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How Do I Become a Shop Teacher?

Experience in an area like woodworking may be useful for anyone desiring to become a shop teacher.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2014
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To become a shop teacher in the United States (US), you might want to begin by looking into the credentials required by the state you wish to teach in for teachers of industrial arts. If you are looking to work in public education, all the necessary requirements for any kind of teacher are determined by the state. This means you will want to consult the Department of Education website or offices for the state you wish to teach in to find out what specific requirements there are. Beyond that, there are certain general steps you can start to take or consider to become properly certified or qualified to become a shop teacher.

You should look into colleges or universities that offer programs such as industrial education or technology education; these can both be used somewhat interchangeably between different schools to indicate programs aimed at helping you get a job as a shop teacher. Some schools will offer a four-year degree in these programs, while others will offer a two-year associate’s degree program. Depending on the state you wish to teach in, one of these might be a requirement. Typically, some form of additional teaching certification will be required in addition to a degree in an industrial arts education program.

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For some states, you may need professional experience beyond a degree from a school in an industrial arts education program to become a shop teacher. Having experience in a woodworking, automotive, or metalworking industry may be of assistance to you. Some states are more lenient about you having a degree but are stricter about you having a certain amount of professional experience, so you should consider the requirements of your intended teaching location carefully. Other states can have moderate requirements for both professional experience and your educational experience, while some states may need shop teachers so badly they will waive certain requirements for otherwise qualified candidates.

You may also want to consider any particular trends or changes in programs among high schools and junior high schools in the state you wish to teach in. While most aspects of public education are controlled at a state level, certain federal programs such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) have changed the landscape of education in the US. With the increased focus on graduation numbers and standardized test scores due to NCLB, many schools have diminished or completely eliminated their industrial arts programs. You may want to be sure that there will be opportunities to teach in the state you desire, before working to become a shop teacher.

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I’m currently a shop teacher who has worked within the public school sector for over 10 years. I’ve been interested in making a shift to teaching in a private school. Are there extra certifications or credentials that I’ll need in order to successfully transition from public school to private school? What have been other shop teachers’ experiences teaching in both public schools and private schools and do you have a preference?

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