Earning a degree in secondary education requires students to complete certain prescribed courses and class work, usually in a four or five year college or university programs. Such a degree will prepare individuals to work in high schools or middle schools, or junior high schools and be a classroom teacher, counselor or administrator. Most colleges require a student to choose a secondary education major and minor in order to complete the program.
While studying secondary education, students must meet a minimum grade point average (GPA) in order to progress to the next set of course work. Students must also meet internship requirements and spend a prescribed amount of time in a student teaching position and then qualify for an evaluation. Upon receiving a degree in secondary education, teachers must apply for and receive a teaching license.
Most secondary education degrees are in the field in which the student chooses to teach while taking the required education course. Most school districts require a minimum of a Bachelor degree to qualify for a teacher’s license and a teaching position, however, there is usually an incentive to work towards and earn higher degrees in secondary education.
There are typically two ways to obtain a teacher’s license. The first way is for graduates who earned degrees in the field of education, and the second way is for graduates who want to become teachers, but hold degrees in other areas of study. The traditional route to a teacher certificate requires teachers to also complete a teacher preparation program in addition to a supervised teaching internship. There are school districts that will only hire teachers who successfully completed the student teaching program.
An alternative to pursuing a degree in secondary education is for the graduate who studied in areas other than secondary education, but decided to become a teacher at a later date. There are alternative licensing programs designed to attract graduates who qualify in diverse subjects, such as hard-to-fill subject areas that may include Math and Science areas or information technology. Some school districts allow graduates to teach after one or two semesters of full time study while others let graduates begin teaching immediately upon completion of the program, but require the teacher to teach under the supervision of an experienced mentor while studying the required programs outside of school hours. Anyone who teaches in a private school environment is required to hold a degree in Education, but it is not required by law.
Student teaching experience is an important aspect of becoming licensed. This is completed prior to graduation. Secondary education degree students are usually assigned to teaching positions in the area they hope to teach. The first few weeks of the student teaching program requires the student teacher to observe the mentor and help facilitate various aspects of the class. After the observation period, the student teacher delivers his own lessons. They are rated by the mentor they are assigned to and must receive a successful recommendation in order to fulfill that aspect of their degree.
Students must complete a degree program, and even though it is not mandated the program be accredited, it is to the students benefit to complete a program and earn a degree at a school that is accredited by the responsible education council. This can make the licensing process so much easier.
Teachers also have to possess a set of particular characteristics to be successful in the field of education. Communicating with minors and detecting their educational as well as emotional needs is critical. Secondary education teachers must know how to reach out to students and motivate adolescents. Organizational and administrative skills are important, as well as being patient with students.