According to a survey by YouGov, 73% of people (out of 1000) felt teachers give as much to society as firefighters. No doubt, teaching is among the most important professions in the world - teachers are the invisible hands that shape our society by shaping our and our childrens’ values and knowledge. How to become a teacher and join the future? Read on to find out.
Today we’ll look at what factors you should consider before becoming a teacher and the steps you can take to start teaching. The good news is that you don’t necessarily need a degree to teach - we’ll explore these alternative career options too. Plus, I’ll provide some tips for the newbies in the field.
Do you see yourself as a great teacher? Then go for it! Not only is it a crucially important profession for society - it’s also an opportunity to be creative and have a dynamic job that pushes you to improve constantly. Though it’s definitely not the easiest thing you can do, it can be the most rewarding.
All right, let’s dive into it!
Table of Contents
- 1. How to Become a Teacher: Top Things to Consider
- 1.1. So, Should You Be a Teacher?
- 1.2. Or a Tutor?
- 1.3. Where Do You Want to Teach?
- 2. How Many Years of College to Be a Teacher?
- 2.1. Who Do You Want to Teach?
- 2.2. Alternative Certification
- 3. How to Become a Teacher Without a Degree?
- 3.1. Teaching Online
- 3.2. How much can you earn?
- 3.3. How to Become a Teacher Online?
- 3.4. Udemy
- 3.5. Skillshare
- 4. How to Be a Good Teacher?
- 5. How to Become a Teacher: Courses to Get You Started
- 6. Courses For Future Teachers
- 6.1. Teach Anybody Anything: Reach Any Learner Anywhere Course (Enroll Here)
- 6.2. Supporting Children With Difficulties in Reading and Writing (Enroll Here)
- 6.3. Online Course Development: Planning and Implementation (Enroll Here)
- 6.4. Foundations of Teaching for Learning: Being a Teacher (Enroll Here)
- 7. Conclusions
How to Become a Teacher: Top Things to Consider
So you think you want to be a teacher. What’s next? Well, first of all, there are some key factors to consider before moving further. Is teaching a suitable career for you? Perhaps a tutor's job would suit you more?
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Then come questions like where are you going to teach? Who are you going to teach? What subject? Maybe you have the answers to all of these, in which case feel free to skip this section. If you don’t - read on and let’s figure it out how to become a teacher!
Is Teaching Right for You?
The first step in how to become a teacher process is figuring out whether teaching is the right job for you.
You’ll probably agree that teaching is certainly not for everyone. It’s a unique profession that comes with a unique set of challenges. However, they’re a lot less hideous when you love your job. So, to avoid spending time and energy on the wrong career, it’s worth reflecting on a few key factors.
Is Patience Your Virtue?
I can’t stress just how important it is to be patient as a teacher. Why? Because no learner is the same - each person, whether it’s a child or adult is different. Not only in terms of character but also their needs, pace, ways of understanding things - the list goes on. Your job as a teacher is to be equally patient and supportive with everyone.
Yes, you will end up repeating things. Regularly. So if this is something that makes your eyebrows frown - teaching really might not be the top choice for you.
Flexibility Is Key
Of course, some sort of structure is a must if you want to maintain some level of authority and order in your lessons - whether you teach groups or individually. Though something that no one mentions when talking about how to become a teacher is that it’s important to form connections with your students. Good student-teacher relationships have “important, positive and long-lasting implications for both students' academic and social development.”
Being too uptight in your methods and content makes you less approachable, plus it can create distance between you and your students - while you shouldn’t be their ‘buddy’, you still want them to be able to come up to you whenever they have a problem.
Are You Passionate About the Subject?
If it’s a certain subject you want to teach, you should be passionate about it. If you want to be a primary school teacher - you should at least feel passionate about teaching, if not about a single subject. Why? Because without passion, a teacher's job can be a bit tough.
Likewise, if you have to talk about a subject you're not that interested in every day - things might get a little boring, not just for you but for your students too.
