Want to Be a Teacher? These Paths Lead to Teaching Degrees and Credentials

by Ashley Eneriz

If you hope to become a teacher, majoring in liberal studies isn’t the only option available to you. There are several paths that lead to teaching degrees and credentials. Whether your passion is math, music, science, special education or another subject, here’s what you need to know if you’re looking to earn your degree and a teaching credential.

Earning Your Bachelor’s Degree and Credential in Four Years

If you want the ability to teach right after graduation, then the Integrated Bachelor’s and Teaching Credential Program at Azusa Pacific University might be a good fit for you. This accelerated, rigorous program allows you to graduate with both a bachelor’s degree and a preliminary California teaching credential (single subject or education specialist) in just four years. Not only will you graduate as a credentialed educator, you’ll also gain real-world experience during your time as a student teacher.

“This is a relatively new option for undergraduate students to earn a bachelor’s degree and credential,” said Craig W. Bartholio, Ed.D., interim coordinator for the program. “Freshman students may already have an idea of becoming a teacher as their career choice. If they are interested in either science, math, or special education, this program allows them to enter the teaching field about two years faster than completing a credential program as a post-baccalaureate.”

The three eligible majors for this pathway at APU are:

  • Allied Health: When integrated with the credential program, an allied health degree equips graduates to teach science to secondary students.
  • Mathematics: With the B.A. in Mathematics, students complete the secondary math education track, enabling them to teach math to middle or high school students upon graduation.
  • Liberal Studies: The liberal studies major within the integrated credential program effectively prepares students to teach special education upon graduation.

The state of California is currently in critical need of math, science, and special education teachers, according to Teach California. Pursuing a degree in one of these areas can equip you to fill these gaps.

Adding a Master’s and Teaching Credential to Your Bachelor’s Degree

If you want to earn your degree in a different undergraduate program but still have the ability to teach, you can absolutely do that! In five and a half years, students can earn an undergraduate degree, a Master of Arts in Education, and a teaching credential from Azusa Pacific.

In less than six years, you can be ready to change lives in the classroom with an advanced degree. A master’s degree can also help you earn more money. Teachers with a master’s degree are usually paid more than those with a bachelor’s and credential only.

Here are just some of the subject-matter programs approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC):

  • Music Education: In the music education major, future music teachers are trained in all musical areas, including choral, instrumental, and general music knowledge.
  • Kinesiology: Within the kinesiology major, the physical education concentration equips graduates to teach physical education in California at any level.
  • Social Science: This social science major prepares students to teach social sciences (such as politics, geography, and economics) at the secondary level.

If you feel called to help shape the lives of the next generation, there is no better time to become an educator! The current teacher shortage in STEM and special education means qualified educators are in demand, and you may be able to relocate to a new geographical area in California. Wherever you land, your work can make a lasting difference in the lives of your students.

Are you interested in working toward one of the teaching degrees mentioned above? Learn more about pathways to become a teacher at Azusa Pacific University to find out how you can get started in education.