Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through teaching experience of his own, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.
Have you been working in the business world, only to discover you want to use the knowledge you’ve gained to inspire and educate the next generation of businesspeople?
Working in an industry can open up a wealth of opportunities, particularly if you earned a degree in business or a related field in college. But sometimes, you want to do more than just continue your current career path. If this is you, there’s a chance you have an undiscovered passion for teaching.
If you’re considering a career change from industry to business education, you might not even be sure such a move is possible or if the change will be affordable and rewarding.
Rest assured that becoming a teacher with a business degree is not only possible; it might even be easier than you think. As a business education curriculum provider, we know many teachers who’ve made this transition and been successful in the classroom.
In this article, we’ll look at five decisive steps to becoming a teacher in a CTE business education program:
Decide What and Where You Want to Teach
Determine Your Educational Requirements
Enroll in a Teaching Program
Earn Your Teaching Credentials
Find a Position
At the end of this post, you should be more familiar with the steps necessary for becoming a business education teacher so you can be confident in pursuing your career goals.
Step 1 - Decide What and Where You Want to Teach
There are a ton of opportunities out there for teaching with a business degree, from middle school to the collegiate level and public, private, and alternative school settings. In order to be best prepared, it’s essential to focus on the student population you would feel most comfortable teaching.
Would you better enjoy working with younger students, teaching career readiness or computer applications in the early stages of a business education program?
Or maybe you have expertise in a topic like accounting or entrepreneurship that you could employ in a high school classroom?
Are you instead a technology or computer programming specialist who could teach a course like business and technology?
To help you decide where you could be the best teacher, do some personal reflection. Some questions you might want to answer are:
What age range of students would I be most interested in teaching?
What subjects would I be best suited to teach?
What type of school environment would I be most successful in?
When you’ve determined the type of business education program you want to be a part of, you’ll be able to see the steps you need to take to get there.
Step 2 - Determine Your Educational Requirements
Once you know the type of school you want to teach in, you’ll better understand the educational requirements you need to meet to earn your ideal job.
Almost invariably, a baccalaureate degree is the minimum requirement for teaching in any school, public or private. If you’ve been working in business, chances are you already have a bachelor’s degree in a related field. If you haven’t earned this degree, you may want to consider a degree specifically geared towards business education.
For some aspiring educators, a bachelor’s degree in business could be enough to teach in a private or specialty program. You might also be able to get a provisional license or emergency certification to teach in your state.
Do You Need a Provisional or Emergency Certification?
Depending on your state, you may be able to acquire a temporary license to teach, often called a provisional or emergency certification. The requirements for these certifications vary from state to state but typically grant the holder the ability to teach in a public school for 1-3 years.
You’ll typically need to be sponsored by a school district to get an emergency certification. If you have stellar credentials—or if the school needs additional teachers—it’s possible to find a district willing to sponsor your emergency certification.
It’s also extremely common for schools to sponsor emergency certification for qualified substitute teachers. If you’re unsure about committing to becoming a full-time educator, trying out the profession as a substitute teacher in a middle school computer applications or high school business class could be just what you need to make your decision.
To become permanently certified and remain a public school teacher, you’ll need to earn your teaching license before your temporary credential expires.
Step 3 - Enroll in a Teaching Program
If your current educational background doesn’t qualify you to teach in your ideal business education program, you’ll need to think about the type of program that will help you meet your goals.
Here, we’ll look at two of the most common educational options for business degree holders looking to teach.
Option 1 - Enroll in a Teaching Certification Program
Enrolling in a teacher certification program is probably the most popular option for future educators seeking a teaching license.
Teacher certification programs are typically less expensive and require fewer credit hours than pursuing an additional degree. Class scheduling can be surprisingly flexible, and overall, these programs usually take a shorter amount of time to complete.
By relying on the education you’ve already received in your undergraduate business program, teacher certification programs get you up to speed on things like pedagogy and classroom management.
Plus, with the cost of many programs at a rate set by your state’s education department, the price may be less than you think.
Option 2 - Pursue a Degree in Education
Going all-in and pursuing a degree in education is generally a more expensive and time-consuming route to becoming a teacher. Nevertheless, many current educators have found the extra time and expense worth the investment.
To earn your education degree, you’ll have to earn more credit hours, which inevitably involves additional time and added expense. However, since you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can pursue a master’s degree in education rather than just a certificate.
A master’s degree could benefit you personally in the long run by earning you more income and qualifying you to teach more advanced courses. Plus, the expanded credit requirements allow for additional classes and study in pedagogy to help you hone in on skills you’re not already familiar with.
How Do I Decide Which Option is Best for Me?
If you have trouble deciding, consider what is more important to you: becoming licensed to teach quickly or gaining additional experience and a more advanced education degree.
Another major factor in helping you determine which program is best is if a school or institution is willing to pay for your classes.
If a school hired you on an emergency certification, that school might be willing to pay for all or part of your teaching certificate or education degree.
Be aware that you may be limited to where you can attend or how many credits you can take if you go this route. But if you can negotiate an arrangement like this at or after hiring, it can be the least expensive way to transition from industry to business education.
Step 4 - Earn Your Teaching Credentials
Over the course of your teaching certification or education degree program, you’ll complete a number of procedural steps to become officially certified as a teacher. Some of these steps will incur additional costs that can add up over time, so it’s key to complete them in a manner that’s both timely and thorough.
The steps you need to take will vary from state to state but usually include, at the minimum:
Successfully completing your program of study while meeting minimum GPA requirements
Sitting for exams on your subject and on general pedagogy, like the Praxis exams.
Completing student teaching under a supervisory teacher.
How quickly you can make arrangements for student teaching and how much you need to study for exams will affect when you finish. Once you’ve checked all the boxes, you’ll be able to apply for your permanent teaching license in business education.
Step 5 - Find a Position
The last and most crucial step in the process is actually finding a job once you’re certified as a business education teacher.
If you did your research in step one of the process, there’s a good chance you already know the type of school you want to teach in. You may already have job leads or even teach in a program as a long-term substitute.
For other teachers, you’ll have to turn to education websites, teacher-oriented job boards, and word-of-mouth avenues to find opportunities.
If you don’t get the first job you apply to, don’t worry. Business education positions can be quite competitive. However, many schools are consistently looking for new, talented teachers dedicated to improving students' lives.
With enough persistence and the proper credentials, you’ll be able to find teaching opportunities where you can excel and fit in well with your particular skills and abilities.
Take the Next Step Toward Inspiring Students
If you’re looking for a change from your current career as a business professional, the promise of becoming a business educator can be an exciting opportunity for you to pursue.
However, it’s important to realize that to teach in most schools, you’ll need to earn the right degree and a teaching certificate. Still, teaching business education in middle or high school can be a deeply rewarding experience.
But once you become a business teacher, how will you inspire your students in the ways you’re meant to?
If you’re new to the world of education and want to learn more about how to teach business, read this article. You’ll discover seven things every new business education teacher should know so you can be confident in your future classroom.