Can you become a teacher with a psychology degree

There are a variety of advantages associated with becoming a teacher. One of the perks is that you get paid for 12 months of work, when in actuality you only work 9 or 10 months out of the year. You also receive the same time off as your students, which means, fall break, Christmas break, spring break, summer vacation and inclement weather (i.e. snow and ice). Moreover, as a teacher, you receive good benefits such as: health and dental care ad sick leave. In order to become a teacher it is imperative that you receive a 4-year degree and become certified in the area in which you would like to teach.

If you already have an online degree in a non-education area – you can still become a teacher. Even though, psychology is not taught in the primary and secondary education levels, gaining an alternative certification can help you acquire a teaching license in your chosen area. If you want to know how to become a teacher with an online psychology degree – you have come to the right place. This article will provide you with everything you need to know to make your teaching dreams come true.

• Age Group & Subject

What age group would you like to work with? What subject would you like to teach? One of the first things you will need to do, if you want to become a teacher with an online psychology degree, is decide what age group and subject you would like to teach. As mentioned previously, elementary (primary) schools and middle and high (secondary) schools do not offer courses in psychology so you will need to find an area to teach that utilizes your online psychology background.

During an online psychology degree program, you study the mind and behaviors of people (i.e. children, teens, adults, couples, groups, etc.). Online courses like child development, lifespan development and/or child psychology can prepare you to work with a variety of children. In addition, some school boards allow you to teach in the area that you have an academic minor in, but it depends on the county, state and city.

• Additional Online Courses

Have you taken any courses in education and/or child development? If not, you will need to enroll in education-related and child-related online courses, if you want to be a teacher. Moreover, you will need to take online courses in the subject area that you want to teach. The additional online courses will help you catch up with those who have a background in child development and/or education. It will also look good on your resume when you seek certification and apply for an alternative teaching license.

• Gain Experience

Do you have any teaching experience? If you do not have previous elementary (primary) or middle or high (secondary) school teaching experience, apply to become a substitute teacher in the age group and subject area that you are interested in. To become a substitute teacher you will need to contact your Board of Education. The board will explain to you the substitute teaching hiring process. Substitute teaching will give you an idea of what to expect when you start officially teaching.

Moreover, an online degree in psychology can help you better understand your students when you become a teacher. In other words, your online degree will give you a deeper insight into your students’ thought processes and behaviors. If you have never worked with children, you may also want to consider a part-time position at a daycare or childcare learning center. This will also help you get an idea of what to expect when working with children.

• Apply for Alternative Certification

You must have some type of teaching certification to teach students. Since your online degree is not in education, you will more than likely have to apply for alternative certification. Contact your Board of Education for more information. Alternative certification is defined as the process in which you obtain a teaching certificate by taking a certification exam on the topics that you are interested in teaching. It is important to note that you may be required to take additional online courses (i.e. ethical issues in education and teaching principles) to become certified in a particular area.

• Pass Your Certification Exams

Before you can officially obtain an alternative teaching certificate in a particular area, you will need to successfully pass your certification exams. The certification exams will determine whether or not you will be able to teach in your chosen area. It is important to note, depending on your state, you may be required to take as many as three different exams to obtain certification.

Contact your Board of Education to see which exams you will need to take to teach in your chosen area. Before taking the exams, you will need to have strong knowledge in the subject you want to teach. Some of the topics you may be tested on include: teaching principles, child education and/or child development. Once you have passed your exams, you will be able to start teaching.


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). Kindergarten and elementary school teachers. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). High school teachers. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from teachers.htm
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2014). Psychologists. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved from science/psychologists.htm

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