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How to Become a U.S. Government Teacher

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Teaching is a rewarding profession that allows you to make a difference while also earning a living. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates, the number of teaching jobs available should increase by 13 percent during the period 2008 to 2018. Teachers undergo extensive training in education in order to be licensed and certified in their area of specialization. U.S. government teachers are social studies teachers who may teach a variety of courses such as government, history and economics.

Complete your general education requirements by enrolling in classes at the college, university or community college of your choice. General education courses are those courses you normally take during your first two years of college. Courses usually include a wide variety of subject areas such as English composition, foreign language, public speaking, humanities, literature and courses in the social and behavioral sciences.

Complete your bachelor's degree in education if required in your state. In some states such as Texas and California, an education degree is not required to teach. You simply need to pursue a bachelor's degree in a field closely related to what you want to teach. For U.S. government teachers, degrees in political science, history or even legal studies can be appropriate. If your state does not require an education degree, it is likely to require that you complete a teacher certification program in conjunction with your bachelor's degree.

Complete all requirements of your teacher education or certification program. Regardless of whether you are pursuing an education degree or another field of study, you will likely have to meet certain requirements such as student teaching assignments in order to meet state requirements for teachers.

Take your state certification exams. Check with your state to see which of these exams are required. Most states require you to pass a pre-professional training exam, which tests you over your skills in areas such as basic math, reading comprehension and writing. Most states also require you to pass a subject area examination that tests your knowledge of your field of specialization. For government teachers, this test will cover questions throughout various aspects of social studies. These areas may include economics, sociology, history and government. Having a broad range of knowledge in these topics will help you pass your certification exam.

Apply for your teaching license through your state department of education. Your scores on your certification exams will typically be sent automatically to the education department, but you may also need to submit college transcripts and fingerprint cards so that the state can complete a background check on you. Once you have passed the background check and have met all requirements, your state will issue your teaching license.


Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.