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Teaching Certifications and Licenses

Teaching is a popular career for military spouses, but it is also one of the most heavily state-regulated professions. Plan for your training and job search by learning which certifications or licenses you will need.

Until recently, teaching was a more difficult career path for military spouses. States regulate the licensure and certification requirements to teach in each specific state. Every state has different requirements. Through recent legislation, many states have developed reciprocity agreements for military spouses. These states now accept licenses and credentials from other states, at least temporarily, so you can get new state licensure. Visit the Military Spouse Interstate License Recognition Options for the most recent legislation and licensure information for your state.

Occupations in education and training have a positive outlook. As the school-age population grows, there will be more demand for elementary and middle school teachers, as well as teacher assistants. Also, more students are seeking higher education to meet their career goals, increasing the demand for postsecondary teachers. The education and training profession projects a 9% job growth from 2016 to 2026, with a median annual wage of $49,700. You can research employment trends and salaries for your specific education field and location using the Research Occupations tool on MySECO.

Education and training requirements differ depending on what level of education you want to teach.

  • Elementary school — You need a bachelor's degree before you can be considered for an elementary school teaching position. In addition, public schools require you to have a state-issued certification or license.
  • Secondary school — You need, at a minimum, a bachelor's degree and a major in the field or content area in which you wish to teach. It is also highly advised to take a teacher preparation program and classes in education and child psychology as well. Many states now require you to have a master's degree in the field or content area in which you wish to teach before you can be considered a strong candidate.
  • Postsecondary school — In most states you will need to have a doctorate and a major in the field or content area in which you wish to teach. Some community colleges require only a master's degree; private institutions have their own set of hiring standards.

Becoming a teacher isn't as difficult as you may think, if you are following a structured program. The College Exploration section of MySECO will help you research postsecondary institutions to find the right school for you. Tools such as Community College Finder, Resources for Choosing a School and College Scorecard can all be valuable resources to help you achieve your education goals.

Once you have finished your education, it's time to focus on your state licensure and certification requirements. Teach.org allows you to select the state where you will be teaching, and it will identify the licensure and certification requirements for employment in that state. Once you have completed these requirements, it's time to begin your job search.

If you are going to be teaching in a specialty field such as music and arts or health education, you may need specialty certifications and licenses in addition to regular teaching credentials. Some specialty areas requiring additional certifications include the following:

  • National Board Certification: Early Childhood/Generalist
  • Nationally Certified Teacher of Music
  • Master Certified Health Education Specialist

To explore additional information related to licensure and licensing portability, check out the article on Highly Portable Degrees for Military Spouses. You may also use the CareerOneStop License Finder tool to research your state's rules and regulations for the required licenses for a teacher.

If you move due to a PCS, your service branch can now help reimburse licensure and certification costs up to $1,000. Each service has its own procedures for reimbursement, so be sure you know what your branch requires.

If you still need additional information, you can visit the Licensures and Certifications section of the Education, Training and Licensing lifecycle stage of MySECO or speak with a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647. For additional guidance, use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website.

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