Perhaps you think you’re too old to become a teacher at 60, but that’s just not the case. You can begin your second career if you have the determination and dedication to doing so.
Thinking about becoming a teacher at 60? Here are the steps you’ll need to follow to become a teacher at 60:
- Decide what you want to teach.
- Obtain a Bachelor’s degree.
- Get certified or licensed to teach.
- Get hired.
- Continue your education – some schools or states will require you to take courses to keep your license.
This guide will explain each step so you can know what to do to obtain a teaching license.
Can I Become a Teacher at 60?
This is probably the first question you asked yourself.
Well, the answer is yes, you can become a teacher at 60. It’s a profession that doesn’t require you to be young and agile. As long as you truly want to teach and are willing to obtain the education and certification you need, then it’s something you can definitely do.
Your age will serve as an advantage in many areas. For starters, real-life experience translates into classroom activities. Your previous career probably taught you that if a boss gives you a deadline, you have to meet it. That’s the same as you giving your students homework. Perhaps you had to work on a project with other co-workers, which is just like students working in a group project.
Because you experienced real-life scenarios that mimic classroom activities, you can explain to your students why they matter. Many students don’t understand why they have to do homework or group projects, but you can explain it to them.
You can bring new ideas to old ways of thinking. Many educators have been educators for their entire careers, so they have a set way of doing things. If your previous career was outside of education, you could bring in a breath of fresh air by suggesting new ways to tackle problems.
You might understand kids better. Young teachers might not have experience dealing with kids as you do. It might be harder for them to determine when a child is going through a phase or when they’re dealing with an issue that’s causing them to act out in class. You might be able to if you raised children of your own into adulthood.
Unfortunately, there are downsides to being older that you have to think about. First, teaching requires a lot of energy. Whether you’re dealing with rowdy students or piles of paperwork, you’ll need to find the energy to do it.
Others might assume things about you based on your age. Younger teachers might assume you know everything and hold you to a higher standard. This could cause you to receive less attention and assistance than everyone else, leaving you feeling like you’re behind.
This doesn’t have to be a negative thing, however. Sometimes, younger teachers won’t question your authority because they assume you know everything. If you’re an independent person that likes to figure things out on your own, this could benefit you greatly.
1. Decide What You Want to Teach
If you’ve been considering teaching as your second career, you probably have an idea of what you want to teach. You need to make a firm decision, so you can begin studying to teach that subject.
Things you need to decide include:
- Public or private school
- Grade level
Each one of these elements can greatly affect your path to teaching certification. For example, many private schools don’t require a certification or license to teach, but public schools do. High schools often require a double major in education and whichever subject you want to teach, while elementary schools typically just need you to major in education.
Requirements vary from state to state, so it’s a good idea to make sure you know where you want to teach. If you think you might move to another state in the near future, you should research if your certification will be recognized there.
If you aren’t completely sold on the idea of teaching or are unsure which subject to teach, consider substituting or shadowing a teacher first so you can get experience from the subject you’re thinking about.
2. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree
You will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in education in order to become a teacher. Some states might require you to double major in another subject, such as math or science. Even if you aren’t required to have a double major, earning one will only benefit you and your job prospects. Fortunately, there are different paths you can take to get your degree. You can attend classes on the campus or take online classes.
There are plenty of options for financial aid and scholarship opportunities, such as TEACH Grants that will make financing this endeavor much more doable. There are also scholarships made specifically for adult students that you can look into, as well.
While obtaining your degree, you’ll be required to complete student teaching, even if you are taking classes online. You can do this while you earn your degree, complete it as an internship, or complete it immediately after you graduate. You can’t become a teacher until you complete the required hours of student teaching.
If you previously earned a bachelor’s degree, your credits might be able to transfer. This will depend on the school you go to and their requirements. Look on your school’s website or speak with someone on campus to find more information about attending as a transfer student.
3. Get Certified or Licensed
Each state in the United States will have its own requirements for teaching certification. You will definitely need a bachelor’s degree, but you might also need to take basic skills exams like the Praxis exams. Praxis exams have a core exam, an exam if you want to teach in elementary school and a separate exam for grades 7-12. Some states have their own exams that you might have to take.
If you want to teach in a private school, you might not have to go through a certification process. Be sure to research your options ahead of time.
4. Get Hired
You have the passion, the degree, and the certification, so now it’s time to get hired. The U.S. Department of Education lists teacher shortages that might help you figure out where to apply. The list is interactive and will show you what subjects and grades need teachers.
Common qualities employers are looking for include:
- Knowledge of age-appropriate learning approaches
- The ability to manage a classroom and keep a safe environment
- Thorough knowledge in a specific content area
- The ability to use technology effectively
5. Optional: Continue Your Education
Many states require teachers to take courses each year in order to keep their teaching certification. This will ensure that you stay up to date with subjects like professional development.
You have the option to continue learning to obtain a master’s degree or higher. At 60, you may feel that a bachelor’s degree is enough, but you can always choose to aim higher. The continued pursuit of education will allow you to teach higher grades or in colleges. You can also obtain a position in administration if you decide you would like that better instead of teaching.
Teaching can be a rewarding second career, even if you’re in your sixties. However, you will need to have some dedication, as it can take 4-5 years to earn your degree and certification.
- Federal Student Aid: TEACH Grants
- Learn How to Become: How to Become a Teacher: Teaching Degrees & Careers
- Teacher Certification Degrees: The Beginner’s Guide on How to Become a Teacher
- The Balance Careers: Advice on How to Become a Teacher
- University of Kentucky: Teacher Certification By State
- U.S. Department of Education: Teacher Shortage Areas
- We Are Teachers: Should I Consider Teaching as a Second Career?