How Do You Become a Foreign Language Teacher?

Teachers are the foundation upon which the futures of our children our built. Being exposed to foreign languages is vital for students’ success in our increasingly global economy. There are several ways to become a foreign language teacher, but they each begin with pursuing a collegiate degree.

Choosing an Undergraduate Degree

The most direct route to becoming a foreign language teacher is to choose a university that both offer’s your language, and offers a primary or secondary education teaching certification in conjunction with that degree. An appropriate undergraduate degree should include both a thorough study of the language of your choice, in addition to one to two years worth of student teaching opportunities and teacher preparation in accordance with your state’s teaching requirements. As a rule of thumb, many universities focus primarily on their own state’s teacher certification laws, according to the U.S. Department of Education.  Each state has slightly different requirements for earning and maintaining a teacher’s certification. Teach.org, a non-profit organization working in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education, has gathered the specifics for each state in an easy to use online quiz located on their homepage.

Alternative Teachers Certifications

While it would be ideal for someone just starting school to choose an undergraduate degree with an emphasis on teaching, this isn’t always possible for students close to graduating or who have already completed their degree. Thankfully, many states offer alternative means to earning a teacher’s certification. These methods may range from earning an alternative teaching certification through an approved state agency, or earning a master’s degree in teaching or education. While both options require additional time, in many cases one to two years, this may be a more ideal alternative to returning to school to earn a second bachelor’s degree.

Teaching at the College Level

While becoming a foreign language teacher for primary and secondary schools only requires an undergraduate degree or certification, teaching at the community college or university level typically requires a graduate level degree. In many instances, you may be able to teach at the community or junior college level with a master’s degree in your language, but teaching at a university will require a doctoral degree. Some universities may allow current Ph.D, students, with prior experience, to teach university classes under supervisions.

Related Resource: What is an Academic Program Developer?

Teaching can be both a very rewarding, and challenging career for those who wish to pursue it. There are several ways for you to pursue your career in teaching, regardless of if you are just starting college, or if you graduated years ago and are looking for a change in careers. Make sure to check with your state’s department of education for information on training programs in your area, and for any specifics that may pertain to teaching a foreign language. With that knowledge at your fingertips, you will be able to become a foreign language teacher before you know it.