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In times when education budgets are being cut across the country, finding a teaching job becomes more competitive. For this reason, many aspiring teachers are attracted to the idea of a dual teaching certification, making them a more attractive candidate because of these multiple skill sets. Or, maybe you just want to have the option to inject some variety into a career with the ability to switch subjects if necessary. Whatever the case, obtaining a dual teaching certification may require more work than a single-subject certification, but it's certainly attainable for the driven educator.
Choose appropriate areas of certification. A common dual certification is in K-5 education and Special Needs education. This is because the academic subject area knowledge in early education does not need to be highly specialized as you are mostly teaching basic concepts, and there is an emphasis on child psychology. Therefore, there is overlap between the two subject areas. In fact, several colleges offer programs specially tailored for this dual certification, such as the NYU master's program.
If you want dual subject certification, you should choose subjects that have some overlap, such as English and Social Science, or Biology and Anatomy, or two subjects in which you already have a strength. Dual subject certification will make you quite valuable, but it is intense.
Research the certification requirements for the state in which you plan to teach. Education varies from one state to another, and you can find the certification requirements for each state on the University of Kentucky Web site (see: ref. 2). This state certification information will obviously influence what type of certification program you choose to pursue, as some states require a bachelor's in some sort of Education major, while others require only completion of an accredited course.
Target a few schools. If you can find some ideal schools and research what sorts of classes they offer and what areas of need they might have, you will be able to better narrow the range of choices in terms of dual certification. Also, if you have a chance to ask the administration what kind of credentials they like to see in new teachers, this could also help you in choosing an appropriate certification program.
Apply to appropriate training programs. Nearly every college and university has a school of education. Focus on ones that are in the state in which you hope to teach, as they are most likely to abide by state regulations. There are also accreditation programs not connected to colleges that may be worth applying to. Look in the program literature to determine whether or not each program offers dual certification.
Complete the education program. You will receive a degree or certificate of completion which will help you to get the state certification.
Apply for a state license. You can find applications on the state board of education websites. Be sure to note on the application that you are trained in two subject areas or qualified to teach in multiple areas of education. This is where all the hard work toward dual certification will pay off.
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Ray Dallas graduated with majors in journalism and English. While in Florida, he wrote freelance articles for "The Alligator" and was the copy editor and a writer for "Orange & Blue." Since moving to California, Dallas has worked as a script reader and for a talent manager, as well as taking numerous industry odd jobs.
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