Salary of a Teacher in Georgia is good. Teachers teach their students in many different ways, such as through discussions, lectures, and demonstrations. These people can choose to teach in elementary, middle, or high schools.
Teaching can be hard and tiring, but when their students do well, many teachers find it rewarding. Since their work schedules follow the school year, teachers often have the summer off.
How to Get a Georgia Teacher’s License
In Georgia, there are several ways to become a teacher. Your current level of education and work experience may affect the best way for you to get certified and licensed.
Here’s everything you need to know to get started, whether you want to teach but need to get a degree first or you’re already a certified teacher in another state.
Quick Facts about Teaching in Georgia
The National Education Association says that in 2022, there were 119,491 teachers working in Georgia. The number of secondary teaching jobs in Georgia is expected to grow by about 5% by 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But Georgia has a shortage of English, math, and elementary school teachers right now. The National Center for Education Statistics says that nearly 20% of teachers in Georgia have more than 20 years of experience. This means that many Georgia teachers may be getting close to retirement age.
Here are some other important numbers to know if you want to teach in Georgia:
- The median pay for high school teachers is $61,640.
- Nearly 30% of people have a bachelor’s degree, and nearly 44% have a master’s degree.
- Just over 15 students per teacher, which is about the same as the average across the country.
- Each student costs $10,010, which is 16% less than the national average
How to get a teaching license in Georgia
If you want to work as a teacher in Georgia, you must meet the state’s requirements to get certified, no matter how much you know or how long you’ve been in the field. Teachers in Georgia must be certified by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC). Both new teachers and teachers who are already certified in other states can get entry-level certification from the GaPSC.
In Georgia, there are 4 ways to get your first certification. The right path for you will depend on what you’ve learned and done in the past. The ways to get a certificate are:
- Pathway 1: is for new teachers who want to finish their training and education in Georgia.
- Pathway 2: For people who have finished an approved education program in another state but want to do their student teaching or other postgraduate fieldwork in Georgia.
- Pathway 3: This is for people who went to school and did their fieldwork in another state but want to be licensed in Georgia.
- Pathway 4: Those who are in a non-traditional program approved by the GaPSC, are working toward their teaching certification, and are employed by a Local Unit of Administration (LUA). Schools in LUAs can be public, private, or charter.
If you are a new teacher in the state of Georgia or a new teacher to the field, you can get your Induction certificate by following one of these paths.
1. Meet minimum education requirements
To teach full time in Georgia, you need at least a bachelor’s degree in education from an approved program. The GaPSC keeps a list of programs that have been approved because they meet its standards for preparing teachers.
Before you can start a program, you’ll need to pass the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) entrance exam or get good scores on the SAT, ACT, or Praxis I.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree in a different field, you will need to finish a GaPSC-approved educator preparation program before you can start student teaching or apply to take your exams. You won’t get an extra degree from these programs, but you will be able to work as a teacher in Georgia.
But if you already have a bachelor’s degree in education, you won’t have to do a prep program. You can just take your exams right away. The only requirements are that you got your degree within the past 10 years and had a GPA of 2.5 or higher when you graduated.
2. Meet the requirement for student teaching
If you are getting your education through a program that has been approved by the GaPSC, you will have to do student teaching as part of your coursework. You’ll do supervised fieldwork at schools in Georgia, working with students in the age range and specialty you want to get certified in. You’ll also have to teach in a classroom for a full semester.
But you’ll need to get your Pre-Service certificate before you can do any fieldwork or student teaching in Georgia. To do so, you’ll need to:
be in a program that the GaPSC has approved.
Pass a check of your criminal history done by the GaPSC.
GACE’s Program Entry Ethics Test (PEET) must be passed.
The Pre-Service certificate is usually good for up to 5 years, but your teacher preparation program can let you keep it for longer if you ask.
