Become-Certified-TeacherAlthough every State has unique qualifications for certifying teachers, there are some certification programs that are ubiquitous for all teachers regardless of their State. In total, there are nine different ways a teacher can be certified. Read on to learn about the different routes to becoming certified as a teacher.

The Initial Teacher Certificate  

With the exception of certain special programs such as Teach for America, no one can teach professionally without obtaining an Initial Teaching Certificate. Once you complete your college degree and pass the board of education exams administered by your state, you will be awarded this certification. While programs like Teach For America thrust you into teaching with limited training and experience, this certification route sets you up for critical training and learning processes that focus on teaching as a long-term career.

Standard Teachers Certificate

In order to obtain your Standard Certification, you must teach in a classroom setting for a minimum of four years. You also have to complete one of many additional development options. These include completing an advanced degree program, a certified mentoring and induction program, or a 12 credit-hour professional educator development certification. In essence, this moves you into full-fledged educator status.

Master’s Teaching Certificate

If you want to move beyond being a Standard Certified teacher, you can complete a Master’s in Education degree program. The programs vary among the different States and accredited universities, but each teacher must pass a final exam to earn their Master’s. If you choose to do this, you can expect your teaching salary to be upwards of 33 percent higher than a Standard Certified teacher. You will also be more likely to be awarded additional responsibilities such as department head status.  

Substitute Teaching Certificate

This type of certification varies greatly between states. Still, the usual qualifier is a certain number of undergraduate college credits earned. Naturally, substitute teachers do not really have their own classes or lessons and instead take over for an absent full-time teacher. Like full-time teachers, substitutes get to decide what subjects they are best suited to teach.

Certificate of Endorsement

Some States allow prospective teachers to take board approved exams that certify a teacher to teach a certain subject to a specific grade level. These tests only certify you to teach in your State of residence and are rarely the only qualifications necessary.

Early Childhood Teacher Certificate

This certification allows you to teach third grade and lower in any state. This can includes teaching both kindergarten and preschool. Many degree programs specialize in early childhood education and even award professional degrees in the area.

Elementary School Teacher Certificate

Teachers can also be certified to teach all elementary grade levels from kindergarten to 5th grade. This certification requires that the teacher teach in self-contained classrooms, wherein one instructor teaches his or her students the majority various subjects. If such self-contained classrooms exist up to 8th grade in a school district, then an Elementary School certified teacher could also teach in these middle schools.

Middle School Teacher Certificate

Any teacher certified in this manner can teach their subject specialty from 5th grade to 9th grade.

Alternate Route to Teacher Education

Also known as ARC, this program is targeted to adults who are already in the middle of non-education related careers. This route is perfect for substitute teachers who wish to transition into full-time teachers. In fact, the only qualifications for this program are an undergraduate degree and experience as a student teacher.

Nearly all of these certification methods require you to pass a board of education approved test. The most widely used tests are from the Praxis Series. There are numerous Praxis Practice Tests available online as well as resources to ensure success in your journey to become a teacher.

Carla Parker, a writer who can write about anything from History to Science Theories. She likes to write about education industry, In fact, she has written about these and many more topics for the past five years. Books and articles are his main forte, she also writes poetry.