My major will be history with a minor in english then a masters in education, am I locked into teaching just history or can I teach english as well?I would like to teach high school or junior...

My major will be history with a minor in english then a masters in education, am I locked into teaching just history or can I teach english as well?

I would like to teach high school or junior high. I figure that a teacher would be more marketable if he has more to bring to the table by way of another degree. I know I can teach history when I finish my courses, but wonder if I could also teach in my minor field as well? I am from Alabama and will graduate "highly qualified" under the no child left behind act just in case that info is needed.

Expert Answers
missy575 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After teaching in a few states, here are a couple of general rules I have noticed about certification:

1. to receive an endorsement in an subject area, you need approximately 16 credits in that subject. If your minor qualifies you (and it does in most schools) then seek then endorsement while filling out papers for certification. Or if you are 4 to 6 credits shy, then please, take a couple classes and get your certificate in both areas.

2. to qualify for a highly qualified status, you must take a test in each subject area you wish to teach. In my current state it is called the PRAXIS. Testing well gives you the credibility to teach the subject you tested in.

When principals are hiring in an economically stretched environment like this one, they often seek multiple certifications from their interviewees. For example, a principal may have a position available for 3/5 of the day in history. They don't want to hire any more of a person. If you can teach English too, it is likely that they have 1/5 to 2/5 that they can give you to fill out your day.

Long story short, under your circumstances, you just need to fill out your paperwork to show your minor at the time when you work with your state department. They will make it happen if you request.

lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addition to the excellent answers by the other two teachers, check into whether or not your endorsement areas will appear on your teacher's license. In the state where I live, one must have at least 24 hours in an area in order to teach that subject, but it does not appear this way on your teacher's license unless you have also done student teaching in that subject. In my state, one can forego the student teaching if one teaches in the subject area under a mentor teacher for a year but these kinds of positions are hard to find because only school districts in rural areas where multiple content areas are more marketable are willing to hire someone under these circumstances.

Definitely follow the advice of the others to seek information from your State Department of Education. That way, you have the exact information that you need.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that school districts are more sensitive to matching positions to specific qualifications.  Given the component of No Child Left Behind which demands that teachers are "highly qualified" in the specific subject they are teaching, it would be important for you to obtain the needed qualifications so that you would be more marketable in order to be able to teach more than one subject.  Parents and stakeholders can now examine teacher credentials and this coupled with the NCLB mandate for "highly qualified" teachers have created the setting where administrators are really forced to ensure that qualifications are matched up with teaching assignments.  If you could take the additional coursework for double major, it might be highly beneficial for you.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your best bet here is get in contact with your academic adviser. It really depends on the state that you live in and their qualifications. As you can see from the previous posts, states require different things in order to become endorsed in different subjects.

I can tell you that the more endorsements you have then the more marketable you will be. Many teachers are endorsed in history and language arts and fewer are endorsed in science and math. If you could try to get one of these endorsements it would help tremendously. You may find that with the prerequisites you have already taken you may only need to take an additional course or two.

geosc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Here is a thought, in case you are still flexible about your minor.  If I had it to do over again, I would major in history and minor in political economy.  History helps one understand people and peoples and institutions.  So does political economy; political economy helps one recognize some mistaken interpretations of history that some historians occassionally make.  (Also helps one to recognize some illogicallities that some authors of fiction put into their works.)  If you majored in economics, you would have to take the introductory micro and macro courses, but the political economy courses are what would educate you.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Above all, following the advice of the posters that you must fulfill what your state requires is of paramount importance.  In Alabama, a teachers can be certified to teach only in subjects in which they have at least 33 hours of credit; that is, have a major. Unless things have changed, student teaching is only necessary in one major, but contact the state department, talk with your adviser, etc. 

As the others have said, having as many credentials as possible provides you with more opportunities.  Ironically, many teachers have begun their careers in teaching something other than their original intent.  Good luck!

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to assume that your state education authority (superintendent of public instruction or whatever) would have plenty of information for you about what you need to get certified in a given area.  In fact, your ed. school really ought to be telling you this stuff as well.  I've included a link to your state department of education.

I would really recommend that you get enough to get certified in English as well.  History and English teachers are a dime a dozen.  If you can do both, you increase your chances of being able to fit in to what a given school needs.

micheldemontaigne eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It depends upon the state of issuing authority for your credential.

In California, it looks like you need 22 or more units in the alternate subject area, but you are not eligible for this until you have already obtained your first credential. You may also have to pass a CSET and/or CTEL exam to prove competency due to the higher level of competency required for English teachers these days.

Try the state teaching credential department website - you'll find a link referring to additional credentials after some surfing.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You also need to check out the criteria for teaching certification in Alabama, if that is where you want to teach. In Missouri, you must receive your education degree with an emphasis area. Then you have to receive certification in that area. Subsequent certifications might be obtained by testing into one of the other areas even if you don’t have a major in it.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Depending on your state, the general state of things is that you teach whatever you are CERTIFIED to teach after you take the certification exams to teach and get your license.

You can have a doctorate in History and not pass the teacher's licensing test for history, hence, you won't be teaching it. Same with English.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Washington State we call this an Endorseable Minor.  As long as you have 25 credits in a particular field, you can become certified to teach it.  This will make you a bit more marketable in a tough job field right now, but you've also chosen a major and minor that a lot of people have.  I wish you the best.

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