There are several paths you can take to complete the education and testing requirements necessary to become a math teacher. All paths will require you to take these steps:
|Pass the GACE Test and Earn at Least a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics|
|Complete a Georgia Approved Education Program|
|Pass the Required Assessment|
|Gain Certification as a Math Teacher|
|Maintain and Upgrade Your Certification|
Educating the youth of Georgia is an important responsibility, and the Professional Standards Commission ensures that only those who are qualified are permitted to become certified teachers in the field of mathematics.
As a prospective math teacher, you will need to become familiar with the requirements for certification, as established by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. To become a math teacher in Georgia, you will need to start by having a college education that includes coursework both in mathematics and education.
Step 1. Pass the GACE Test and Earn at Least a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics
The most direct route to meet the math teacher certification requirements in Georgia is by earning a bachelor’s degree in the field of mathematics through a program that includes an approved teacher preparation program. There are a total of 27 approved education programs in Georgia for college students who want to teach math in grades 6-12.
Once you have gained entry into one of these programs, expect courses covering mathematical concepts that will fulfill your major requirements, such as:
- Linear Algebra
- Number theory
The next step in completing your mathematics teaching bachelor’s degree will be the education program that focuses more on pedagogy, and which includes a student teaching assignment. This is included in your major, however before you are permitted to enter this program you will need to pass what is known as the GACE Program Admission Test.
Note that elementary teachers include math in their general curriculum for grades K-5, and there are therefore no specific math teacher requirements for these grade levels.
GACE Program Admission Test
Passing the Georgia Assessment for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Program Admission Test is a prerequisite for entry into an approved education program. This test is an evaluation of your basic abilities in three essential areas of knowledge:
You can take these subject tests individually as two-hour exams or all at once in a combined five-hour test. Questions are in the form of multiple-choice, with an additional writing portion that makes up the constructed-response sections. To register for these tests you must first create a MyPSC account, and then register for the GACE Program Admission Test through an ETS GACE account. You can also find study materials online for these basic-skills exams.
You may substitute taking this test with any of the following minimum exam scores:
- GRE – 1030 on the quantitative and verbal tests
- SAT – 1000 on the math and verbal sections
- ACT – 43 combined score from the math and English portions
Step 2. Complete a Georgia Approved Education Program
Approved education programs have been evaluated by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission as being adequate to produce competent teachers for math in grades 6-12. In addition to the 27 education programs for mathematics in Georgia that result in a bachelor’s degree and eligibility for a teaching certification, there are also education programs in mathematics for candidates who are taking different routes to math teaching certification.
Alternate Route Options
The Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy (GaTAPP) is one option if you already have a bachelor’s degree in the field of mathematics but have not completed a required education program. There are 20 approved GaTAPP programs in mathematics offered by colleges and universities across the state that combine pedagogical courses with supervised and mentored on-the-job teacher training.
You may also choose a post-baccalaureate or master’s degree education program for teaching mathematics. Whichever route you choose, you will need to check with the individual teaching program you are interested in to make sure you meet its admission requirements.
If you are already a licensed math teacher in your home state outside of Georgia, you can gain in-state reciprocity if you have at least three years of teaching experience in the past five years. Provided you meet a few specific requirements such as having education to identify children with special needs, you can become a math teacher in Georgia by submitting a copy of your teaching license, academic transcripts, and appropriate test scores.
Step 3. Pass the Required Assessment
After completing your education, but before you apply for your teaching certificate, you will need to complete another GACE test specific to your area of specialization. The GACE Mathematics Assessment is divided into two subtests, which you can also opt to take at the same time in a combined test. GACE offers a study guide you can use to prepare for this computerized mathematics assessment. Details include:
- Test I – 2 hours
- Algebra – 40%
- Calculus and discrete mathematics – 30%
- Quantity and numbers – 30%
- Test II – 2 hours
- Number functions – 40%
- Statistics and probability – 30%
- Geometrical equations – 30%
Step 4. Gain Certification as a Math Teacher
The last of the requirements for math teacher jobs in Georgia is teaching certification. Once you have completed the steps up to this point you can start applying for math teaching positions for grades 6-12.
Once you find a school that is interested in employing you, you must fill out your portion of the Georgia Teaching Certificate Application, including an endorsement in Mathematics (code 743).
Having done this, you must then send the application to your employing school, which will complete the application and submit it to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission on your behalf. Your initial teaching certification will be valid for five years.
Step 5. Maintain and Upgrade Your Certification
To renew your teaching certificate before it expires after five years you must complete at least one of the following three options:
- Approved continuing professional education in the form of either:
- College courses totaling six semester credits
- 10 professional learning or continuing education units
- Master Teacher Certification
- National Board Certification
The level of your certification increases with the amount of education you have. You will start at a level four with a bachelor’s degree, and can proceed up the ladder according to the following model:
- Master’s degree – level 5
- Doctoral degree without a dissertation or a Education Specialist degree – level 6
- Doctoral degree – level 7
For professional education to count towards the renewal of your math teaching certificate, it must be approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. One approved provider of professional education is the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Master Teacher Certification
The Professional Standards Commission coordinates the Master Teacher Certification Program, which recognizes teachers for exceptional performance. To acquire a Master Teacher Certification, you will need to contact the Commission about taking the Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). You will also need to demonstrate exceptional professional and classroom performance.
National Board Certification
You will need to work through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) to obtain National Board Certification. This is offered for math teachers in two separate areas:
To gain this certification you will need to submit a portfolio that includes evidence of exceptional teaching, such as:
- Video of your classroom teaching
- Test scores of your students that show improvement over time
- Teaching evaluations and performance reviews
- Achievement of professional goals
Whether you are just starting out as a math teacher in Georgia or have years of experience, it is never too late to develop your career and reach out to professional networks. Made up of current and retired math teachers, as well as citizens and specialists from other fields, professional associations offer a range of valuable resources that include job openings, information on professional education, and networking opportunities. Important associations within the state include:
- STEM Georgia (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) is an alliance made up of representatives from the Georgia Department of Education with business and industry leaders who rely on professionals educated in STEM fields.
- Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics (GCTM) is an affiliate organization of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the GCTM acts as an advocate for math teachers encouraging education and teaching standards in the field of math to be of the highest quality. This includes fostering a societal interest in mathematics as well as providing valuable continuing education for teachers of math.
- Georgia Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (GAMTE) is an organization whose aim is to facilitate the improvement of math teacher education across Georgia. GAMTE works towards the ends of this goal by:
- Making it easier for math teachers to collaborate and communicate
- Coordinating professional activities
- Encouraging strong leadership among the math teacher community
- Supporting research aimed at identifying the most effective ways to improve math teacher development