So, Should You Be a Teacher?
It’s worth mentioning that passion sometimes builds over time. It takes time and patience. Here’s the thing: those who think that teaching is a somewhat ‘easy’ way to earn with a lot of days off included will be very disappointed, and to be honest - won’t make good teachers. So, how to become a teacher? First of all, make sure you want to be one.
However, if you really want to make a difference, have a zest for explaining things, and are willing to put in the effort - you may just become a teacher the world needs. Passion and hard work are what will make you stand out from the crowd and change students’ lives.
If you’re still not sure whether this job is the right fit for you, talk to an existing teacher! They might provide you with insight on how to become a teacher in your area. Do you know someone who’s been teaching for a while? Perhaps you could contact them and ask them to tell you about their personal experience in the field. They may give you some really valuable experience-based advice, especially if they work in the same area.
Or a Tutor?
The two jobs are similar: both teachers and tutors work with their students and help them learn. However, there are some key differences that maybe you aren’t aware of. In any case, I want to give you an overview of what those differences are so that you’re well informed about all the possible choices.
Let’s take a look.
Teacher VS Tutor
As you see, there are some obvious differences between being a teacher and being a tutor. Let's explore those in more detail.
Who Is a Teacher?
A teacher is a person who teaches children and teens at school or another educational institution. Teachers usually work in primary and secondary schools or colleges. A teacher generally teaches a larger number of students than a tutor. In some countries, there can be up to 30 (and more!) students in a classroom. Of course, that many students aren’t common. Normally it’s between 10-20 students.
A teacher has many duties and responsibilities other than teaching, such as facilitating learning, monitoring and evaluating students, and guiding them on the right path.
Becoming a teacher entails acquiring some educational qualifications and experience. An educational certification or a bachelor's degree in the relevant field is usually the accepted educational qualification for becoming a teacher.
Who Is a Tutor?
A tutor is a kind of like a private teacher, particularly a person who teaches individual students or small groups. When a student is struggling with a particular topic, they (or their parents) can hire a tutor to help them understand that topic.
Since a tutor teaches a single student or a small group of students at a time, they can tailor the lesson to the student's learning abilities and can use various methods and techniques to help the student.
It is also important to note that a tutor’s job doesn’t require the qualifications of a teacher. Even students can be tutors. For example, an undergraduate student may tutor students in high school. There are no established educational qualifications for the job.
No job is better or worse than the other - it simply depends on which one appeals more to you. The most important thing is that you enjoy it - whether you’re a happy teacher or a happy tutor, students will pick up your vibe.
Where Do You Want to Teach?
Okay, so you’ve ticked all the boxes until now. You know you want to be a teacher (or a tutor). The next question is where do you want to teach? Is it in the United States or some other country? What state? Have you considered teaching online?
An essential part of the whole ‘how to become a teacher’ process is choosing the location. It’s very important. Mainly because different countries and even states have different rules when it comes to becoming a teacher.
So you may need different qualifications and experience based on where you want to teach. Make sure you research these properly. You can check out teacher certification requirements in the US by the state on this website.
How Many Years of College to Be a Teacher?
If you want to teach in the US, there are specific requirements that you’ll have to meet. So, how many years of college to be a teacher? Well, it depends.
Becoming licensed and certified typically takes around 4 to 5 years because the minimum qualification to become a teacher is a bachelor's degree in education (a teaching degree). Plus anything that is required by a particular state you want to teach in.
Who Do You Want to Teach?
Requirements also vary slightly depending on what age group you want to teach (in the case of official education). A bachelor’s degree in education or a teaching degree is sufficient for elementary and middle school teachers. High school (and sometimes elementary and middle school) teachers are expected to major in mathematics, chemistry, or history.
If you don’t have a teaching degree, keep your chin up! It doesn’t mean that the teacher's career path is closed for you. Some schools actually prefer hiring teachers with expertise in a particular subject. Although you’ll still need to acquire certification via the teacher preparation certificate program (minimum 1 year), and have about 2 years of work experience.
