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Grrr. So frustrated! I never thought it could be this difficult to become a teacher!

I have a BA in Psychology. I have decided that in the best interest of my children and their schedules and interest of finances, that a career in education would be most suitable for me. I would most enjoy becoming an Art Teacher at a younger grade level, or an English/Literature teacher in a high school, or a School Counselor (though it doesn't sound interesting, it does incorporate my Psychology background).

I looked into what we call the "Alternate Route" here (in NJ). It seems very expensive and complicated and difficult, and it doesn't offer any placement certainly. But... it seems if I go back to school for some more credits in the education field I could benefit from 1) receiving financial aid for schooling, hence solving my problem of the "alternate route" being pricey. 2) placement/experience teaching that most (all?) programs provide. 3) simply getting more secure with the field by learning more about it. So that was what I looked into. I went to the Rutger's web-site, which offers NO phone contact, just their e-mail form, and I inquired as follows:
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I have a BA in Psychology from Rutgers, and am interested in becoming a teacher. I am not sure where to start in order to become certified to teach. What programs are offered by Rutgers? Who do I contact? Can I get started in a program this Spring (2007)?
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They responded:
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You must have an appropriate major in order to be accepted into a teacher certification program at Rutgers. If you BA is in Psychology, then you cannot go through our English Education program, for example.
What would you wish to teach?
Rutgers GSE offers traditional route to teaching programs; they are all Masters programs.
There are no spring admission into our programs; the deadline for all programs is February 1.
You can email Erin Maguire in the Office of Academic Services your program interests and she can answer your questions or direct you to a person who will be able to.
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That didn't help me, kinda' even discouraged me, but I continued and contacted the person they instructed:
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Dear Erin Maguire,

I am seeking certification to become a teacher, and contacted Rutgers GSE yesterday for some information in that regard. I have a BA in Psychology from Rutgers (2005) and in the interest of efficiency I would, of course, like to utilize those credits as much as possible. Some of my interests include becoming an Art Teacher (any grade level), an English/Literature Teacher in a high school, or a School Counselor.

Is there any further information you can offer me about the programs you offer, and the amount of time it would take for me to complete a program and start working in the field? I would very much appreciate it.

Thank you in advance for your time and effort.

Sincerely,
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Does anyone know any more about this? Any additional information? Any personal experience? I would LOVE to hear more. I would really be MOST interested in taking the fewest credits possible to become certified and get started teaching asap.
 

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I apoligize if I missed any key details in your post because I'm having to read it quickly (school starts in 10 minutes).

I don't know about New Jersey, but in California you can take a test (or tests) to qualify you for a credential. For example, in my case, my undergraduate major was in history, completed at a school in Michigan. To get my teaching credential in California I had to take the SSAT and Praxis tests (now would be the CSET, I think). I did that and went through a credential only program at a university, took the tests, and received my California teaching credential in English. I now teach high school English. I would have had to follow the same route even if I had wanted a credential in history.

I would look into credential only programs in your area and find out about the testing requirements to earn a single subject teaching credential.

Hope that makes sense! Good luck.
 

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Every state has different requirements so take everything with a grain of salt.

I got my teaching certification in California, which has no undergraduate teaching degrees - everyone gets a bachelor's degree in "something" and then finishes another year+ to get the certification, sometimes as part of a masters degree program. However, then I moved to Michigan & eventually began a masters program as well so I can tell you that it can work similarly here as well (although undergrads can major in education). Basically, certification requires going through some sort of program at a university, student teaching, and taking state-mandated tests. Some universities only have the programs as part of a degree program (bach/master's). Some states have different student teaching requirements/loopholes. Some states have different or just more required tests. When I looked at the Rutgers website (my parents met there so I have fond feelings for the school), it seems like they only have certification through a masters program - many school districts prefer their teachers to have masters degrees so that's not a bad thing.

Now you've got some thinking and exploring to do. Do not go into this blind! The teaching profession has a 50% retivism rate - you do not wnt to spend all that time and money only to find out that it's not for you. Go observe at different grade levels in local schools - ask the principal nicely & explain that you're considering certification. Talk to teachers, find out how much work they really have to do. Sign up as a substitute (requirements vary widely, but I've never heard of any state that requires certification... some don't even require a degree).

As for your different choices -

Secondary English teacher - you might live in a state that requires you to actually have a literature degree or heavy coursework in that area. "No Child Left Behind" really tightened things up.

Art teacher - They'll want to know what kind if art background you have. For your own employment security, find out about the job prospects (there might only be several art teachers in an entire district & they'll be among the first to be laid off when the budget gets cut).

