Generally, there is not one specific degree to become a teacher/professor in IT fields. Students who want to go into teaching tech need to pursue a variety of related degree and certification options required for the position they want. This is not any different from becoming a teacher in any other subject such as English or biology. The following overview will help students understand what educational paths they need to pursue to reach this career goal.
The Degrees To Earn
There are degrees students need to obtain to become a teacher/professor in the IT fields, but nothing that rolls all of these subjects into a single degree. Students who want to become teachers typically obtain a degree in their field of choice. After all, no one can teach a subject they do not thoroughly understand themselves. For IT teachers, this is usually a computer science or information systems degree. To become a teacher, it will be necessary to combine that degree with additional education training. Most colleges have a teacher preparation program in which students can enroll. What students need to do to become a teacher or professor varies depending on what level of education they want to teach, which will be covered in greater detail below.
Can The Degrees Be Earned Online?
More colleges are offering online degree options and more students are choosing this route due to its flexibility and lesser costs. Both tech degrees and education degrees are available online and they are subjects that lend themselves well to digital learning. HuffPost notes that if a student wishes to pursue a degree online he or she should be sure to select a program from an established, accredited school to ensure the degree will be of good quality and desirable to employers. Accreditation is especially important for educators because some states will not accept bachelor’s degrees from an unaccredited institution to fulfill the requirements for licensure. The student teaching requirement can be a challenge for online degrees but most programs work with their students to set them up with student teaching opportunities near where they live.
Teaching At The Middle Or High School Level
Students who want to go on to teach IT subjects at the middle or high school level need a bachelor’s degree. The ideal combination would be to get a double major in an IT subject and education, but a tech major and an education minor or taking an education training program would also be acceptable. Grade schools are increasingly teaching IT subjects to their students as well, but few hire teachers to solely teach IT at that level. A master’s degree is an uncommon requirement according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics although some states or individual schools may require a master’s degree to teach at the middle school or high school level.
Obtaining Teacher Certification
All states require that college graduates who want to become teachers obtain a teaching certificate. The requirements for getting this certification, however, vary by state and so aspiring IT teachers need to look up how the teacher certification process works in the state where they want to teach. Do not worry about moving in the future-most states allow a comparable teaching certificate from another state to fulfill the requirement for getting one in the new state. Typical requirements to get licensure include completion of education coursework, a student teaching program and exams. Students will need to know at which grade level they wish to teach to fulfill the correct requirements, as different grade ranges may have specific course requirements.
Becoming A Professor
Aspiring IT professors will need to go to graduate school. They need a master’s degree at least and in most cases a Ph.D. A master’s degree is generally considered acceptable to teach at community colleges, while professors on track for tenure at four-year universities need to possess a Ph.D. Many colleges will hire someone with a master’s degree who is enrolled in a doctoral program. Again, the degree obtained should be in an IT subject, although doctoral degrees typically require students to choose a specialty and complete original research work. Research and publishing credit are required by some positions as well.
Work Experience Requirements
Although most educators are not required to have work experience to obtain entry-level jobs, it may be required for a college professor to get a position. It never hurts for students to pursue an internship or work in the field, particularly as an IT specialist, before deciding to go into teaching. This background experience will make any job application stronger and solidify a graduate’s understanding of how IT is practically applied in the workplace. This can make them better at teaching their students useful knowledge and skills to help them succeed after graduation. The professional networks students start cultivating are also beneficial to obtaining support and finding available positions.
Related Resource: What Can I Do With a Computer Science Degree?
Although not strictly required for IT educators to maintain their positions or licensure, continuing education is still a very good idea. This is especially true for the field of IT because of how quickly it changes with the release of new technologies. Continuing education can be pursued on one’s own with internet articles, books, conferences and more. As The Balance indicates, IT teachers may wish to become certified in the use of certain software programs, which are typically offered by the manufacturer. Professors typically need to conduct research and seek publication to remain contributing members of academia.
There are specific educational paths students must take if they want to become an IT teacher or professor. The exact specifics will vary depending on the group a student wants to teach. What does not vary is the need to obtain a degree in the IT field and additional educational training. This is how anyone can become a teacher/professor in IT fields.