Teaching Credential Certificates and Certification Programs

Individuals without a degree in education must complete teaching certificate programs to sit for certification exams. Students can expect training in pedagogy and teaching models specific to their intended teaching subject and grade level.

Essential Information

Teaching certificate programs are a series of 1-6 courses available at either the undergraduate or graduate level. Undergraduate certificates may be earned concurrently with a bachelor's degree in another field, typically the field the candidate wishes to teach. Graduate-level teaching certificate programs are tailored to suit those with professional degrees (such as a Ph.D. or MFA) who wish to teach college but have no prior training in education. Students can expect to learn skills such as curriculum writing, student psychology, learning models and teaching methods. Most programs also teach ethical skills that address grading practices, behavior management and institutional responsibility.

Prerequisites for admission include a high school diploma, standardized test scores, a personal essay, letters of recommendation and undergraduate program enrollment or graduate degree completion, depending on the participant's intended level of certification. A certification exam is then required.

Certificate in Teaching

Coursework can vary based on the area one wishes to teach. Most programs incorporate pedagogy and curriculum development courses. Classes in these programs include:

  • Group psychology
  • Child development
  • Curriculum planning
  • Assessment and student evaluation
  • Ethics in education
  • Education and technology

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment opportunities for kindergarten/elementary, middle school, secondary, and special education teachers will grow 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is considered an average rate. The median annual salary for teachers at all levels was between $51,640 and $57,200 as of May 2015 (

Certification Information

Teachers must be certified to work for public institutions in the United States. Each state has its own requirements for certification, which are continually revised by state education boards. Those wishing to teach in a particular state should consult that state's education board for specific requirements. They typically require a fixed amount of practical hours in a classroom in addition to holding at least a bachelor's degree. Certification varies according to teaching level (such as secondary school) or subject (such as mathematics).

Students who are interested in teaching but do not have any background in education can pursue an undergraduate or graduate teaching certificate. Coursework varies according to the area of the candidate's interest and intended specialty, and certification is required for employment as a teacher.

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