You must hold at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution accepted by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GPSC) to teach. If your cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) from your degree-granting institution must be at least 2.5 if your degree is less than 10 years old. If you do not have the minimum GPA, you may still qualify by submitting proof of acceptance into a GaPSC-accepted educator preparation program or an accredited advanced degree program. If your degree is older than 10 years old, you are exempt from the GPA minimum.
Your degree(s) need to align with the subject(s) you want to teach. For example, a degree in Mathematics or Mechanical Engineering would align with teaching math; a degree in Literature, Media, and Communication would align with teaching English. The level (early childhood, middle grades or secondary) you want to teach also affects the subjects you can teach.
The two major types of Georgia teaching certificates are induction and professional. Whether completing a traditional or an alternate certification program, you must first hold an induction certificate for your first three years of teaching. During that period, you must meet all induction requirements as outlined by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GPSC) and may not renew the certificate. Upon approval from the GPSC, an induction certificate converts to a professional certificate that is valid for five years and renewable through continuing education.
Certificate Range Levels
Birth - kindergarten teachers work with infants, toddlers, pre-school children, and kindergarteners.
Early childhood education (ECE or P-5) teachers teach all academic subjects in pre-kindergarten (pre-K) through grade 5 to learners between the ages of 4 and 10 years old. Early childhood education certification aligns with the traditional definition of elementary school in Georgia (kindergarten - grade 5) but also includes pre-K. You typically need a degree in Early Childhood Education to teach at this level.
Middle grades/level teachers typically teach two of four subject areas (Science, Mathematics, Language Arts, and Social Studies) in grades 4 -8 to learners between the ages of 9 and 14 years old. The traditional definition of middle school in Georgia is grades 6 -8, but middle grades/level certification refers to grades 4 - 8. You do not need a degree in middle grades to pursue certification but may have to take additional content-area coursework in the subject areas of choice.
Secondary teachers generally teach one subject in grades 6-12 to learners between the ages of 11 and 18 years old. Secondary certification in Georgia refers to grades 6 -12. Secondary certification allows you to teach middle or high school learners. You must have a degree in the content area or in a closely related area to acquire an induction and a professional certificate, e.g. many engineering fields and mathematics are closely related.
Pre-school - grade 12 (P-12) certification is for teachers who teach world languages, Art, Music, P.E. or are in Special Education. Degree requirements depend on the area.
Your highest degree and years of teaching experience typically determines your salary level in Georgia. All teachers in the state receive the same base salary from the Georgia Department of Education (not the GPSC), but each school system supplements the state salary according to that system's own policies. Teachers in different systems therefore do not receive the same overall salaries. Salary schedules for public school employees is public information, and school systems must publish them on their websites. School districts may pay teachers completing alternate certificate programs less than teachers who hold induction certification and have completed a traditional program because they have satisfied more of the requirements before beginning to teach.