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How To Become a Teacher

You know the difference a great teacher makes. It's no wonder you wish to cultivate young minds and impact future generations. Lipscomb University's College of Education equips you with the tools you'll need to instruct your own students.

You will make many choices on your journey to become a teacher, such as whether to teach young children or teenagers. This guide is one of our many resources to help you as you make these decisions.

Undergraduate Teaching Degree Process

As you enter college, you will need to declare a major and start pursuing your degree. Education majors are unique because your major depends on the kind of teacher you hope to be: Pre-K, middle school, high school, etc. Here are the basic steps you will take as an undergraduate here at Lipscomb.

Step 1- Decide What Education Level to Teach

Your degree program pathway is dependent on the ages and grades you want to teach. Do you wish to help form basic literacy skills or dive into the complicated formulas of high school physics? Whatever your choice, you must determine the education level to pursue.

There are undergraduate degrees offered for the six different education levels: Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Special Education, P-12 Education, Middle School Education and Secondary Education.

  • P-3/SPED Early Childhood Education encompasses Pre-K through 3rd grade with special education training
  • K-5/SPED Elementary Education involves Kindergarten through 5th grade with special education training
  • Special Education has three options (K-8; 6-12; K-12)
  • P-12 Education is encompassing education for preschool through grade 12
  • Middle School Education is subjects targeting grades 6-8 only
  • Secondary Education includes grades 6-12 (i.e. adolescents, teenagers)

Step 2- Pick Major(s) and Earn Your Degree

Once you choose an education level, you can determine what major(s) to pursue to graduate with a teaching degree. The College of Education cooperates with various academic departments to offer a variety of majors. Undergraduate candidates completing most programs may work toward either the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degree.

Interdisciplinary Teaching Majors

Lipscomb’s interdisciplinary teaching program meet Tennessee licensure standards. You’ll gain the knowledge and practical experience you need to be well-prepared. This program is consistently ranked as one of the most effective educator preparation programs in the state of Tennessee and the nation. There are three different majors available for Interdisciplinary Teaching. Interdisciplinary Teaching majors have the option to choose licensure or non-licensure pathways.

  • P-3/SPED Early Childhood Education with integrated Special Ed Licensure: The state Department of Education now requires teachers to double major with both age-specific and special education training. Those pursuing Early Childhood Education will follow an integrated program in Interdisciplinary Studies in Teaching (Pre-K through 3rd Grade) with special education experience.
  • K-5/SPED Elementary Education with dual Special Ed Licensure: Similar to Early Childhood, K-5 is now required a double major. Our dual endorsement program offers both licenses upon graduation. The Interdisciplinary Studies in Teaching (Kindergarten through 5th Grade) combines experiential special education training with general education for these ages.
  • Middle Grades (6-8) Licensure: Students interested in teaching certain subjects available only for middle school grades can gain teaching licensure for these four subjects:
    • Mathematics
    • Social Studies
    • English Language Arts
    • Science

Apply for Interdisciplinary Teaching

Special Education and Disability Studies Majors

Students interested in special education can major in the below areas. Special Education and Disability Studies majors have the option to choose licensure or non-licensure pathways. 

  • Disability Studies: Gain a good foundation of disability-specific knowledge, how to work with parents and other professionals, and how to create plans for individuals with disabilities. This degree is helpful for a career both in and out of the classroom.
  • Special Education Interventionist: This degree complies with Tennessee’s newest special education license requirements allowing you to teach in a variety of settings. You will have the skills to write individualized education programs (IEPs), create behavior plans, and learn to collaborate with parents and other professionals, in addition to other necessary competencies.

Apply for Disability Studies Apply for Special Education Interventionist

Interdisciplinary Studies in Education Major

Build a foundation for further studies with Interdisciplinary Studies in Education major. This degree option provides an opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree with more than one area of interest. 

Apply for Interdisciplinary Studies in Education

P-12 Education Majors

This teacher preparation program offers a range of teaching opportunities from pre-school through senior year. You will engage in an encompassing education to grant you the skills to succeed at any level. Majors available for P-12 include:

Apply for P-12 Education

Secondary Education Majors

You can pursue a general Secondary Education major. One may also elect to complete state requirements for endorsement in additional high school subjects, if that is something you wish to look into.

Those interested in teaching 6th through 12th grade in a specific subject area will:

  • Major in the subject area you want to teach.
  • Minor in Education to complete the additional teaching coursework to earn teaching licensure.

Apply for Secondary Education

Teaching Degree for Current Lipscomb Students

Deciding you want to teach the subject you're already majoring in is actually quite common. For example, you're in your third semester of Biology when you realize you want to be in a classroom educating students about the subject. Keep in mind this may push back your graduation time. However, it will be an easy adjustment to your learning experience, and you will graduate with a teaching license in addition to your original degree.

Subject-Specific Teaching: Simply meet with your advisor to discuss adding an education minor to your schedule.

Foreign Languages - ESL Endorsement: Undergraduate candidates already taking 2 4-hour foreign language courses and the Teaching Foreign Language course should consider the ESL add-on endorsement. This will provide additional licensure, making you an indispensable asset as a teacher.

 Apply for ESL Endorsement

Step 3- Take the Teaching Certification Test

To teach in the state of Tennessee, you must complete the state certification test and earn your Practitioner License. Tennessee's examination requires extended clinical hours (in-classroom teaching), as well as a bachelor's degree. You will be prepared to take the Praxis and edTPA exams. Lipscomb University's Teaching Licensure program is built into each education degree to provide you with the skills and coursework you need to pass as a new educator.

Graduate Teaching Degree Process

Lipscomb offers many graduate education degree programs to prepare those who want to do more. Whether your focus is leadership, technology, or behavior analysis, you’ll be trained in the latest research-based techniques and gain the field experience to put them into practice.

Apply to Earn a Graduate Degree

Career Changers and Degree Holders

Many people graduate with a bachelor's before deciding to teach or they pivot the direction of their career after gaining experience in the field. Anyone with a bachelor's degree that meets admissions requirements can earn their teaching certificate through Lipscomb's education program. We will work with and for you to make the process and transition easy.

Apply for a Teaching Certificate