Prior to Teaching
Once you know where and what you’ll teach, you’ll receive more information about the steps you’ll need to complete before summer training begins.
Typically, accepted corps members need to:
- Pass a subject test and/or general knowledge exam
- Meet specific GPA or coursework requirements
- Complete state-specific background checks
Some regions may also require corps members to:
- Complete online courses or workshops
- Complete additional exams
- Enroll in a certification or master’s degree program
Teach For America staff members in your assigned region will help guide you through the process. They’ll make sure you fulfill initial requirements and meet deadlines and steps before summer training.
Using our map, check out each region’s certification requirements.
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
Many corps members become eligible for full teaching licensure after their two-year TFA commitment.
Depending on where you teach and the coursework you complete, this may qualify you for more advanced opportunities. TFA alumni have used their certification to pursue department chair roles, school administration positions, education policy careers, and much more.
Regardless of the path you choose, the hard work you put into your classroom and your coursework enables you to continue your work as a change agent. You’ll join a diverse network of leaders shaping our country’s future.