Or, you can teach online - having a teaching degree is a plus, but you don’t need it! At least not on all e-learning platforms. Of course, that doesn’t mean that anyone can teach online - you must have expertise in that particular subject.
How to Become a Teacher Without a Degree?
How many years of college to be a teacher online? None. One of the ways to become a teacher without a degree is to teach online. What matters here is your experience and expertise and your ability to deliver complex subjects in an engaging, easy-to-understand manner.
Various platforms allow you to teach and create courses despite not having a paper to prove your skills. Nevertheless, you still have to go through certain application processes to ensure the quality of your content.
With online classes, students are usually able to rate their experience, comment, and review the courses, instructors (teachers), and the material. This is how other students know whether your course is worth it or not, you could say it's more of a word-of-mouth system. This may be a reason why a degree isn’t always necessary. Plus, it’s a less formal environment altogether.
Along with technological advancements and the internet came online education - and people love it! The market has been growing ever since online learning became a thing, fast. Even before the pandemic, the online education market was forecasted to be worth $350 Billion by 2025.
More and more people are turning to online learning for knowledge and new skills in order to change careers or gain qualifications in the field they’re already working in.
As an alternative to becoming a ‘traditional’ teacher - join the teachers, tutors, and instructors’ community online! It’s not only a great way to gain experience but also to reach a truly wide student audience. Depending on what you want to teach, there are various opportunities for you out there.
Benefits of teaching online:
- You can do it from anywhere
- Reach a global audience
- Set your own schedule
- Increased earning potential
How much can you earn?
According to PayScale, most people teaching online earn between $10.16 and $40.31 per hour.
How to Become a Teacher Online?
It’s really not that complicated. First, you have to know what subject to teach. If you’re considering becoming a teacher, you probably already have experience and knowledge in a particular subject. The next step is to choose the right online teaching platform.
While there are many, I’ll tell you about a few that are considered to be some of the best e-learning platforms. Of course, these are just some examples, feel free to do your own research and find the best platform for you.
Then, all you have to do is design a course that students will benefit from and start teaching! Keep in mind though that your course content and style should be tailored for online learning, which may be different from how you would normally teach in-person.
To help you out with that, I’ll add a few courses in the next section of this article. Check them out to learn more about how to be a good teacher online, create the right content, and deliver it in an appropriate manner.
Now, in terms of e-learning platforms, here are some of the best ones for you to teach on:
It’s one of the most popular e-learning platforms out there - currently boasting of 40 million students that use their courses. The greatest thing about this platform is that you can create courses on any topic that is in-demand. If you’re unsure, you can always contact their team for further information.
Here, you’re the one to set the price for your course, and although Udemy shares a certain percentage of your revenues, they’re the ones to do all the promotions for you. To learn more about instructor revenue share on Udemy visit this website.
It’s an online learning platform that’s rising in popularity, offering courses in anything from watercolor, animation, and surface design to writing, marketing, and business. Similar to Udemy, courses on Skillshare are video-based, but you’re free to add any other resources you may find useful.
Your courses will be more popular if they’re interactive - so it’s worth thinking about creating some sort of an online forum or a group, space where students can interact with you and each other. Not only will it make your courses more popular, but also you’ll retain more students. Plus, teachers with a larger following can actually earn a decent income. On skillshare, teachers get paid based on minutes watched.
Among other popular e-learning platforms are Thinkific, Teachable, iTalki, and others.
If you want to find more information about Udemy and Skillshare, check out this extensive comparison of the two platforms, where you'll find out things like what they're best for, the number of courses already available, the good and the bad things about each platform, and so on.
How to Be a Good Teacher?
One thing is for sure - knowing how to become a teacher is not enough. You must know how to be a teacher. Have you ever been to a lesson where you found yourself thinking something along the lines of “man, this person really isn’t great at explaining this“ or almost fell asleep because of how unenthusiastic the teacher seemed?
