Preparing for Certifications
Teacher certification, called teacher licensure in some states, is earned by completing an accredited teacher preparation program at your college, passing any required state certification tests, and completing required paperwork. If you are job searching before completing your teacher education program, you may write “certification expected” and the date.
Teacher certification is valid only in the state in which it is earned. If you are still in school and plan to teach in another state, learn that state’s requirements and try to meet them. Moving out of state after graduation may require additional paperwork, courses, and testing for certification in the other state. Some states may even require an additional year of college for any first teaching certificate.
Though some states have reciprocity agreements with other states, that does not mean you are automatically certified or licensed for any of those states. You still must apply for the new certificate or license of that state. You can see certification requirements for each state by accessing the list of state departments of education.
Alternative or Provisional Certification
If you did not complete teacher certification while earning your bachelor’s degree, other options are available. These options vary by state and are usually outlined on each state’s department of education website.
Even if you work in a non-educational setting but dream of teaching, it’s not too late to make the transition. Like any new career, though, further training will be required. Some states allow teachers to receive provisional certification to teach, then require those teachers earn full certification while teaching. Alternative certification programs exist in some states. Check your state’s teacher certification website.
All states require you to pass certification tests. Thirty-six states use the PRAXIS tests, requiring education majors (and most minors) pass Parts I and II before student teaching and then pass subject-area specific Praxis tests before graduation. The other 14 states have their own tests. The Educational Testing Services website is where you sign up for tests such as the Praxis. Visit your state department of education website to sign up for state-specific tests.
KDP has partnered with 240 Tutoring to give KDP members a 50% discount on Praxis and certification study resources. You can get a month’s worth of tutoring and practice testing for only $20.
There are also excellent study guides available online. One of the best is XAMonline an easy-to-understand, in-depth review of actual test content, not just a list of skills and competencies or study secrets. Additionally, the guides include practice tests with up to 125 questions. The practice tests include full answer rationales as well as skill reference and rigor for each question, allowing you to quickly review the relevant content and identify topics to which you should devote more study time. XAMonline guides are designed to prepare you for success, on both your certification test and in the classroom.
Other Certification Requirements
Many states require a Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification for all teachers and teachers’ aides. If you need a CPR certification, your state’s website will tell you. Early Childhood teachers may need Infant CPR as well as Adult/Pediatric CPR. Your state may also require First Aid or other types of emergency preparedness training. Often you can do training in a single day on a Saturday or Sunday or in two or three evenings.
You will find CPR training offered online, but you do not have the practice with the mannequins or the interactions with and corrections of the instructors. Most states will not accept the online certifications. Instead, visit the Red Cross for locations, times, and registration information. The American Heart Association also offers CPR training for individuals and groups. Local fire departments offer CPR certification training. Most state department of education websites tell what you need and provide links to places to receive the certification.
National Board Certification
National Board Certification (NBC) is a voluntary, advanced teaching credential that goes beyond state licensure. NBC has national standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. The National Board certifies teachers who successfully complete its rigorous certification process. This is not necessary for getting a teaching position. In fact, you need to teach for a while before you can apply.
If you are considering applying for National Board Certification, consider these 13 tips for teachers. View the programs available for teacher, principal, and higher education from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. National Board certification is at least a three-year process. Learn more about the process.
Further Requirements for Administrators
Administrators applying for new positions will need more than a résumé; they will need a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and possibly a personal statement or expanded doctrine of education or statement about their beliefs concerning education in the 21st century. A CV includes all the places you have been published, usually in American Psychological Association (APA) format, all the presentations and workshops you have given, and anything else you have done to help schools or school systems improve.
Administrators should have at least a Master’s degree and, in most cases, they also should have some type of certification or licensure for the position. The completion of a Building Level Administrator program at an approved college is usually necessary and is accompanied by the passing of the School Leaders Licensure Assessment.
Additional Requirements for Teaching in Colleges and Universities
To teach in higher education, you need at least a Master’s degree or working on a doctorate. Larger institutions accept only applicants who have finished a PhD. or EdD. You will need a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a Personal Statement or Educational Philosophy Statement. A very well-written cover letter and succinct résumé that shows results will aid your application.
Almost all college faculty have their CVs available on their faculty web pages. To see those of the faculty of a particular school, go to the school’s website and type in the name of the person or the word “faculty” to get a list in the search box.