How to Become a Math Teacher - Becoming a Math Teacher in the United States
From the time a student begins their education journey, from kindergarten through 12th grade and into college, math is a subject that is always on the curriculum and required class list. Because of this, there is always a high demand for qualified math teachers across the United States.
If you are considering a career in education and would like to learn how to become a math teacher, the basic requirements are as follows:
- A state-approved bachelor’s degree though an approved education or teaching degree program including practice or student teacher and state teaching certification OR
- A bachelor’s or master’s degree from a state accredited university in any field AND an approved alternative teaching certification.
If you want to teach at the college or university level, a master’s level degree in a mathematics discipline is usually required for entry level instructor positions.
To become a math teacher at the kindergarten or preschool level, all that is needed is an Early Childhood education degree and a teaching certification. But if you’re interested in becoming a math teacher at the secondary or elementary level, degrees in Mathematics, Applied Math, Interdisciplinary Studies with a major in Mathematics, or an Elementary Education degree with a major in Math are all great options to consider.
If you already have a mathematics bachelor’s degree and you would like to change careers and become a math teacher, you might be required to complete a teaching graduate degree program before taking the necessary teaching certification examinations. In New York, for example, a state approved graduate degree teaching program is needed in additional to successful completion of all certification exams to become a math teacher. Many states always require you to keep your grade point average above a certain number. For example, New York State requires you to hold a 2.5 Grade Point Average minimum in your bachelor’s degree program. Many states in the USA also require all teachers to successfully pass a series of PRAXIS examinations which are pre-professional skill tests used to test your knowledge in both education and mathematics.
If you are just thinking about enrolling in a college or university and would like to become a Math teacher, every state has accredited colleges and universities which offer education and teacher preparation bachelor degree programs for both aspiring elementary and secondary level teachers. If you are in college and are thinking about switching majors or would like to bridge your existing studies with a teaching career, you can usually do so by adding the required education courses and completing a semester of practice or student teaching. As long as you satisify the required course hours in both the mathematics core subjects plus any required education courses, a teacher certification is easily within reach.
If you are a math teacher and would like to change to a school district in a different state, the alternative route to certification is often referred to as interstate reciprocity. Specifics will vary from one state to another and your first step should be to contact to the state education offices of both your current state and the state you plan to teach to get information on equivalency in subjects between states to see if you have the required eduction courses. You will also want to inquire to see if the new state will honor the existing the assessment and certification exams you have passed. Many times states will recognize your current tests and not require you to re-take their particular exams.
If you are currently a foreign teacher and would like to teach mathematics in the United States, you will most likely be subject to degree equivalency verification.
The process consists of a few steps:
- Degree Comparison – A State agency will compare a foreign bachelor’s degree to determine if it compares to its equivilent US degree.
- IELTS or TOEFL – If you are a teacher from a nation where English is not the first language, you might be required to show successful completion of the Test of English as a Foreign Language and/or the International English Language Testing System
- Valid Visa, H1-B or J-1, contract or professional recommendation from the employing school district or and a letter of consent verification from the state Board of Regents