How to Become a Teacher in Delaware
If you want clear career growth opportunities, benefits, and mentorship, teaching in Delaware might be the right career for you. Learn more here.
Updated June 10, 2022
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Delaware offers higher than average teachers' salaries and a lower average cost of living. Delaware teachers are also in demand. To retain teachers, Delaware offers mentorship and leadership advancement opportunities.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average salary for elementary and secondary school teachers in Delaware was about $65,800 during the 2020-2021 academic year. Areas of high demand for teachers in the state include special education, world languages, business, and early childhood education, according to the U.S. Department of Education (ED).
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Teachers in Delaware must be licensed and certified. Teachers must hold an accredited bachelor's degree and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. These are available in person and through online colleges in Delaware.
Standard teaching certification and licensure in Delaware are granted on the basis of passing required exams and years of teaching experience. For those going back to college to earn a teaching degree, there are a number of colleges with alternative paths to licensure.
How Do I Become a Teacher in Delaware?
To become a teacher in Delaware, applicants must earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Teachers must also complete a state-certified teacher preparation program and pass the relevant Praxis core subject tests. Test requirements are specified by grade level and subject.
Delaware offers both certifications and licenses. A license allows an individual to teach. A certification specifies the subject area(s). The Delaware government website has a complete list of educator certifications.
An initial teaching license is granted for new educators in the first four years of teaching. Teachers with more than four years of experience receive continuing or advanced teaching licenses.
Out-of-state educators can apply on the Delaware Department of Education website to earn a Delaware teaching license.
Meet Minimum Education Requirements
The minimum education requirement to become a teacher in Delaware is an accredited bachelor's degree. A teacher in Delaware can hold any subject degree. Teachers will be required to pass the Praxis subject tests for certification.
Traditional and alternative teacher preparation programs give educators the flexibility to earn a teaching license in Delaware.
Completing a teacher preparation program is the primary requirement for the traditional path. Educators must then earn a passing score on the relevant Praxis exams.
Individuals with at least 24 college credits in a specified subject area, or a passing score on the Praxis II subject test, may be eligible for Delaware's alternative path to teacher certification.
- An accredited bachelor's degree
- Completion of a teacher preparation program
- Passing score on the relevant Praxis tests
The Delaware Teacher Corps program, which offers financial aid to aspiring teachers, requires applicants to have a cumulative GPA of 2.75.
Gain Student Teaching Experience
Delaware requires all teachers to have student teaching experience. Applicants have the option to complete a student teaching program or to work a minimum of 91 days as a long-term substitute teacher.
Many applicants gain student teaching experience in their teacher preparation program. At the University of Delaware, students are required to complete two 12-week full-time student teaching placements at multiple grade levels and in a variety of educational settings.
The Alternative Routes to Certification (ARTC) programs are open to applicants who can pass the relevant Praxis subject test(s). These educators can work full time for two years while receiving mentoring, completing coursework, and finishing assessments.
Pass Required Certification Tests
To become certified as a teacher in Delaware, applicants must pass a general education Praxis test as well as subject-specific Praxis tests. The exact requirements depend on the planned subject and grade level of certification.
Educators must pass math, science, social studies, and language arts Praxis tests to teach at the elementary and middle school levels. At the high school level, teachers must pass subject-specific tests.
There are also all-level Praxis certification tests for art, theater, health and physical education, gifted and special education, and world languages. For world languages, applicants may also demonstrate proficiency with language testing according to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages proficiency guidelines.
Apply for Certification
New applicants in Delaware must apply for an initial license and certification simultaneously. Applicants can apply online or send all required documents to the Delaware Department of Education.
Documents needed for the initial license and standard certification:
- Official transcripts, minimum bachelor's degree
- Official transcript of student teaching experience
- Official test scores forwarded electronically to the Delaware Department of Education
The application fee for the initial license is $100. Educators may be eligible for reimbursement upon employment at a public or charter school.
Application processing times vary, but applicants may apply for jobs while the application is pending.
How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in Delaware?
Educators in Delaware need a teaching license and certification. The license allows an educator to teach. The certification specifies the grade levels and subject area.
The initial teaching license is valid for four years. Teachers must complete an approved mentoring program during those years before applying for the continuing teaching license.
Teachers renewing the continuing teaching license in Delaware must provide 90 hours of professional development documentation. The educator's work with students or staff should account for 45 of the 90 hours.
Educators with an expired teaching license may apply for a continuing teaching license and complete a one-year approved mentoring program. If educators already have an out-of-state teaching license, they can apply online for a Delaware teaching license.
Career Outlook for Teachers in Delaware
Delaware is actively recruiting educators. Delaware educators can search for employment through an updated jobs database.
