Language Teacher Credentialing
What skills do I need in order to become a credentialed language teacher in the U.S.?
- Your academic background is very important. In most states you will need a bachelor’s degree (or U.S. equivalent). Teaching experience and/or training through and approved teacher education program is often required. Most importantly, you must submit proof of proficiency in English and the content language you wish to teach.
- Skills in public speaking, lesson planning, educational methods, American classroom management and technology can be quite helpful in today’s classroom, but these can be learned through a traditional or alternative teacher program and/or online courses.
What is the difference between traditional and alternative teacher programs?
- Traditional teacher programs are typically university-based, for-credit classes which require payment of university tuition. These programs can lead to a degree with certification or certification only, and can be for undergraduate or graduate students. A traditional certificate-only program generally takes 9-18 months (up to 1.5 academic years) to complete. A degree and certificate program generally takes 2 academic years for master’s degree programs and 4 academic years for bachelor degree programs to complete.
- Alternative certification programs are typically not university-based and may be offered by school districts or private entities approved by the state to offer a teacher education program. Applicants entering these programs often have a bachelor’s degree. Many programs are taught in the evenings and/or online to accommodate students with various commitments. Typically these programs allow applicants to teach while earning their credential. Alternative certification program generally are swift and intense, taking only 9-12 months to complete.
Can I get a language teacher credential with a degree from outside the U.S.?
- Yes, in most states you can get a language teacher credential with a degree from outside the U.S. on a case-by-case basis. Most often, you will be required to have your academic transcripts evaluated for US equivalency to determine eligibility for entrance into a teacher education program. Approved transcript evaluation agencies in your state can be found here.
How much will it cost me to get a language teacher credential?
- The total cost to obtain a language teacher credential in the US can vary by state and teacher program. Typical costs may include fees for transcript evaluation (if applicable), exams (basic skills, English proficiency, pedagogy and content language), teacher education program application, tuition/course fees, books, student teaching or internship placement, fingerprinting/background check, application for credential, etc. Check your state and teacher education program for specific fees.