How Do You Become an Instructional Coach?

Those who want to become an instructional coach, also known as an instructional coordinator, will need to become licensed educators, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These professionals are school administrators who help teachers and management select appropriate content and technology for classroom instruction. These professional instructors usually transition from teaching roles to administrative positions after earning a master’s degree in instructional coaching or leadership.

Meet the Educational Requirements

In order to quality for a graduate program, instructional coach candidates must first earn an accredited bachelor’s degree related to education. One of the best degree examples is the Bachelor of Science in Education (BSEd) that prepares candidates to pass teacher licensure exams. The guiding viewpoint of these programs is to provide learners with the skills and knowledge that transform them into effective and competent educators.

Student teaching is an essential component of these programs, so learners will gain valuable field experience with different grade levels. Understanding what goes on in classrooms will help future instructional coaches perform their duties. Most programs match the participants with mentor educators from local schools. These practical student teaching experiences familiarize learners with state standards and certification requirements while also preparing them to become certified classroom teachers.

Pass the Teacher Certification Exam

Once students graduate, they will be ready to take the standardized test to earn their teaching credential. Most states accept the standard Praxis Pre-Professional Skills Test, but those who will teach a specific subject area will need to submit a Subject Assessment, according to the Educational Testing Service. Some states have their own internal skills tests that are different from the Praxis tests. Some states require at least a year of work experience.

Some teachers will voluntarily study and pass the National Board Certification (NBC), which is offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. It does not replace a state’s teacher license, but helps teachers find employment. As an alternative, the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) certification program is designed to prepare and support aspiring teachers.

Earn a Graduate Degree

Teachers applying for instructional coach positions will need a master’s degree to qualify and impress employers. A graduate education is mandatory because candidates must understand advanced concepts and practices related to curriculum design, selection and technology. These graduate programs are available as a master of education in instructional leadership or coaching. These programs usually require the completion of 32 to 36 credit hours.

Instructional coaching programs provide the training needed for teachers to refine curricula for classrooms and develop district policies. Instructional coaching students will learn professional strategies to help them with leadership, mentorship and collaboration. They will learn how to advance teacher leadership through guiding professional development and supporting instruction in the classroom. Participants will also learn the research tools that will produce school level data used to drive change.

Related Resource: Become a School Counselor

The final step to become an instructional coach is to find the right job. Instructional coaches provide both individualized and classroom coaching to strengthen instructional processes. They support the goals and achievements of teachers by leveraging coaching strategies, increasing responsibilities and implementing personalized coaching plans.