3. Pass the tests to become a teacher in Georgia
After you finish a GaPSC-approved program, you’ll be able to take the GACE’s certification exams. In the state of Georgia, anyone who wants to work in education must pass the GACE Ethics test. As of 2015, all candidates must also pass the Content Pedagogy test, which is designed to measure knowledge and skills in the areas of student development, instruction, and assessment.
The grade level and subject you want to teach will determine what other tests you have to take. On the GACE website, you can find a full list of all the tests that are needed for each specialty.
4. Apply for certification from the GaPSC
After you’ve finished your classes, fieldwork, and tests, you’ll need to apply for certification through the GaPSC. You can fill out an application online or by mail. You’ll also have to give the following details:
- Official transcripts of your course work, including, if applicable, work done in a program to prepare teachers.
- Signed forms showing proof of your fieldwork and student teaching
- Scores from GACE tests and any other tests you need to take, with at least a 220 on your Content test.
- You can use a Proof of Lawful Presence form and other documents to show that you can legally work in the U.S.
- Information about jobs from a LUA
If you don’t work for a LUA at the moment, you won’t get an Induction certificate. But if you meet all the other requirements, you’ll get a Certificate of Eligibility that you can turn into an educator certificate once you find a job.
Receiving your professional certification in Georgia
In Georgia, an Induction certificate is for your first three years as a teacher. As you get more experience, you’ll need to apply for the professional level of certification. To do so, you’ll need to:
- Have worked in a LUA for at least three years in the last five years.
- Get at least 250 on your GACE Content assessment at the professional level.
- Get at least two “Proficient” or “Excellent” ratings from the Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES) every year.
- Be working at a LUA right now
Renewal of Georgia teacher licenses
The professional teaching license in Georgia is good for five years. To make sure you can renew your certification when it’s time, you’ll also need to meet some other requirements. You will have to:
- Do a new background check on your criminal history
- Get a job with a LUA
- Have gotten good reviews from your boss about how you did your job
- Georgia is changing its requirements for continuing education right now. Right now, you don’t need to take more classes to keep your certification. However, most LUAs will require you to take more classes as part of your job.
Georgia Teacher Certification Reciprocity
Georgia accepts teaching certifications from all other states, including Washington, D.C., but it doesn’t give full reciprocity to teaching certifications from any state. Before you can start working in Georgia, you’ll need to take a few more steps. These things are:
- The Ethics test for Georgia
- Coursework in special education GaPSC Content exams in your area of specialization, unless you’ve done well on similar Praxis exams in the past 5 years.
- The Content and Pedagogy evaluation
- A check of your past in Georgia
- In some cases, you may be able to meet these requirements with tests and classes you took in your current state.
Alternative Teacher Certification in Georgia
You can get your teacher certification through Pathway 4 if you already have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a different field. This can be done in a few different ways.
- Through the Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy (GaTAPP), people who work at a LUA but don’t have a degree in education can get their certification. These programs are meant to help and encourage people who want to change careers and become teachers. They are made for teachers who are already working and come with guidance from professionals with more experience. The program gives the participants 3 years to finish it. Once you’re done, you’ll have to take all the steps we talked about earlier, like passing the GACE exams.
- You can apply for a Georgia Non-Renewable Certificate if you have a bachelor’s degree in a different field but don’t take part in GaTAPP. With this certificate, you can teach at a LUA while you finish your classes and other requirements for your teacher preparation program.
Teach for America (TFA)
Teach for America is a non-profit organization that sends qualified teachers to schools that need them all over the country. Those who want to join the program must have a bachelor’s degree or higher and have shown they are good leaders. Then, the participants go through an intensive training program that gets them ready to teach and helps them get certified. In Georgia, Teach for America volunteers work in the area around Atlanta.
Certification to Fill in as a Teacher
Working as a substitute teacher can be a good way for someone just starting out to gain experience. In Georgia, substitute teachers must have at least a high school diploma or GED and take a 4-hour course taught by a LUA.
