Ever been to Texas? Ever been to California?

Then, yeah, you know that every state is different.

When you're talking licensure, it can be maddening to try to navigate these differences, especially if you're getting your schooling in one state and planning to move to another after graduation. Which means you have to be extra careful about meeting the appropriate state standards for certification so you're ready to roll when student loan deadlines start rolling around.

If you haven't found out what the requirements are for your neck of the woods, get on the Google and look up your state's Department of Education. Alternatively, you can hit the ETS website and check out State Requirements for the Praxis test. ETS is kind enough to break everything down, state by blessed state, if you're ready to work out your fingers and get clickin' on those links.

One thing that is nearly universal in licensure is that most states use the Praxis test (hence the ETS link) or another similar test. It's not some high-level torture device, regardless of how much it seems that way—rather, it's a standard matrix to determine whether you have the knowledge base needed to teach next-gen humans.

In addition to the Praxis, each state requires some sort of formal training for teachers. Most folks are coming out of a university or college program, and that means you've most likely taken the necessary courses required by your state. And of course, the purpose behind this schooling is to ensure that you have good pedagogy under your belt so that you can deliver content effectively.

And that's just about where the similarities end between states, which is why it's pretty darn critical for you to know what you need to do. Check to see what courses you need, what tests you'll have to suffer through, and what forms you'll have to fill out. Dot all the I's and cross all the T's—and don't let your application fee bounce.

If you need cross-border certification, think of it this way: just as each school system has a set of requirements for curriculum, every state has unique control over the licensure process. You can't have kids in a poppy state learning about lone stars, right?

If the process were much broader, say on a national level (and truth be told, there is national certification, but that's kind of a different story), the bureaucracy alone would keep most of us from teaching. While if each county had differing standards, we'd be driven to madness whenever we wanted to move just a few blocks across town.

This civic balance that has some of us scrambling to ensure we're meeting the standards for certification, but a good teaching program and a handy list of requirements will help you through the process.


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