How do you get certified to teach without a degree?

If you don’t have a degree already, the quickest way towards teacher certification will be the traditional route, which will be to go to university or college for a few years to get a Bachelor of Education. This will be quicker (and cheaper) than the alternative teacher certification route if you are starting with no degree at all, as the alternative path would require getting a degree in something else first, and is really only for people who decide that teaching is for them AFTER getting their degree.

In some circumstances, extensive life experience can be substituted for a bachelor’s degree if one wants to teach at a private school or to teach career and technical education (CTE), often also referred to as vocational or occupational training.

What about private schools?

Private schools often don’t have to follow the same certification rule as public schools when deciding who to hire. However, they still have very high standards and expectations for their teachers, so it’s very unlikely you’ll be teaching math, science or English without a degree. However, an actor with an impressive resume and portfolio could, in theory, be hired as a drama teacher at a private school.

What about Career and Technical Education?

Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers teach practical courses that are designed to prepare students for a specific career. So, think about cooking, computer programming, auto repair, etc. In many cases, prospective teachers can obtain an alternative teacher certification to teach CTE through either online or in-person coursework, with practical life experience acting as a substitute for a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite. So great news if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree but have worked in your family’s auto repair shop for the last 20 years!

Like most things related to teaching, rules vary from state to state, so it’s always best to do your research.

Want to try your hand at teaching before going all the way?

Click here to find out exactly how adding a TEFL certificate to your (degree-less) resume will increase your chances of landing a teaching job abroad.