How to Become a Teacher in Delaware

If you’re wondering how to become a teacher in Delaware, be prepared to research the academic and testing requirements. In Delaware, the path to licensure is fairly straightforward. Choosing the appropriate academic path ensures that you can pursue your goal of becoming a teacher.

Delaware at a Glance: Key Facts and Figures

Despite its small size, Delaware has a fairly substantial population at just under 1 million residents. Much of the population consists of families with approximately 129,403 school-aged students in the state, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. To meet the need for education, Delaware has 218 public schools, with numerous private schools located throughout the state. These school districts employ 8,933 teachers. Although this is a smaller teacher workforce than in more populous states, Delaware maintains a student-to-teacher ratio of 14.49-to-1, below the national average of 15.97 students per teacher. Because of this low student-to-teacher ratio, Delaware is an attractive state for teachers who enjoy working in smaller classrooms.

Teachers in Delaware enjoy competitive salaries and low cost of living compared to other locations on the Eastern Seaboard. The average annual salary for an elementary teacher is $54,700, while secondary school teachers make slightly more at $55,480. Although starting salaries for beginning teachers are lower, teachers can expect salary increases with greater work experience.

How to Become a Teacher in Delaware

Standard Path to Teacher Certification

To earn an initial teacher license in Delaware, you must complete the following requirements:

  • Academic degree. Applicants must hold a bachelor degree from an accredited institution.
  • Teacher-preparation program. You must successfully complete a teacher preparation program approved by the Delaware Department of Education. Acceptable programs are offered at an accredited four-year college or university. Look for a program that is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). Online degree programs often fulfill these qualification requirements.
  • Student-teaching experience. Most accredited teacher preparation programs include a fieldwork component that provides teaching experience in the classroom.
  • Test scores. Applicants must have passing scores on the Delaware Praxis I reading, writing and math subtests. They must also successfully complete a Praxis II exam to demonstrate competency in a specialty.
  • Certificate requirements. Depending on the type of certificate you seek (for example, Secondary Mathematics Teacher or Early Childhood Teacher), you must meet specific requirements for that area. These typically include coursework in the subject area and successful completion of a test demonstrating mastery in that specialty.

Alternative Path to Certification

In many cases, individuals decide to become teachers after they have completed a different baccalaureate degree or spent time in the workforce. For these people, Delaware offers an alternate path to certification. If you hold a bachelor or higher degree in the subject area you wish to teach, you may enroll in the Alternative Route to Certification (ARTC) program. ARCT program members teach in underserved areas while completing relevant certification requirements at the University of Delaware.

Benefits of Working as a Teacher in Delaware

Delaware offers a wealth of benefits to its workers, including competitive salaries and benefits packages. On average, Delaware teachers receive 15 weeks of vacation time per year, which makes becoming a teacher an attractive option. Strong retirement and health insurance packages attract teachers to work in the state.

The state is also experiencing a period of relative job growth. Delaware’s unemployment rate was 7.3 percent in March 2013, slightly below the national average of 7.5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In particular, the education sector has gained jobs over the past 12 months, with a growth rate of 2.1 percent in the last year.

With a strengthening economy and excellent job market for educators, Delaware is a highly competitive state to teach in. Furthermore, Delaware students frequently outperform the national average in tests of math, writing, science and reading. This vibrant academic environment adds to the benefits of working as a teacher in Delaware.