English teachers have a pivotal role to play in helping their students develop the literacy and communication skills necessary for 21st century success. In the Peach State, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission is responsible for licensing teachers.
To become an English teacher in Georgia, complete the following steps:
|Complete a Bachelor Degree and Educator Preparation Program|
|Apply for a Certificate/License|
|Maintain and Upgrade Your Certificate|
|Pursue Graduate Work|
Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
The first step to becoming an English teacher in Georgia is generally to complete a bachelor’s degree and educator preparation program at a state-approved institution. A list of approved programs in Georgia is available here, although note that that recent regulation changes may mean the list is incomplete.
You can complete an educator preparation program as part of your bachelor’s degree, or as part of your post-baccalaureate or master’s degree programs. Information on these and other alternative routes is available at the Georgia Professional Standards Commission website.
Teacher preparation classes will vary by schools and the grade you are preparing to teach, but all must include student teaching, field experiences, or an education practicum of some kind. In general, classes cover the principles of effective teaching, learning how to create dialogue in the classroom, how to teach to different learning styles, how to communicate with parents and teachers, and how to conduct appropriate assessments.
Step 2. Complete Testing
As a future English teacher in Georgia, you are required to pass the following tests if you are following the traditional route to licensure (beginning with a bachelors degree and state-approved educator prep program):
- The GACE Program Admission Assessment (some exceptions apply)
- The GACE content assessment in English (see below)
- The Georgia Educator Ethics Assessment (applies after January 1, 2015)
- The edTPA, the GaPSC-approved content pedagogy assessment (applies after September 1, 2015)
The GACE Program Admission Assessment includes tests on reading, writing, and mathematics, as follows:
- Test 1 – Reading: single-response questions, two hours
- Test 2 – Mathematics: single-response questions, two hours
- Test 3 – Writing: single-response, constructed response, two hours
The English content assessment includes two tests, which each take 2.5 hours. The Georgia Educator Ethics assessment is a training and assessment program that combines instruction and testing, and is aimed at helping teachers understand and apply the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators. Further information is available here.
The GaPSC-approved Content Pedagogy assessment, edTPA, is designed to assess knowledge and skills in student development and learning, instruction, and assessment, as well as professional roles and responsibilities. More information is available here.
Step 3: Apply for Your Certificate/License
As an English teacher in Georgia, the first teaching license to apply for is the Induction Certificate, which usually lasts for three years and may not be renewed. A Georgia local unit of administration must employ you when you apply for this license in order for you to receive full certification, but if you meet all the requirements except employment, you can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility that may be converted to an educator certificate once you are employed.
If you have completed a traditional educator preparation program in Georgia, the following requirements for the Induction Certificate apply:
- Completion of a GaPSC-approved teacher prep program (documentation must be submitted electronically)
- Passing score on the exams listed above
- Completion of a course in identifying and educating exceptional children
To apply for an Induction Certificate, submit the following to the GAPSC:
- Application for Certification
- Verification of Lawful Presence (must be notarized)
- Official transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended
- Employer Assurance Form
- Documentation of scores on the tests listed above
More information on application procedures can be found here.
Step 4: Maintain and Upgrade Your Certificate
After the Induction certificate, the next level to apply for is the Professional Certificate. When your Induction certificate is issued, the paperwork will include information on how to convert the certificate a Professional Certificate.
A taskforce in Georgia is currently at work revising the renewal requirements for Professional Certificates. The new requirements will be announced on the GAPSC website.
Georgia also includes a number of options beyond the Professional Certificate. These include:
- Performance-Based Professional Certificate
- Advanced Professional Certificate
- Lead Professional Certificate
The Performance-Based Professional certificate is issued to current teachers who are evaluated by Georgia’s Teacher Keys Effectiveness System. Information on converting Standard Professional to Performance-Based Professional certificates is here. The Advanced Professional Certificate and Lead Professional Certificate are currently being developed.
Step 5: Pursue Graduate Work
Graduate work can help you upgrade your Induction or Professional certificates, and may provide a salary increase. A list of schools with relevant Masters, Specialist, or Doctorate degree programs that specialize in teaching English at grades 6-12 is available here.
Some of the advanced degrees appropriate for English teachers in the state include:
- A.T. in Middle and Secondary Education, English Education
- D. in Middle and Secondary Education, English Education
- A.T. in Middle and Secondary Education, Reading, Language, and Literacy Education
- Ed. in Middle and Secondary Education, Reading, Language, and Literacy Education
- D. in Middle and Secondary Education, Reading, Language, and Literacy Education
- D. in Teaching and Learning, Middle and Secondary Education
- Ph.D. in Teaching and Teacher Education, Middle and Secondary Education
Georgia English Teacher Salaries
Georgia is quickly becoming the southern hub for technology—one of the highest growth sectors for jobs in the U.S. With many people moving into cities surrounding major cities like Atlanta, the population for Georgia reached a record ten million according to the last census. Along with people moving into the state comes the need for additional schools. As the Georgia Department of Education wrestles with this need, each school district contends with budgets—including teacher salaries.
To date, Georgia teachers earn an average salary of $33,673 a year statewide. This varies quite a bit when factoring in experience, education, bonuses, stipends and other types of additional considerations. As one example, a high school English teacher in Bibb County, Georgia will start out making $31,586. At the end of their career, if they only have a bachelor’s degree, they will make $48,213 (less any appropriate local supplements that may be awarded each year).
In the Richmond County School District an English teacher will start with an annual salary of $31,586 and will earn $46,384 after twenty-five years of service based only on step earnings alone. Both of these counties mentioned offer local supplements that factor into the salaries offered, however. The amount typically adds several thousand dollars onto the yearly offering. Here are two other districts salaries for English teachers in Georgia comparing entry-level and experienced annual incomes:
- Entry: $ $41,262
- Experienced: $ 43,795
- Entry: $36,o48
- Experienced: $54,216
To explore other teacher salaries in Georgia cities, look at the chart below: