As the education industry continues to grow and diversify, many aspiring educators are considering becoming a teacher in a charter school. Unlike their public school counterparts, charters are often founded by community groups and designed to achieve better overall test scores and rates of student achievement. They’re particularly popular in urban environments, where they can compensate for city schools with inadequate funding or poor overall quality. Despite their many differences from public elementary, middle and high schools, however, charters require a nearly identical set of requirements for educators who wish to lead their classrooms. This is because charters are still governed as public schools by state agencies and education regulators. With that in mind, here’s how to become an educator in a charter classroom.
1. Graduate with an Education Degree
First and foremost, educators must attend an accredited college or university and pursue at least an undergraduate degree in education. Since this degree will determine which grades and subjects the graduate is eligible to teach, it’s important to choose the grade level and subject that are most interesting to the student and most likely to land them a long-term career in charter education. Students will be able to pick from elementary education, middle grades education, or secondary education. At the secondary education level, they will also pick a content area in which to specialize. These content areas range from math and English to computer science and chemistry. Secondary education is, for this reason, the best area of study for aspiring educators who are passionate about a single subject.
2. Pass Required Pre-Certification Exams and Student Teach
Before aspiring educators can land their first teaching job, they will have to pass the PRAXIS-I general assessment and secure a student teaching position at a nearby school that serves their chosen grade level and subject area. The PRAXIS-I covers every subject taught in today’s schools with the exception of foreign language. It’s considered the “easier” of two certification tests taken by today’s educators, but it’s still a challenging exam that merits significant preparation and long-term study. The student teaching placement will give educators the ability to lead a classroom under supervision by an existing instructor as they hone their classroom management, teaching skills, and lesson planning abilities. This is a requirement for licensure in almost every state.
3. Pass the Final Certification Exam and Graduate
After successfully finishing a student teaching placement and completing their college coursework, students will be required to sign up for a PRAXIS-II examination date. This exam will cover only the teacher’s chosen grade level and subject area, making it highly specialized and quite a bit more difficult than the PRAXIS-I version of the test. Teachers must pass this test in order to graduate and receive their “beginning” temporary teaching license. An unlimited number of attempts are permitted, but each attempt will require a costly exam fee that most educators will want to avoid paying more than once. Upon passing this exam and receiving a diploma, most schools will order the graduate’s teaching license from the state automatically. It should show up in the mail within two weeks, allowing educators to interview for and accept a position at a charter school.
A Standard Procedure for Teaching at Today’s Best Charters
Educators should keep in mind that, though charters are different, they are regulated just like public schools. As a result, their educators must be highly qualified and ready to adhere to all state standards and regulations. By following the procedure above, most education professionals will find it easy to qualify as a teacher in today’s charter school academies.