It may be because they’re just not that into their job, or because they simply never learned how to be a good teacher. Luckily, this won’t happen to you because you’ll know what being a good teacher entails.
Whether you’re going to teach in the classroom or online, here are some tips on how to be a good teacher:
- Be Clear and Simple
Even those who know their subject really, really well sometimes cannot explain it well at all. It’s crucial for you as a teacher to adopt a student's perspective whenever you prepare your classes or courses. Don’t assume they know something if you haven’t taught them yet. Unless it’s an advanced topic, use words that are simple and easy to understand.
- Ask Questions (If Possible)
Whether it’s in-class or online environments, encourage students to ask questions whenever something is unclear. If you’re going to teach face-to-face, don’t hesitate to pause and ask your students if they understand after you present a new topic.
- Show Enthusiasm
It’s hard to take in new information and learn from someone who really doesn’t seem all that interested in what they’re talking about. You showing enthusiasm for the subject will keep students more engaged, and they are more likely to stay attentive and therefore learn more!
- Create Engaging Content
How to become a teacher that students listen to? Produce engaging content.
Textbooks are great, they contain a lot of valuable knowledge and are a great source of information in classrooms. However, the more different resources you use, the more engaging your classes will be.
Real-life scenarios, tasks, projects, and so on are what students really love. They create a feeling that what they’re learning is actually useful. Students love applying their newfound knowledge to solve problems and overcome challenges - not only does it increase learner retention, but also makes it easier for you to plan your content!
When planning your lessons and content, remember that many students learn more easily by actually “doing” activities.
- Be Patient
How to be a teacher? Be patient. I already mentioned it at the beginning of the article, but really, it's an absolutely essential quality for any teacher to have.
- Be Adaptive
See yourself as a chameleon if you may - the teacher of the 21st century: capable of adapting to the circumstances of the classroom, to the needs and interests of students, to the reality of the world and society.
Diversity in the classroom is not uncommon, it’s the norm. Therefore, the personalization of the teaching/learning process is a necessity.
- Promote Collaboration
Team Working skills are a must. To be a good teacher, you must encourage your students to practice collaborating with their peers. Whether it’s group work, online forums, Facebook groups - whatever means you can think of.
The majority of jobs today involve some level of teamwork and collaboration. Teamwork skills are a vital element in today’s workforce. Plus, they’re a good practice when it comes to planning, communication, and networking.
- Prepare Well
Whether it’s creating courses online or preparing classes for the next day at school, make sure you prepare well. It can be very stressful when you show up in front of a whole classroom without a plan - not only you’ll feel uncomfortable (unless you’re great at improvising), but your students will also get confused if you start throwing random exercises at them.
How to Become a Teacher: Courses to Get You Started
Okay, so we went through some basic steps as to how to become a teacher in the US and online. Now that you know the main qualities of a good teacher, we can look at some practical stuff.
To help you prepare for your teacher's career, I’ve picked a few online courses you can take that will help you gain skills in creating online courses and teaching online, working with different learning types, connecting with students, working with students who have dyslexia, and more.
Right now, there are some deals available for courses on these platforms. Check them out here, they can save you tons of money while giving you access to all of the course material and the certificate.
Courses For Future Teachers
Even though they’re not ‘official’ teaching degrees, these courses can help you gain unique teaching skills at a much lower price (most of them accessible for free). Why are they worth it? They’ll teach you how to become a teacher that cares about their students.
So, I recommend the following courses on top e-learning platforms:
- Platform: Udemy
- Offered by: Jason TeTeak
- Price: $14 (post-discount)
- Certificate: Yes
- Time to complete: 2-3 hours
- Where to enroll? here
Remember what I said about making your classes engaging? Well, this course can teach you a thing or two about that. Designed for teachers who care about their students, this course provides you with the tools necessary for effective adult learning.
It will teach you how to work with the main types of adult learners: the step learner, the research learner, the talk learner, and the create learner.
On top of that, you’ll understand how adults learn in comparison to children, acquire methods for ‘breaking the ice’ with new students, and other techniques that will make them hooked on your classes.
