District of Columbia: Teacher Credentialing in the District of Columbia

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Becoming a teacher in the District of Columbia requires students to follow a very specific program of education. Under this educational program, individuals need to complete the necessary coursework, obtain teacher preparation, and then sit for certification testing. The entire process can take four years to complete, to ensure you can receive your bachelor's degree. Becoming a teacher is an important task, but you need to do so properly if you hope to obtain the necessary teacher credentialing.

Obtain Necessary Coursework

For those who plan to become a teacher in the District of Columbia, the first step in the process is to enroll in the right school. You will need to obtain at least a bachelor's degree in education, with or without a specialty. However, you can only take courses from an approved, accredited school. To find out which schools qualify for this, contact the District of Columbia Department of Education. The District of Columbia does not require that you have any specific undergraduate credit hours, but you must obtain a bachelor's degree in the area of education. Perhaps you already have a bachelor's degree outside of an educational background? If this is the case, you may be eligible for an alternative certificate, depending on your particular qualifications and the type of education you have. Contact the Department of Education to learn more about your specific situation.

Obtain Teacher Preparation

The District of Columbia requires that all teacher candidates enroll in a teacher preparation course after completing their required coursework. This must be through an accredited teacher education program. During this portion of the education, the student learns the basic foundational knowledge and skills they need to perform in the job. They will learn how to research, design and prepare curriculum and lessons for students.

Once the curricula portion of the teacher preparation is complete, the next step is to obtain the necessary education in the classroom. This occurs through student teaching. The student works alongside a certified teacher performing and implementing education to the classroom students. Specific goals must be accomplished during this portion of the process.

Obtain Teacher Testing

The District of Columbia then requires for all of those who have met the above requirements to sit for a formal basic skills test. This test is the Pre Professional Skills Test or PPST. Then, you may also need to complete the Subject Area Competence testing done through the Praxis II Subject Tests. This information is specific for specialized areas of study, should you have one. Once all of this has been accomplished the student then may submit all documentation and an application fee to the District of Columbia State Education Agency for approval. Within 30 days to 60 days, you should receive your specific teacher certificate, allowing you to work within the school systems. Both private and public schools mandate this type of certification for all teachers, though private schools may also require additional testing or coursework to be completed in order to be employed there.

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