What Degree Do I Need to Be a Psychology Teacher?


Vincent White

Are you passionate about psychology and teaching? If so, becoming a psychology teacher could be the perfect career choice for you.

But what degree do you need to pursue this path? In this article, we will explore the educational requirements and steps to becoming a psychology teacher.

Undergraduate Degree

Before embarking on your journey to become a psychology teacher, you will need to earn an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related field. A bachelor’s degree in psychology provides a solid foundation in the subject matter and equips you with the necessary knowledge to teach others.

Key coursework:

  • Introduction to Psychology: This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of psychology, including theories, research methods, and major subfields.
  • Developmental Psychology: This course focuses on human development across the lifespan, examining physical, cognitive, and socioemotional changes.
  • Cognitive Psychology: In this course, students learn about mental processes such as perception, memory, language, and problem-solving.
  • Social Psychology: This course explores how individuals are influenced by others and how they interact within social contexts.

Graduate Degree

To qualify for most teaching positions in higher education institutions or advanced teaching roles in high schools, a graduate degree is typically required. Pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree in psychology or education will further enhance your expertise and make you more competitive in the job market.

Possible graduate degrees:

  • Master’s in Education: This degree program focuses on educational theories and instructional strategies specifically designed for future teachers.
  • Master’s in Psychology: This degree program delves deeper into advanced topics within the field of psychology, allowing you to specialize in a particular area of interest.
  • Ph.D. or Psy. in Psychology: These doctoral degrees are typically required for teaching at the university level and offer the highest level of expertise and specialization.

Licensure and Certification

In addition to obtaining the appropriate degree, aspiring psychology teachers may need to meet specific licensure or certification requirements depending on their intended career path and location.

State licensure:

If you plan to teach psychology in K-12 public schools, most states require you to hold a teaching license. Requirements vary by state but generally include completing an approved teacher education program and passing a content-specific exam.

National certification:

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) offers voluntary certification for teachers who have met rigorous standards of accomplished practice within their subject area. Achieving national certification can enhance your professional credibility and open up additional job opportunities.

Continuing Education

To maintain your teaching license or certification, it is essential to engage in continuing education activities. This allows you to stay updated with the latest research, teaching methodologies, and advancements in the field of psychology.

Professional development opportunities may include:

  • Attending conferences and workshops: Participating in professional events allows you to network with other educators and gain new insights into teaching practices.
  • Pursuing advanced certifications: Continuing education programs offer specialized certifications that can further enhance your expertise in specific areas of psychology or teaching methodologies.
  • Engaging in research: Conducting research and publishing scholarly articles can contribute to your professional growth and enhance your credibility as an educator.

In conclusion, to become a psychology teacher, you will need at least an undergraduate degree in psychology or a related field. However, pursuing a graduate degree, obtaining licensure or certification, and engaging in continuing education activities will significantly enhance your career prospects and expertise as a psychology teacher.