Teaching jobs currently in demand include K-8 math coaches, preschool educators, lower school teachers, and grades 6-8 science and social studies teachers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), elementary school teachers in Delaware made an average annual salary of $64,410 in May 2021. Preschool teachers made an average of $29,150. Middle school teachers made an average of $66,780, and high school teachers made an average of $68,780 during the same period.
Delaware stands out in opportunities for leadership and advancement for educators. Experience, a master's degree, and graduate school directly translate to higher salaries in Delaware schools. Educators may also receive monetary incentives for exceptional work.
In-Demand Teaching Careers in Delaware
Middle School Science Teacher
Middle school science teachers provide a foundation of scientific understanding. Foundational topics include the scientific method, matter, and energy. Students gain a basic understanding of biology, physics, chemistry, and genetics.
Passing the Praxis middle school science subject test is required.
Average Annual Salary (May 2021): $66,780
Social Studies Teacher
Middle school and high school level social studies teachers are in demand in Delaware. Social studies focus on human behavior, relationships, and institutions. Subjects covered include history, economics, anthropology, economics, and political science.
Passing the Praxis social studies subject test at the middle school or high school level is required.
Average Annual Salary (May 2021):
- Middle School: $66,880
- High School: $68,780
High School Environmental Science Teacher
Environmental science teachers at the high school level teach students about the relationship between humans and the ecosystem. Environmental science can help students understand complex environmental issues and how their decisions can have a larger impact.
Passing the Praxis Earth science test is required for this position.
Average Annual Salary (May 2021): $68,780
Special Education Teacher
Special education teachers work with students who have learning, emotional, or physical disabilities. This includes Deaf students and students who are blind or have low vision. Special education teachers help students develop academic, social, and life skills.
Passing the Praxis exceptional children test is required, as well as other relevant subject tests.
Average Annual Salary (May 2021):
- Elementary School: $68,360
- Middle School: $58,950
- High School: $70,840
Elementary School Teacher
An elementary school teacher provides a foundational curriculum for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Classroom instruction includes math, science, social studies, and language arts. Elementary school teachers help students develop intellectually, socially, and emotionally.
Passing the Praxis elementary education subject tests is required for this position.
Average Annual Salary (May 2021): $64,410
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in Delaware
How do I get a teaching certification in Delaware?
To get a teaching certification in Delaware, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree. Teachers must then complete one of the possible paths to earn a Delaware teaching license and certification.
The standard path to a teaching license is a teacher preparation course that includes student teaching experiences. The alternative path allows candidates to begin teaching in Delaware full time while continuing coursework.
For both paths, teachers must pass the relevant Praxis subject tests for teaching certification in Delaware. This certification specifies the subjects and grade levels the educator can teach in the state.
Can I teach in Delaware without certification?
Teaching in Delaware without certification is not allowed. Educators must be both licensed and certified in Delaware.
The certification specifies the subject areas and grade levels an educator may teach. The teaching license allows the educator to teach.
The exception is for substitute teaching. In Delaware, substitute teachers are not required to hold a specific certification. Each school district has its own policy on substitute teaching requirements. Some only require a high school diploma, while others require a bachelor's degree or a teaching license.
How long does it take to become a teacher in Delaware?
Becoming a teacher in Delaware requires a bachelor's degree and completion of a teacher preparation program. The fastest route to teaching certification in Delaware is to take one of the official alternate routes.
Certain alternative programs allow bachelor's degree-holders to start teaching full time while taking coursework. The amount of course credits required before teaching varies by program.
General K-12 alternative teaching routes require a minimum of 24 credits of coursework in the relevant subjects before teaching full time. Applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in the desired teaching subject area or pass the Praxis subject test. With both of these routes, teachers will continue coursework while teaching full time.
What can I do with teaching certification in Delaware?
A teaching license and certification qualify educators to teach in Delaware. Certification allows an educator to teach at specific grade levels and cover specific subjects.
For example, a teacher may hold a secondary math, science, or English certification. They would then be qualified to teach those subjects at the secondary level.
Likewise, there are certifications for primary education, early childhood education, middle school education, and postsecondary subject-specific education.
The three main teaching licenses in Delaware are:
- An initial license, valid for up to four years
- A continuing license, valid after four years of teaching experience
- An advanced license for educators who have a National Board of Professional Teaching standards certification
How do I become a substitute teacher in Delaware?
There are no universal standards to become a substitute teacher in Delaware. Each school district sets its own criteria for substitute teachers in Delaware.
Most school districts require a high school diploma as the minimum requirement. Some school districts will also ask for a bachelor's degree or a teaching license.
Undergraduate and graduate students in teacher preparation programs in Delaware are eligible to become substitute teachers.
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