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Teacher education is the process of providing teachers and potential teachers with the skills and knowledge necessary to teach effectively in a classroom environment. Most teacher education starts with initial training such as a degree program at a college or university, though other paths are available for a candidate to begin teacher education. Once a teacher has completed a degree program, and he or she has obtained certification, a teacher may continue his or her education while teaching full-time. Continuing education courses, seminars, and professional development activities are all considered part of ongoing teacher training.
A teacher must complete some sort of teacher education before becoming a full-time teacher. In most cases, a teaching candidate will enroll in a teacher training program at a college or university, thus allowing them the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in education. A student may then choose to continue his or her teacher education by obtaining a master's degree, PhD., or professional certificate. Once a bachelor's degree is completed, however, a teacher may instead choose to take the necessary exams for certification and begin teaching immediately. Most school districts require a teacher work full-time to fulfill other educational requirements as he or she teaches; this often involves earning a master's degree in education or other field that will improve the teacher's knowledge, skills, and techniques for delivering instruction in the classroom.
Once a teacher secures a position teaching in a school, the first few years of teaching may be spent under the tutelage of a more experienced teacher or administrator. This is sometimes considered part of teacher education and is meant to allow the teacher a mentor under whom he or she can learn new skills and adapt to a new environment. Once that phase is over, or while that phase is underway, a teacher will be responsible for developing short- and long-term goals for furthering his or her education.
This process of continuing education within the teaching realm is sometimes known as professional development, and it may include any number of activities that improve the teacher's ability to teach. Many teachers take part in online or distance learning classes that adapt to his or her teaching schedule, while others may participate in on-site classes at a community college, four-year college, or university. These classes may be credit classes or non-credit classes, and a teacher may or may not work toward a higher degree.