Back to top


How to become a teacher: An Ohio guide

Anthony Rodriguez
July 28, 2020

When you are searching for your first, or next, career, you might look toward your experiences, how to turn your passions or the inspiration you get from others into a career.

If you love inspiring people or helping someone learn how to do something new, then becoming a teacher might be the career for you.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to become a teacher in Ohio and why The Ohio State University is the best place to get the education and experience for a career in teaching.

Why become a teacher

Teaching is an exceptional career choice. Teachers are essential to the paths future generations take in the world. They not only teach – they nurture, motivate and build positive relationships with their students year after year. Some create such inspiration that they pave the way for their students to follow in their footsteps.

The reasons people become teachers are as many as there are teachers.

When you ask teachers why they choose their profession you hear answers such as “I want to make a difference” to “I want to help students know how to make the world a better place.” It doesn’t matter if a school has 100 students or 5,000, their impact is immense. Teachers are a vital part of the community.

Teachers mold students’ minds to think beyond what they believe they can do.

They help shape the future.

They are essential to the development of the economy and workforce.

They guide youth and nurture their passions into learning opportunities.

Why do teachers become teachers?

We asked Ohio State alumni and current teachers why they chose their careers.

“One thing that I have realized in my short time in the education profession is how much you learn from students. I went into this profession to teach them, but you learn so much in return. I've learned most importantly that you must build relationships with students before you can expect to accomplish anything else.”

Alex Gifford, ‘18
7th grade math teacher
Grove City, Ohio

“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. As I grew up, there was never a doubt in my mind that it was what I was meant to do. Throughout my time in school I looked up to my own teachers and marveled at the impact they had on my life. I knew I wanted to spread my love of literacy with my future students and be a positive adult who believed in them.”

Emily Savidge, ‘18
5th grade language arts teacher
Marysville, Ohio

What becoming a teacher at Ohio State looks like

U.S. News & World report ranks teacher preparation at Ohio State as the best in the state. School districts and professional educators also highly praise the university for developing teachers who have a positive impact from the moment they set foot into a classroom.

Students are trained in the latest educational practices and are instilled with values that help them flourish into engaged and socially responsible educators.

Throughout your teacher education and preparation at Ohio State you will:

  1. Partner with professional teachers to co-plan lessons and co-teach students
  2. Share experiences and learning with a cohort of other future educators
  3. Learn from and receive support from caring, passionate faculty and staff
  4. Get first-hand experiences in diverse field placements at urban, rural and suburban schools through the First Education Experience Program, student teaching and field experiences

The student support and high level of education is illustrated by the experience of 2018 alumnus Ivory Kennedy:

“(The program managers and professors) prepare you for almost every aspect that you can imagine facing in the world of education. Overall, I have never felt more prepared and excited about spreading the knowledge I’ve learned from my program to the youth of our future!”

Ivory Kennedy, ‘18
8th grade social science teacher
Columbus, Ohio

No matter where you want to teach, Ohio State’s teacher education programs will make you a competitive candidate for a variety of positions in urban, rural and suburban schools throughout Ohio and across the nation.

Types of Ohio teaching licenses

Whether you want to teach in a public or private school, at the elementary, middle or high school level or specialize in a certain subject area, all teachers in Ohio must possess and maintain a valid teaching license.

An initial teaching license from the State of Ohio is valid four years after successfully completing a teacher education program at an accredited university, such as The Ohio State University.

Ohio State Teacher Education Programs

Ohio State offers multiple ways for you to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree to gain your first teaching license in Ohio. The programs offer extensive experiences to learn and teach in diverse elementary and secondary school settings throughout the program.

Teacher education programs are available in the:

  • College of Education and Human Ecology
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences

Education Majors in Education and Human Ecology

In the College of Education and Human Ecology, the Bachelor of Science in Education and the Master of Education degrees primarily lead to careers as licensed teachers. The bachelor’s degree is a 120-credit hour program offering 12 licensure options. The master’s degree is an accelerated one-year program with diverse experiences and development of essential skills to become an effective educator. The Master of Education has 8 licensure options.