Counseling - I have no idea. It's completely separate from teacher certification though sometimes in the same school at a U. (There are also the budget-cuts issues.)
 

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I don't know what things are like now, but in NYC only two years ago, they were hiring un-certified people to teach (people who only had BS/BS degrees) and then paying for them to complete their masters in education with specified certification. It usually meant teaching in a pretty rough school, but it DID give one the chance to experience the feild before commiting $$$ to it.

I have a BA in English Literature from SUNY at Buffalo, and I got my teaching certification for secondary education at Long Island University, through their continuing education program. I have not yet gone back for my masters. The certifcation classes took me a year and half complete -- part time, and then I had one semester of student teaching.
 

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My dh went to Rutgers for all the classes needed to complete certification in music education k-12. NJ is notorius actually for their difficulty in certifying teachers. So good news is once you're certified you'll be able to leave NJ and still get a job.


My dh had a BA in music but there was still basically 2 years worth of coursework he needed to complete in order to get his certification. What he did was basically being masters work in education and took classes that he needed to from undergrad to catch up. This included student teaching.

So you might look into a Masters in Education for teaching English, begin the coursework that will get you certified, get certified, find a job (you'll be at a higher pay scale automatically b/c you'll have BA plus credit hours) and then have job pay for finishing masters.

I have a friend who went through the NYC program, I don't recommend it. It was really hard on her b/c you go to classes all summer and then you have no control over where they send you. Working in a bad neighborhood didn't bother her as much as the school had no idea what to do with her when she got there. She's no longer teaching after she finished her committment.

It does seem like school counselor would be the quickest way to get to certified since you already have an undergrad degree in psychology. But I'm not acquainted well enough with what credentials are needed for it. I think Art is similar to music in that you'd be certified K-12 which would give you more flexibility. English is very grade specific I would imagine that would take longer b/c of your lack of background. If you took child development classes you should be able to get credit for those.

I don't think people really realize sometimes what goes into becoming a teacher. It's not just I have a BA in english I'll teach english, you also need the development classes, the classroom management training, etc., etc.

Good luck!
 

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Check the requirements in neighboring states - they might be able to help you out.

I have a B.S. in computer engineering. I'm getting a teacher's license and Master's in science education right now. For me (I'm in Colorado), I had to -
- Complete a checklist of prerequisite courses - for science, it was introductory courses in Biology, Earth Science, Physics, and Chemistry, and then a minor in mathematics or science. The minor was no problem... I just had to take some biology and earth science. The prerequisites are different for each subject area... and for what it's worth, our state offers an endorsement in psychology (!) - not all schools offer those classes, but some do.
- Take a content exam - covering the whole subject area.
- Take the core education courses, including practica and student teaching

And that's it... it's not too bad. I'm taking spring semester off for a baby, then student teaching in fall and looking for a job.

If Rutgers isn't going to be helpful over email, it couldn't hurt to just walk down to the education building and ask to speak to someone in Licensure. They can give you the real story and you can also pick up forms. Also, check the websites for NJ, NY, and maybe PA's state department of education - for requirements to become a teacher.

Does Rutgers have a really small education department (or does it even exist as a separate department?) - maybe you'd benefit from contacting the school of education at another university, if you're willing to commute at all. Actually it couldn't hurt to contact another school regardless.

HTH some... keep us posted on your search ok?
 

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Have you contacted the state department of ed, or looked at their teeacher credentialing website? I've held teaching certificates in three states, and I've found that it's much more productive to ask them what they need from you and then go to the college with that information, rather than going to the colleges first.

dar
 

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I just saw this. I am a high school English teacher in New Jersey. In order to be certified, you must have a major in English literature, with a certain amount of credits in Education classes (I forget how many). You then must pass the Praxis exam.

I think it is great that you want to be a teacher, but I am surprised that you are upset at the difficulty of becoming a teacher. I can't imagine teaching English without a degree in English. (Or art for that matter)

We want qualified teachers , don't we? Don't give up on your dream, just find out what classes you need and start taking them.
 

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I'm with you Maggie, all the way.

My husband is finishing his undergrad work in Social Studies Education. He's student teaching this semester.

I have two years left before I start student teaching.

I couldn't imagine being a teacher without the english, english ed, and education courses to give me some sort of knowledge in the subject. Not to mention the importance of student teaching, in gaining hands on knowledge of the classroom.

In NC we have a lateral entry program that is 2 years. You must have a BA in another program to qualify. Then you enter your desired program as a junior and finish like any other student. You have to take the Praxis (and for English Ed we are required to pass Praxis I and II).
 
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