The Catholic University of America


Student Teaching

Prerequisites for Student Teaching

All music education majors in the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music must meet the following requirements prior to student teaching:
  • Completion of all curriculum requirements specified for the first five semesters with a GPA of at least a 3.0 (B) in all subjects.
  • Completion of all required formal interviews with cooperating teachers.
  • Completion of Student Teacher Data Form or Resume.
  • Completion of Faculty Recommendation Form.
  • Instrumental and Combined majors are expected to have completed a majority of the courses in secondary instruments. Each student will have acquired a variety of observations and teaching experiences.
  • Successful completion of the Piano Proficiency examination.
  • Successful completion of the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Music Educators (formerly Praxis I). (CUA required scores: Reading – 177; Writing – 173; Math – 177; OR a cumulative score total of 527 for all three tests while meeting DCPS standards: Reading – 172; Writing – 171; Math – 174.[1]
  • Approval of qualifications for teaching by the School of Music Teacher Education Committee.
  • All required health, safety and security documents and procedures as dictated by the hosting public or private school district (e.g. TB test, criminal background check, fingerprinting, etc.)
  • At least one (1) Music Education Disposition Report. This report should be completed by at least one in-service music teacher (cooperating teachers who are currently teaching PK-12 students.) This Report may be found in this Handbook.
Frequently Asked Questions

Student teaching is the culmination of your work as a music education major. You need to apply to student teach at two different schools with two different teachers, at two different levels (elementary/ secondary) in order to receive your K-12 music certification. There are many important things to consider when preparing to student teach. Among them:

What materials do I need to submit in order to be accepted into the Student Teaching Program?           

The application materials include a) an essay describing rationale and purpose for seeking to become a music teacher, b) three Music Education Division Disposition forms from School of Music faculty (ensemble director, piano instructor, harmony/ear training teacher) c) one Music Education Division Disposition form from a practicing music teacher, and an unofficial transcript from CUA or an official transcript from the institution awarding the candidate’s Bachelor of Music, and d) a professional resume (the Student Teacher Data form, located here in the Handbook, may serve as a substitute for the resume; the Data form may also serve as a working tool/model for said resume. (Refer to additional forms listed above). These materials are reviewed by the Music Education Committee and recommendations for continued matriculation or remediation are made (e.g. coursework, field experience, lessons.)

Where do I student teach?

Student teaching placements are determined by your music education advisors. The Catholic University of America music education program allows our students multiple field experiences in the area (Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia) public and parochial schools, and you will have a general idea of the teaching experiences available to you before you are set to student teach. We consider factors such as where you will live, will you have a car, what type of job you want, what special interests you have, e.g., jazz, technology, marching band, or school musicals, and most of all, what type of teaching personality best matches yours.

What do I need to do to apply for student teaching?

Each county imposes their own deadlines for the receipt of student teaching packages, so early during the fall semester of your junior year, we encourage you to:

(a) schedule a meeting with your advisor to discuss possible sites 

(b) start observing potential student teaching sites 

(c) prepare your paperwork

(d) submit forms to the department chair by the end of fall semester junior year

(e) schedule formal interviews with the school's music teacher.


Each county in the area schools requires a different set of criteria in order to student teach in their schools. You will be notified of the specific details when your placement site has been determined.

Why do I apply so early in my program?

Remember that the DC Metro area is a prime location for student teachers from a number of universities in both Virginia and Maryland. Various counties award a small number of allotments per school. We compete with many state and private schools who wish to place their students in high-quality music education programs. If we are to place you in the best music programs, you must complete this process fairly early in your training. Furthermore some students find that they must apply to a number of schools before being accepted at one, so we must begin the process as soon as possible. Your paperwork will be sent out by January (spring semester of your junior year).

How many hours of field experience do I need before I can student teach?

The program requires that all candidates seeking teacher certification complete a minimum of 100 hours of clinical experiences in schools observing and interacting with students and teachers. The 100 hours are a prerequisite for student teaching. We recommend you observe as many hours as your schedule can accommodate. All field experience hours must be reported and recorded on the Music Education Division Field Experience Documentation Site at

What do I have to do before the first day of my student teaching?

You will attend a brief meeting at the end of the previous semester (spring semester of your junior year) in order to review your placement and receive your student teaching handbook. Topics that will be addressed include but are not limited to: fingerprinting, security background checks, TB testing, interviewing with your prospective cooperating teachers, setting up a planning session with the cooperating teacher before school begins and starting your first day on the first day of classes.

How long do I student teach?

Student teaching is a full-time, minimum 14 week intensive experience during which students are cooperating with established teachers in schools and supervised by Catholic University faculty. Roles of the student teacher, faculty supervisor and cooperating teacher are formalized in written agreements. Certification candidates are placed in both an elementary and a secondary setting, spending a total of seven weeks in each placement.

Can I work, take classes, or perform in ensembles while I student teach?

Because of the heavy demands upon your time and energy, we strongly urge you to limit your outside commitments, e.g., work, courses, lessons, during the student teaching semester. CUA requires that you do not take classes during your student teaching semester. Because of the financial strain this may create, it is suggested that you begin saving early and attempt to clear your schedules. A number of students elect to take classes over the summer in order to free up their time for observations before they student teach. We discourage any involvement with a performing ensemble or musical production that could interfere with your ability to student teach.

Do I have to have a car when I student teach?

We highly recommend that you have a car. There are student teaching sites that are accessible by public transportation, but it is advised that you have a car if at all possible. Most sites accessed by public transportation require that you take both the metro and a bus in order to reach your destination, which can be very time consuming due to erratic bus schedules. A car gives you the greatest flexibility in selecting student teaching sites, and the most control over your time.

Do I need to develop a portfolio as part of the student teaching process?


Yes. Along with applications and letters of recommendations, many school districts require that this material be provided. Even if it is not required by potential employers, it is always a good thing to have on hand and online. It provides evidence of your knowledge base, skill sets and good dispositions toward being a professional educator. Your portfolio is developed during your student teaching experience via the seminar that is required of all student teaching candidates. Please see page 41 for a detailed outline.




[1] These score standards qualify graduates of the program for state teaching licensure in the District of Columbia. Standards differ in other states and may be higher. See for a list of Praxis I standards for other states.