to home, you may be able to save money by qualifying for in-state tuition and living locally instead of on-campus. Consider whether or not you will be looking for scholarships, financial aid, or loans, and find out what each school has to offer you. Another important practical consideration is timing. Some schools offer accelerated programs to get you certified and into the workplace quickly. If you need to work at another job while pursuing your certification, look for a program that offers coursework in the evenings and on weekends or online.

Finally, once you have narrowed your choices down to one or two schools, it is a good idea to speak with individuals who graduated from the program. They can give you valuable insight into the positives and negatives of the institution and the certification program. Each school you are considering should be able to get you in touch with graduates. Be sure to ask about the instructors, the ability to get a position after graduating, and anything else that may concern you. Testing Requirements for Teachers To enter a teaching program at a university or college, you must meet certain requirements.

Those requirements vary by program. You can also read more about certification requirements in general or by state on our Certification Guide.

Many schools require a test for entry into a teaching program. The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests , or the Praxis Core, is used by many schools as an entry exam for teacher preparation programs and is also required in many states to earn teacher certification. The Praxis Core is designed to assess basic skills in math, reading, and writing. Some Praxis exams are offered year-round and others are only offered during certain testing windows.

You can register online by creating a Praxis account. This means you must take another exam. This series of tests is actually several exams by subject area.


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  5. You will take the subject tests for your particular area of certification. For instance, if you are applying for certification as a secondary social studies teacher, you will take the social studies Praxis Subject Assessment. You may take more than one subject area test if you are applying for more than one type of certification.

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    As with the Praxis Core, the subject area tests will also be taken by computer and can be registered for by logging into your Praxis account. Many states require prospective teachers seeking endorsements in grades to earn a passing score on this exam. The CKT measures both subject area and specialized content knowledge for teaching in the elementary grades.

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    It measures how well prospective teachers can apply their content knowledge in the classroom. As implied by the name, these Praxis tests are only for those who will be teaching at the elementary level. As with the others in the Praxis series, this exam is also taken by computer. There are states that do not require the Praxis exams for teachers, but may require it for other types of school positions such as administrators, speech pathologists, or school psychologists.

    To find out what tests you need to take in your state, visit the department of education website for your state, the Praxis website , or our Teacher Certification Requirement Information by State guide. Scholarships and Financial Aid Once you have decided to become a teacher and have begun to select a program for certification , it is time to think about tuition. College can be expensive, but there are ways to ensure that you can afford your education. Begin by choosing a college or university that has reasonable rates, but also think about looking for scholarships and financial aid opportunities.

    With a little help, you can afford to earn your degree and certification.


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    If you can qualify, scholarships are a great way to pay for your education. Unlike loans, they do not need to be paid back. Scholarships tend to be competitive, so be prepared to showcase your skills, awards, honors, and qualifications on your application. Check for scholarships particular to your state as well as those offered at the national level.

    These grants have a service obligation attached to them, so make sure you will be able to meet those conditions. Otherwise, your grant will turn into a loan.

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    The requirements include teaching for at least four years in a high-need field. In addition to scholarship opportunities, you should consider financial aid options. Every college and university has a financial aid department. An advisor can guide you through the process of finding, applying for, receiving, and paying back loans and aid. You can always apply for a private loan, but government-backed student aid is usually a better choice. Your financial aid advisor can help you make this decision. This will help you determine what type of aid you qualify for and what types of grants and loans you may be able to apply for.

    These include Pell Grants , which are given to undergraduate students, Perkins loans , which are low-interest federal loans, or PLUS loans , which you can use for graduate school. There are also teacher loan forgiveness and cancellation programs in place, which may assist you with paying off your school loans. These programs are intended to encourage young people to enter the field of teaching, so take advantage of them if you can.

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    There are certain eligibility requirements based on the type of aid you receive and how long you plan to teach, so read more on the Department of Education website to be sure you qualify for loan forgiveness. Curriculum for a Teaching Degree Program The curriculum that you can expect for a teaching certification program will vary depending on the university or college that you attend.

    However, there are similarities among most education programs. You will take coursework related to those subjects as well as courses that are specific to education. Most teaching programs will also require that you get some practical experience in a classroom as a student teacher. For more information on typical programs in education, read our Best Colleges for Education Majors guide. When selecting a major and minor area of study, you should have in mind the subjects that you hope to teach. There are many paths from which to choose, such as science and technology, mathematics, literacy, or language.

    There are population-specific specialties as well, which prepare a person to work as a gifted and talented teacher, special education teacher, adult and continuing education teacher, ESL teacher, or reading specialist. While such a specialty major is not always as flexible as more general majors like secondary education, it can lead to careers with higher salaries.

    Most education programs will limit the availability of major and minor choices to those that are teachable. For instance, a major in chemistry is a teachable major because chemistry is a major subject taught in schools and you might also be able to teach other science-related courses. A major in fashion design, on the other hand, may not be acceptable since that is not a subject typically taught in public schools. You may also be asked to choose a minor, depending on your school, which should also be in a teachable subject.

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    Much of your coursework will count towards your major and minor. If you are majoring in Spanish, for example, you will take numerous Spanish language and culture classes. You may also need to take certain electives required by your university. This could include a variety of courses to complete a liberal arts education such as humanities, social sciences, English, and math. In addition to courses that relate to your major and minor, you will take education classes to earn your teacher certification. The specific classes you need to take will depend on whether you are getting certified in elementary , secondary , or special education , or another area.

    Regardless of the type of certification you are pursuing, there are certain types of education classes that every prospective teacher can expect to take:. Many teacher certification programs require students to get classroom experience as they work towards their degree. Student teaching is often completed during the final year of study.

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