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Steps to Become a Georgia Teacher

If you have not yet completed an educator certification program but are considering a career as a teacher, here are some steps you should take:
Step 1: Pick a grade level
Georgia educator certificates are divided into the following grade or age groups:
  • Birth through Kindergarten;
  • Elementary Education: Pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade;
  • Middle Grades: These certificates cover grades 4-8, but most middle schools only have grades 6-8;
  • Secondary: These certificates cover grades 6-12, but most high schools only have grades 9-12;
  • P-12: Some certificate fields such as Art, Music, Drama, Dance, Health, PE, and Special Education allow you to teach in all grades.
If you are unsure which grade level or age group you would like to teach, you might want to try substitute teaching, volunteering at a school, or working as a Paraprofessional to get experience with students of different ages.
Step 2: Pick a subject area
  • Elementary school teachers typically teach all subjects (i.e., language arts, math, science, reading, and social studies);
  • Middle and high school teachers teach one or more specific subject areas:
    • There are 5 middle grades subject areas: Language Arts, Math, Reading, Science, & Social Science;
    • High school subjects may be more specific (for example, Geography and History rather than the broader field of Social Science)
  • There are two main Special Education fields in Georgia: General Curriculum and Adapted Curriculum.
    • General Curriculum is for those teachers who will work with students with mild disabilities;
    • Adapted Curriculum is for those teachers who will work with students with moderate to severe disabilities;
    • Some Special Education teachers deliver content in specific subject areas. These teachers are required to meet content assessment requirements in those subject areas.
In most cases you are not required to have a degree in a related field in order to pursue initial certification. However, you will have to meet content assessment requirements and a related degree or experience may be helpful. Once you choose a subject area, you can use the Certificate Explorer tool to view the certification requirements for that specific subject.
Step 3: Explore routes to certification
In order to qualify for a renewable, professional teaching certificate, you will have to complete a state-approved educator certification program. There are two main routes you can take to complete an appropriate program and earn certification:
  1. Enroll in a college or university certification program now, then seek employment later:
    If you are ready to enroll in a certification program, there are many colleges and universities in Georgia and other states that offer state-approved programs. You can read more about these programs here. You can search for certification programs offered in Georgia here. Once you complete a state-approved certification program and all assessment requirements, you can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility that will assure potential employers that you are eligible to become a fully certified Georgia educator;
  2. Qualify for a non-renewable certificate and seek employment now, then complete a certification program later:
    If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to qualify for an Induction Pathway 4 certificate. This is a 3-year, non-renewable certificate that allows you to teach while you complete a certification program. This certificate can only be issued once you are hired to teach in a Georgia school. The minimum requirements you must meet before seeking employment are as follows:
    • A bachelor’s degree or higher. If your highest degree is a bachelor’s degree and it was earned less than 10 years prior to the date of application, you must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.5. If you do not, you may still qualify by submitting proof of acceptance into a GaPSC-accepted educator preparation program or an accredited advanced degree program;
    • Passing score on the GACE Program Admission Assessment, or exemption. GACE scores are transmitted electronically to the GaPSC, but an exemption must be documented by a copy of an official score report for an eligible exam;
    • Induction level or higher passing score on the appropriate GACE content assessment. These scores are transmitted electronically to the GaPSC. If you are seeking employment as a consultative Special Education teacher, you are not required to pass the GACE content assessment before being eligible for certification;
    • Completion of the Georgia Educator Ethics Assessment - Program Entry (Test Code 350). This score is also transmitted electronically to the GaPSC.
Once you meet the above requirements, you may apply for teaching positions in Georgia schools. Use the TeachGeorgia website to find open positions and job fairs. After you are hired, your employer will request your certificate from the GaPSC. In order to convert to a renewable certificate, you must complete all the requirements of a state-approved educator preparation program, such as GaTAPP or a more traditional college or university program, and all applicable Special Georgia Requirements.