How Teacher Certification Works

It is possible for a person become a teacher without first getting a teaching certificate depending on what state they would like to teach in and what level of school they would like to teach. Before an individual pursues this particular career path, however, it is important to also consider things like benefits, salary, and long-term employability, which will all be affected by a person's teaching credentials. Put bluntly, a teacher will earn more money and have a better chance at gaining tenure if they have a more advanced degree. While it is possible, a teacher without a teaching certificate will find it more difficult to find work and may not be able to secure a permanent position.

A teaching certification is the process that universities and colleges use to grant professional recognition to a person that has completed the necessary courses in order to become a licensed teacher in a particular subject. Basically, teachers who have met the requirements and earned a teaching certificate, as well is passing any state-mandated examinations, will receive a license to teach. Some credentials can only be used to teach certain grades, such as pre-K through grade 3, grades 1 through 6, and grades 5 through 8. It is usually necessary for a teacher to have completed secondary education in some subject area in order to teach grades 7 through 12.

A national teacher certification is a voluntary certification that teachers can earn through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Many states allow teachers with this type of certification to carry their license from one state to another. In order for a teacher to acquire a national certificate, they must put together a portfolio that shows their classroom work as well as pass an assessment of their knowledge. There are also differences between elementary and secondary teaching certificates. An elementary school teaching certificate is usually general, allowing a teacher to teach a number of different subjects. Secondary school certificates, on the other hand, require teachers to specialize in specific subjects such as mathematics, English, history, or science.

In general, most teachers earn their bachelor's degree as well as a teaching certification. A certification can be earned at most colleges or universities and can often be accomplished through a Masters program, a post baccalaureate program, or an undergraduate program. Of course, there are different standards in place for each of the 50 states as far as minimum requirements go, but is usually advised that a teacher continue on their path to education even after they have reached this point.