LUAs keep a list of eligible substitutes that includes information like their level of education and how well they did at their previous jobs. If you have a high school diploma or GED, you can fill in for a teacher for up to 10 days in a row. You can fill in for a teacher for up to 46 days if you have a bachelor’s degree but are not certified.
Many people who want to teach work as substitutes while they get their certifications. Working as a substitute teacher can help you build your resume, make connections in LUAs, and figure out what kind of teaching you want to do.
Teacher Salaries in Georgia
Your salary as a teacher in Georgia will depend on your LUA, as well as your level of education and experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year 2021, the following jobs in Georgia have the following median salaries:
|Elementary School Teacher||$61,030|
|Secondary School Teacher||$61,640|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, 2021
How advanced degrees impact salary
About 44% of the teachers in Georgia have a master’s degree. In many LUAs, your level of education will affect the salary you can get. For example, if you start at $50,000 and don’t have a graduate degree, your salary growth could be capped at $58,000, no matter how many years of experience you have.
Teacher Shortage Areas & Job Outlook
The U.S. Department of Education says that Georgia has a shortage of teachers in the following subject areas:
- Elementary education
Georgia is currently changing its standards for how teachers should be trained and developed. As these changes take effect, job opportunities and pay may continue to rise.
Additional Teaching Endorsements & Specialty Certifications
Depending on what you want to teach, you might need to add a special endorsement or certification to your initial teacher certification. These might need more GACE tests or courses that have been approved by the GaPSC.
The following are examples of specialties that need more state-approved certification programs and more GACE testing:
- Education in elementary school
- Education in high school
- The study of sports
- As a second language, English
Some specialties require more state-approved training, such as:
- Different education
- Education for very young children
Certifications for school administrators
If you want to move up in your job, you might want to get a certificate in school administration. For these advanced certificates, you might have to do fieldwork, take more GACE tests, or take more classes, like for a master’s degree. The average salary for elementary and secondary school administrators in Georgia is said to be $95,650, and the number of jobs is expected to grow by 8% nationwide.
Certificate vs Certification
A certificate is given by an educational institution to a student who has finished a certain course of study well. Students can prepare for certification exams with the help of certificate programs.
A certification is usually given by a trade group after a person has met certain professional requirements (like getting a certain degree, working professionally in a certain field for a certain amount of time, etc.) and passed a certification exam.
In short, a certificate shows that someone has finished an educational program, while a certification shows that someone has met a set of professional criteria and/or passed an exam.
Not all of the programs offered are made to meet state licensing or advancement requirements for teachers. However, depending on the state’s requirements, it may help candidates get these approvals in their home state. Contact the state board of education in the state(s) in question to find out what is needed.
Financial Aid & Loan Forgiveness for Georgia Teachers
If you meet certain requirements, you might qualify for student loan forgiveness. For example, if you teach in a LUA that helps a lot of low-income families, the Federal Perkins Loan Cancellation Program, the Federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program may forgive your student loans. In 2018, there were more than 2,100 low-income LUAs.
Finding Georgia Teaching Jobs
If you want to teach in Georgia and are ready to look for a job, there are many places you can look. These things are:
- Teach Georgia
- Georgia Independent School Association
- Teach Away Georgia
- Georgia Department of Education
- Georgia Charter Schools
Questions People Usually Ask
In Georgia, do I need a master’s degree to become a teacher?
No, a master’s degree is not required to teach in Georgia. The majority of teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree. But getting a master’s degree can make you more competitive for jobs and help you move up in your career or become a leader faster.
I want to teach in Georgia. Do I need a bachelor’s degree in education?
No, a bachelor’s degree in education is not required to teach. Even if you didn’t study education in college, you can still become a certified teacher in Georgia if you take courses to prepare to be a teacher.
How much will I make in Georgia as a teacher?
How much you get paid will depend on what age group you teach. According to data from May 2019 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for elementary school teachers in Georgia was $56,360, for middle school teachers it was $58,190, and for high school teachers it was $58,050.
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