Ohio teaching license options

The following teaching licenses are offered at Ohio State.

Early Childhood Education (preschool to 5th grade)

Middle Childhood Education (4th to 9th grade)

Adolescent to Young Adult (7th to 12th grade)

  • English Education/Integrated Language Arts
  • Mathematics Education
  • Science Education
  • Social Studies and Global Education

Special Education (Intervention Specialist)

  • Early Childhood (preschool to 5th grade)
  • Mild/Moderate (K-12)
  • Moderate/Intensive (K-12)

Multi-age License (pre-school to 12th grade)

  • Art Education
  • Health Education
  • Music Education
  • Physical Education
  • Physical and Health Education
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
  • World Language Education

Career Technical License

  • Agriscience Education
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Integrated Business Education

Bachelor of Science in Education specializations

Master of Education specializations

Arts and Music Teacher Degrees

Have an affinity for helping others learn arts or music? The College of Arts and Sciences offers two undergrad programs that will help build a strong foundation in application, theories and teaching methods.

Agriculture Education at Ohio State

The agriculture industry employs 1 in 7 Ohioans. Agriscience educators are in demand to help train the future agriculture workforce. This teacher education program prepares students with technical agriculture content, education psychology, teacher instruction and youth development.

What are the Ohio requirements for teachers?

In order to earn an initial teaching license in Ohio, teacher candidates must successfully complete the following certification requirements, according to the Ohio Department of Education:

  • Complete an approved teacher preparation program
  • Earn your bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution college or university
  • Pass a content area exam(s) and a professional knowledge exam
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Apply for initial licensure, called a four-year resident educator license, through the Ohio Department of Education
  • Engage in continuing education to advance or renew your teaching license

These requirements are mandated by the Ohio Revised Code and Ohio Administrative Code. They are subject to change.

In your pursuit of a teaching career, Ohio State has a comprehensive support system including advisors, program managers and faculty available to help make your dreams of becoming a licensed teacher come true.


Ready to learn more?

Contact our advisors and get your questions answered about Ohio State's teaching programs today.


A student teacher and an elementary student work with blocks in the school hallway

What education do you need to become a teacher?

When you decide that teaching is the career path for you, it is good to determine the type of coursework you will complete on the way to earning your degree and teaching license.

No matter the university you choose, look for a program that includes courses and learning opportunities in diversity and equity, multiple teaching and learning methods, student development, inclusion, student learning analysis and multiple field experiences in addition to student teaching throughout your college experience.

Courses and field experiences such as these will ensure you have experience in a variety of teaching methods, can work with students from diverse backgrounds and be able to assess different learning styles to deliver the best experiences for students as you prepare them for their futures.

How teachers learn at Ohio State

At Ohio State, teacher education is a rigorous learning experience at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The graduate teacher education programs are consistently ranked No. 1 in Ohio.

Professors and program managers know how to get the best out of their students. They’ll prepare you with the knowledge and skills, as well as help you develop the disposition needed to effectively teach all learners.

But it’s not only learning how to become a great educator through classroom learning, it’s the engaging and meaningful experiences in diverse P-12 settings critical to the development of high-quality teachers.

Ohio State partners annually with more than 400 public school districts, technical/vocational centers, educational service centers and public charters so its preservice teachers get multiple in-the-field experiences as well as a full semester of student teaching throughout their degree program, not just in their last semesters.

Ohio State Teacher Education Curriculum Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Education requires a minimum of 120 credit hours; the accelerated Master of Education requires a minimum of 34 credit hours.

Bachelor of Science in Education courses

*Note: Ohio State will implement a new general education curriculum starting Autumn 2022.

University general education*

  • Writing
  • Literature
  • Arts
  • Science
  • Historical Study
  • Social Science

Major requirements, including

  • Core practices in teaching
  • Teaching methods and inquiry
  • Equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Student development
  • Specialization courses
  • Student teaching

Master of Education courses

Major requirements, including

  • Teaching methods and inquiry
  • Equity, diversity and inclusion
  • Specialization courses
  • Field Experience
  • Student Teaching

A student teacher and Ohio State professor interact with an elementary student

How much do Ohio teachers get paid?

