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Distance Education Courses That Can Help Teachers Relocate Easily

teacher certification

Relocating can be daunting, especially if you have to transfer your teaching license to a new state. When you're faced with all the challenges of stetting up a new life, distance learning opportunities can help you transfer your teaching license to your new state of residence.

Relocating Can Be Challenging

Relocating isn't the kind of decision that any professional enters into lightly, especially not with so many life changing factors on the line: finding new housing, potentially selling your current home, packing, not to mention the planning involved if you're relocating a whole family.

Moving can be an endless stream of to-do lists, so working on your certification reciprocity online cuts down on scheduling one more thing around an already busy time in your life. While you're looking for a new place to live, a new school for the kids, even a new vet for the dog, figuring out how to start transferring your license can be challenging.

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It's best to start with the basics and take stock of what you have versus what you need and what the differences between your old and new district will look like. Are you moving from a rural to an urban area or perhaps vice versa? Job availability should be low on your list of concerns as the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an estimated 1.9 million job opening for teachers ranging from preschool to postsecondary education by 2024.

The Basics

All states require the basics: completion of an undergraduate degree, student teaching, and the Praxis or other testing. This is the easy stuff you've already got under your belt, so the rest of it is just a matter of finding out what your new state's reciprocity regulations are. Assisting interstate teacher mobility is a priority for the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification who defines certificate reciprocity as part of the Interstate Agreement. The Interstate Agreement is 'a statement by that state or jurisdiction outlining which other states' educator certificates will be accepted by that state.' What this means for relocating teachers is that an educator who has already received a license in their home state can receive a license in the state they're relocating to, provided it participates with the Interstate Agreement.

Keep in mind that reciprocity isn't always guaranteed. If State A accepts a teaching certificate issued from State B, State B is not obligated to accept a teaching certificate from State A.The transferring teacher may have to complete requirements in line with the school, region, or state needs while they teach under a provisional license.

There's no one particular program to get you what you need, but considering National Board Certification could be beneficial as some states and school districts offer incentives for Nationally Board Certified educators. The National Board Certification credential may give you the potential option of bypassing recertification in another state, but it may not take the place of each state's individual requirements.

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So where do you start? If you've already made contact with schools in the area, ask their retention and recruitment officers what you'll need for state to state teaching certificate reciprocity. The local board of education should have a list of accredited programs they prefer or are in line with their regional and state regulations and requirements. Once you have the key needs in mind, check with your alma mater and see if they offer any distance learning continuing education classes that fit the bill. If not, other programs may offer you a closer scope to what your new regional and state requirements are. Since each state varies with their educational requirements, check with state colleges in your new home town as it may be easier to comply with regulations if the program you choose is a state university in the area you're looking to teach in.

The Council of Chief State School Officers, or CCSSO, has a list of resources and webinars that offer Continuing Education Credits that can be applied to relocating. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education also provides training and certification guidelines. If your new state accepts National Board Certification, George Mason University of Virginia and Maryville University of Missouri offer graduate credit for completing the NBC.

Where to Look

  • The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • The Council of Chief State School Officers
  • The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

NBC Rated Programs

  • George Mason University
  • Maryville University

What About the Cost of Recertification?

If you're concerned about the potential cost of recertification, check with the retention and recruitment officer in your area or state and see if they offer incentives or employee assistance in updating your teaching certificate. Remember, being the 'new kid' can be an asset. You're bringing a lot of new experiences and ideas to your new district and it benefits your employer to help you make the most of them.

New Opportunities

Moving can open a lot of doors to new opportunities that you may not have had at your old district. Do you want to teach in a public school? Do you want to switch to a private or alternative school? Do you want to instruct or tutor online? Private schools and online academies may not require you to switch your teaching certificate if you're experienced, working remotely, or the school is privately funded.

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Relocating, either for business, pleasure, or just a new start can be an excitingly difficult and pleasantly demanding time in your life and career. Making sure your experience and professional certificates move with you is the first step in starting new memories and a new life in a new place.

By Megan Patton
November 2016
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