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Choose Your Teacher Training Program
Great teachers aren't born. They're made.
Browse Programs
Choose Your Teacher Training Program
Great teachers aren't born. They're made.
Browse Programs

To become a fully certified teacher in a public school, you need to graduate from an approved Teacher Preparation Program (TPP). TPPs arm you with the skills and knowledge to teach in your chosen grade and subject. 

Let’s break it down and find the right path for you.

4 Ways to Complete Your Teacher Training

Everyone approaches the teaching profession differently. Select the tab that is most similar to your situation.
  • Complete your educator preparation program as part of earning your bachelor’s degree, reducing total cost and time.
  • Great for individuals who decide in high school or early in college that they want to become a teacher.
  • Undergraduate certification (+Bachelor’s)
    • Complete your educator preparation program as part of earning your bachelor’s degree, reducing total cost and time.
    • Great for individuals who decide in high school or early in college that they want to become a teacher.
  • Post-graduate, traditional certification
    • Gain even greater knowledge of your content and/or practice teaching before entering the classroom.
    • Flexibility to choose (1) between a shorter “certification-only” route vs. a more in-depth master’s degree route, (2) if you want to be a full-time vs. part-time student, and (3) when you enroll.
    • Start teaching with a higher salary (if you earn a master’s degree), since most districts pay higher salaries to those teachers with a master’s.
  • Post-graduate, alternative certification
    • Often allows you to start teaching (and earning a salary) as an “intern” on a probationary certification while you finish your post-graduate coursework.
    • Design of programs (e.g. cert-only vs. master’s degree; online vs. in-person) can vary significantly by provider, as well as how in much support is provided in getting hired as a teacher.
    • May be harder to get hired, especially in certification areas or schools that are not high-needs.
  • Post-graduate, residency model
    • Based on the medical residency model where hands-on practice and theory are more deeply integrated.
    • Typically pairs a full-year classroom apprenticeship (where you work alongside a mentor teacher) with master’s degree coursework.
    • Typically on a more structured, once-a-year start, and most often focused on high-need schools.
    • Many residency programs provide stipends during the first year and ask for multi-year commitments to teach.

Not All Programs Are Equal

Remember that states have different TPP certification standards. If your state does not recognize your certification, you won’t be able to get your teaching license. Double-check that your program:

Find and Compare Programs

Ready to explore some TPPs? Check out our handy National Teacher Preparation Program Finder to search for programs that fit your preferences and budget.

Need help thinking through your options? Get free advice with Talk to a Teacher. Chat with experienced teachers to hear what they did to find the training that worked for them.

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