Elementary and secondary teachers in Ohio generally are paid annual salaries. Ohio teacher pay is among the highest paid in the Midwest, and nationally, earning an average of $60,400 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Kindergarten Teachers $58,960
Elementary School Teachers $64,090
Middle School Teachers $63,510
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School $61,380
Secondary School Teachers $64,410
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School $70,650
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten/Elementary $57,590
Special Education Teachers, Middle School $62,200
Special Education Teachers, Secondary School $57,700

For more information about the job outlook for teachers in Ohio and nationally at the elementary, middle and high school levels, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has extensive information about the career.

You also can compare employment and salary information for education professions at national and regional levels.

Teacher shortages in certain subject areas

The state has 103,803 teachers, as of 2019. But teacher shortages still exist.

Each year, the U.S. Department of Education reports on subject areas that need more teachers in order to meet the education needs of pre-K to high school students.

The latest 2020-21 teacher shortage area data report shows Ohio has a need for more teachers and school support in the following areas:

Areas where Ohio State offers licensure

English as a Second Language

World Languages
All world languages

Health and Physical Fitness
Health Science

Middle childhood: Grades 4-9
Adolescent to young adult: Grades 7-12

Middle childhood: Grades 4-9
Adolescent to young adult: Grades 7-12

Language Arts
Middle childhood: Grades 4-9
Adolescent to young adult: Grades 7-12

Career and Technical Education
Family and Consumer Science
Business Education
Health and Medical*
School Counseling*
School Psychologist*
School Nurse*

Special Education
Speech and Language Impairment*

Other teacher shortage areas

Special Education
Adaptive Physical Education
Therapeutic Services

Career and Technical Education
Communication Arts
Engineering Technology
Computer Science
Public Safety
Technology Preparation

Arts and Music Education

*School support staff


Teacher shares information for high school students sitting at desks

Teacher career paths

Finding a job after graduation is likely to be goal No. 1. Ohio State preservice teachers are highly prepared to earn their degree and successfully pass exams to become a licensed teacher. In fact, 99% of teacher candidates successfully complete student teaching and 98% go on to pass required state licensing tests.

The initial licensure a teacher earns is a four-year resident educator license.

To help Ohio State students turn their hard work into a teaching career, the College of Education and Human Ecology annually holds the Teach Ohio career fair for networking and onsite interviews for students. The event brings together students and about 100 school districts from around the country, one of the largest career fairs for teacher candidates in the state. Students also have interview preparation and education license workshop opportunities available annually.

Career Advancement for Educators

A teaching license is just the beginning. Continuing education is a regular part of a teacher’s development. To maintain a teaching license, teachers must earn continuing education units, or CEUs. After the initial four-year license, teachers renew to a professional teaching license which is valid for five years.

Other teacher professional development options:

Whatever your professional aspirations may be, Ohio State is the educational source that will help get you there.

Ohio State Endorsement and License-Only programs

Alternative jobs with a teaching degree

If it turns out that teaching in schools isn’t the right career trajectory, an education degree still has plenty of mobility leading to a fulfilling career. Some jobs with your teaching degree may require additional education or experience but include:

  • Academic Advisor
  • Admissions Counselor
  • Adult/Vocational Teacher
  • After School Program Director
  • Camp Director, Program Development
  • Career Counselor
  • Corporate Trainer
  • Curriculum Design
  • Department of Education Professional
  • Education Assessment
  • Education Consultant
  • Education Publishing/Sales
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • Instructional Designer
  • Juvenile Corrections Worker
  • Literacy Program Manager
  • Lobbyist
  • Museum Educator
  • Private Tutor
  • Residence Life Director
  • Science Center Specialist
  • Senior Services Coordinator
  • Student Life Coordinator
  • Writer
  • Youth Leadership


Ready to learn more?

Contact our advisors and get your questions answered about Ohio State's teaching programs today.


Suggested Stories