Georgia is home to more than 10 million people and counting, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and is now the eighth most populous state in the nation. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of the state's population is under the age of 18. In short, there is a large generation of young people who are in need good educators. In fact, Projections Central shows astounding growth potential for teachers in Georgia. From 2014 to 2024, the need for elementary school teachers is expected to grow by 18.3 percent, and secondary school teachers will grow by 18.4 percent. These numbers are on par with the fastest-growing industries in the nation.
With plenty of opportunity and new students on the way, Georgia teaching credentials could become more valuable than ever. And that's why it's important to start exploring this valuable career option sooner rather than later. Learning how to become a teacher in Georgia now could mean a lifetime of security in the future.
Prerequisites to Becoming a Teacher in Georgia
To become a teacher in Georgia, as with many other states, there are a number of requirements, usually earned in the following order:
- Earn a bachelor's degree in education or a related field
- Complete an accredited teacher preparation course
- Pass standardized tests specific to the state of Georgia
- Become licensed/certified to teach in the state of Georgia
In most cases, those who desire to teach elementary school need to earn a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. Secondary school teachers often need to earn a degree in the subject matter they hope to teach, such as history, English or mathematics. There are currently two levels of certification that you can complete: the Initial Certificate and the Clear Renewable Certificate. The latter can be achieved after a student passes the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators Test (GACE).
Becoming a teacher in Georgia requires passage of the GACE Basic Skills Test, Content and Professional Tests. Although the state does not require a basic skills examination, an internship is a requirement for the Georgia teaching credentials. Internships are a great way for students to observe experienced teachers on the job.
Teaching Degrees, Certifications and Credentials
Although a bachelor's degree is the minimum degree requirement for a career in teaching in Georgia, many students go on to earn a master's degree. Doing so can not only increase job prospects, but can also lead to higher pay.
Upon earning a bachelor's or master's degree and completing a state-approved teacher preparation program, there are currently four different types of teaching licenses that one can pursue:
- Pre-service -- geared toward students who are nearing the final states of teacher education
- Induction -- for teachers with less than three years of experience
- Professional -- for educators with more than three years of experience who have successfully passed the GACE assessment exams
- Advanced/Lead Professional -- for educators with more than five years of experience who have participated in the Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES) for at least three of those years
Career Outlook for Teachers in Georgia
Because of the rapid population growth in Georgia, careers in education look particularly bright. Projections Central and the U.S. Department of Labor show an incredible amount of predicted growth in employment from 2014 to 2024 for teachers in Georgia:
- Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education: 18.3%
- Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Vocational: 18.4%
- Kindergarten and Elementary Special Education Teachers: 18.2%
- Middle School Special Education Teachers: 18.3%
- Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Vocational: 18.4%
- Preschool Special Education Teachers: 19.9%
- Secondary School Special Education Teachers: 18%
As you can see, job prospects for those with Georgia teaching credentials are expected to improve immeasurably during the coming decade. And since high demand usually leads to higher pay and more job security, this is extremely good news for anyone looking into how to begin a career in teaching in the state.
Meanwhile, there is more good news for teaching candidates in the state of Georgia. Along with exceptional predicted growth, many teaching jobs in the state already feature high pay. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following teaching careers in Georgia featured the highest annual mean wages as of May 2015:
- Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Vocational: $55,460
- Secondary School Special Education Teachers: $56,340
- Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education: $53,610
- Kindergarten and Elementary Special Education Teachers: $53,770
- Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Vocational: $54,390
- Middle School Special Education Teachers: $52,340
Taking the time to learn how to become a teacher in Georgia is the first step. The next step involves searching for online schools that can help make the dream a reality. Once you choose a program that meets your needs and get started, a lucrative career in teaching could be well within your reach.
- Georgia Teacher Certification, How to Become a Licensed Teacher in Georgia, http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/teaching-license/georgia/
- Long-Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Georgia, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
- State and County QuickFacts, Georgia, U.S. Census Bureau, http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13000.html
- Teachers, Georgia Department of Education, http://www.gadoe.org/pages/teachers.aspx