How To Become a Teacher Without a Bachelor’s Degree in Education?


This article was written to explain to you that you can in fact become a teacher without a bachelor’s degree in education.

If you are an individual who has a bachelor’s degree in any field other than education, this post is for you.

If you’re looking for a post that would help you know if you can become a teacher without a degree at all, or at least an associate’s, then this article technically isn’t for you.

However, it may still answer any questions that you didn’t know to ask.

Can You Become a K-12 Teacher Without a Bachelor’s Degree in Education?

Yes, you can have a bachelor’s degree in any field of study and still become a certified teacher.

However, it likely won’t be as easy as you may think to get hired.

Although each state may have a slightly different set of requirements for potential teachers to meet, almost all states offer the same route to employment (for those who don’t have an educational-based bachelor’s degree)… an alternative teacher certification program.

Depending on the state, the average time to complete most alternative teacher certification programs is between 6-9 months.

These programs vary, but the one you choose should be approved by the state that you are wanting to teach in.

This is very important because every state has their own list of approved programs.

Again, yes, you can absolutely become a teacher even if your degree isn’t in the field of education.

Just note that you may still need to dedicate more time to doing so than you originally thought.

Do All Schools in the United States Require Alternative Teacher Certification Program Completion?

If you want to become a teacher for the K-12 public school system, yes, you will need to complete a state-approved program.

However, there are some private and charter schools that may not require such because they are not bound by the state requirements.

If you are hoping to become a teacher at a faster rate, this may be the only option.

The hard part about that is the ability to find openings. You may need to be willing to move to another city, county, or even a new state depending on job availability.

Can You Be a Substitute Teacher Without a Specific Degree in Education?

You may need to contact your state board of education to verify, but most states don’t require substitute teachers to have neither a bachelor’s in education nor an alternative teacher certification.

If you can afford to do such (substitute pay isn’t that much, nor is it guaranteed scheduling), you could go this route before you start your alternative program and/or during it.

This will help you get classroom time in while also helping you assure yourself that teaching is in fact the right career move for you.

Can You Start Teaching While in the Process of Completing an Alternative Teacher Certification Program?

Every state varies, but this is often times allowed. Especially when there is a major shortage of teachers in the public school systems.

For instance, according to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, North Carolina would be granted a temporary license if the applicant meets certain requirements and is currently enrolled in a state-recognized educator preparation program.

Is There Another Option Besides An Alternative Teacher Certification Program If My Bachelor’s Isn’t In Education?

If you were planning on going back to school for a Master’s degree already, then you could go ahead and do so in the field of education.

However, to work in almost every state’s K-12 public school system, you will need a state-approved certification (or at least be currently enrolled in one).

If you do not want to work in the public school system, however, then you may be able to land a teaching job in a private or charter school (if open positions are available).

Teaching Alternatives For People With Bachelor’s Degrees in Fields Other Than Education

If you’re not up for waiting 6-9 months to complete a state-approved teaching certification, or you would like to supplement your income while going through the certification process, you could practice teaching by teaching English online.

If you have a bachelor’s degree, in any field, and you are legally able to work in the United States or Canada, you are pretty much already qualified.

To find out more, check out this detailed guide explaining more about one of the most popular (and lucrative) online English teaching platforms – earn $14-25 per hour with GoGoKid.

Conclusion and FAQ

If you are willing to complete the state-required certifications, you can teach in the public school system for your state even if your bachelor’s degree isn’t in education.

You will just need to understand that it may still take several months before you are legally qualified to teach in your state.

Again, as stated above, your state may grant you a teacher’s license early if they are in need of teachers (as long as you are currently enrolled within the state-approved educator program).

Teaching isn’t for everyone, but if you are sure that this is the route you want to take – you can make it happen with just a tad bit more continued education/certification.

Does My Master’s Degree Make Me More Qualified to Become a Teacher?

If your Master’s degree isn’t in the education field, then no your master’s degree won’t make you more qualified.

You will still need to complete a state-approved alternative teacher certification program to be qualified.

However, if your master’s degree is in the educational field, then yes you are definitely qualified and would likely be taken into more consideration than a fellow candidate with a bachelor’s degree.

Do Teacher’s With Master’s Degrees in Education Receive a Higher Starting Salary as a K-12 Teacher?

Yes, if you were to receive a master’s degree in education you should receive a much higher starting salary than someone with a bachelor’s degree.

This is one perk to taking the time to commit to continuing your education for a master’s degree (over sticking with your bachelor’s degree and just completing an alternative teacher certification program).

It will take more time and more money, but it would definitely set you apart and increase your pay.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Alternative Teacher Certification Program?

On average, it takes about 6-9 months to complete a state-approved educator preparation program. Some programs may take less time, but this is the average time-frame that one should expect it to take.

Can I Be a Substitute Teacher Without a Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching?

Yes, you can absolutely become a substitute teacher without a degree in education.

This doesn’t mean that you aren’t required to have a bachelor’s degree, you just don’t have to have one in any particular field of study to be qualified.

Teacher Chelsey

I am an online English teacher for VIPKID, a powerhouse resource for teachers, a kick-butt wife, and a mom to ten super spoiled fur-babies. Some articles are written by me, others are written by my husband... but approved by me. LOL ;)

Recent Posts