Getting Certified



Prior to Teaching

During Your Commitment

  • Teaching Licenses
  • Master’s Degrees
  • Expected Costs


Most corps members are considered “nontraditional” teachers, since they haven't completed a traditional course of study in education before starting in the classroom. As a nontraditional teacher, you’ll most likely be required to complete education coursework while you’re teaching.

Depending on your region, you can complete coursework through a local college or university, or through another provider such as a local school district.

Each state has different specific requirements and rules regarding earning credentials. Teach For America staff members will provide necessary information and help streamline the process for you.


In many regions, you also have the option of completing a master’s in an education field over your two-year commitment.

Working toward your master’s often includes:

  • Attending courses on weekday evenings, weekends, and/or throughout the summer
  • Being observed by graduate school faculty
  • Completing rigorous exams, projects, and papers


The costs for certification programs, including tuition at local colleges, universities, or other providers, vary greatly.

Many corps members receive an AmeriCorps grant and use it to cover some, if not all, of these costs. (Please note: AmeriCorps grants are not guaranteed.) Some states and districts provide additional financial assistance. However, you should be prepared to finance these costs.

For more information about master’s degree options and average costs, select the region on our map.

After the Corps