- Platform: Coursera
- Offered by: University of London UCL Institute of Education Dyslexia and Literacy International
- Price: Free (to enroll)
- Certificate: Yes (paid)
- Time to complete: 17 hours
- Where to enroll? here
Dyslexia is considered the most common neurocognitive disorder which, according to NIH, affects 1 in every 5 individuals (20% of the US population). Chances are that you will encounter some students with dyslexia throughout your teacher’s career. This course by the University of London is a good way to learn more about the disorder and how to work with those who have it.
While a lot of the teaching material is focused on children with dyslexia, a lot of it can be applied to older learners too. Included in the course content are the definition of dyslexia, 'comorbidity', psychological and social aspects, and the best practices in teaching literacy to all in light of recent scientific discoveries.
- Platform: edX
- Offered by: University of British Columbia
- Price: Free (to enroll)
- Certificate: Yes (paid)
- Time to complete: 2 weeks
- Where to enroll? here
This course is basically your manual of how to become a teacher online. If you’re interested in creating your own course or a program, it can help you design quality material tailored specifically for the online student audience.
You’ll learn how to develop an effective online learning environment, including conducting a needs assessment, forming a strategic plan, evaluating learning management systems (LMS), and assessing tools for creating both synchronous and asynchronous content.
Upon completion of this course, you may receive a verified certificate, however, you will have to purchase it. Otherwise, you can access all the teaching content for free!
This course is also part of the Professional Certificate Program in Online Teaching for Educators: Development and Delivery. If you’re serious about teaching online, I recommend checking this program out. It only takes around 2 months to complete, and you get a professional certificate at the end.
Other courses within the program are:
- Designing and Developing an Online Course (Enroll Here)
- Strategies for Online Teaching and Learning (Enroll Here)
You can enroll in the full Online Teaching for Educators: Development and Delivery Program HERE
- Simplistic design (no unnecessary information)
- High-quality courses (even the free ones)
- Variety of features
- Nanodegree programs
- Suitable for enterprises
- Paid certificates of completion
- Platform: Coursera
- Offered by: Commonwealth Education Trust
- Price: Free (to enroll)
- Time to complete: 12 hours
- Certificate: Yes (paid)
- Where to enroll? here
This course is designed for beginner teachers of all kinds. Whether you’re going to teach at school, at home, or in the workplace - it will get you on the right track of how to become an effective teacher.
It dives deep into the learning process and explores teaching from a unique perspective. In this 12-hour course, you’ll learn about the philosophy of education and its applications, explore teacher’s sense of identity, Jacob Kounin’s (educational theorist) key strategies for managing the classroom, learn all about effective communication with learners, Alexander’s nine aspects of pedagogy, and more.
So today we looked at how to know whether teaching is the right job for you, what options are available, and how to become a teacher with or without a degree. I mentioned that teaching is certainly not for everyone. Some of the most important qualities of a good teacher are: patience, flexibility, and being passionate about the subject and teaching in general.
A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement to become a school or college teacher in the US. It doesn't necessarily have to be a teaching degree. Nevertheless, you'll still need to complete some sort of teaching training.
To become a teacher without a degree, you can tutor or teach online on e-learning platforms, which is a great option for those who like to have flexible hours, work with a smaller group of people, and different age groups.
These are some of the best online courses you can take to prepare you for the teaching journey ahead:
- Teach Anybody Anything: Reach Any Learner Anywhere Course
- Supporting Children With Difficulties in Reading and Writing
- Online Course Development: Planning and Implementation
- Foundations of Teaching for Learning: Being a Teacher
You can access many of these courses for free without a certificate or use these coupons for the best deals available.
1. American Psychological Association, Improving Students' Relationships with Teachers to Provide Essential Supports for Learning
2. Businesswire, $350 Billion Online Education Market: Global Forecast to 2025
3. Cambridge University Press, Practical work: The benefits, challenges and solutions