Top 10 Band Director Certifications
This article provides an overview of the top certifications for band directors, including requirements and benefits.
Published 18 min read
Certifications are important for band directors in the job market because they demonstrate a level of professional competence and expertise. Certification can help demonstrate that a band director has the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to effectively lead a school or community band program. Additionally, certifications may give a band director an edge over other applicants when seeking employment opportunities since they show an employer that the candidate is qualified and committed to their profession. Certifications also provide evidence of continuing education and professional development, which is increasingly valued by employers in the music education field.
The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Band Directors and explain how they can help advance a band director's career.
What are Band Director Certifications?
Band director certification is a professional credential that certifies individuals to teach, lead, and direct school band programs. It is typically earned through the completion of a college-level program in music education or through an advanced certification program offered by a professional organization such as the National Association for Music Education (NAfME).
Having a band director certification can be beneficial for those looking to become more involved in the field of music education. It serves as proof of one's proficiency in teaching, conducting, and managing a successful school band program. Additionally, it can help provide additional recognition from employers and peers within the field of music education. With this certification, potential employers may view you as having more knowledge and experience than someone without it. This can be advantageous when seeking positions at schools or other educational institutions. Furthermore, having a band director certification can open up opportunities for collaborations with other professionals in the music industry.
Overall, obtaining band director certification can prove to be beneficial for anyone looking to get into the field of music education. It is an important step towards credibility and career advancement within this field.
Pro Tip: Make sure to research the band director certification requirements in your state or region before beginning the application process. Certification requirements can vary from state to state, so it's important to make sure you have all of the necessary documents and information ready before beginning the process.
Related: What does a Band Director do?
Top 10 Band Director Certifications
Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Band Directors today.
1. National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Certified Music Educator
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Certified Music Educator (CME) is a professional certification program that recognizes music educators who demonstrate a high level of expertise in the field. The CME is designed to recognize and reward those who have achieved a high level of proficiency in their teaching practice, as well as those who have demonstrated commitment to continuing professional development.
To become certified, applicants must meet certain requirements including: having at least three years of successful teaching experience; completing a minimum of 15 hours of NAfME-approved professional development activities; passing an assessment test; and submitting an application with supporting documents.
The process typically takes between six months and one year to complete, depending on the individual’s schedule and availability. It is important to note that the CME does not expire and can be renewed every five years by completing additional professional development activities.
The cost for the CME program varies depending on the type of membership held by the applicant. For NAfME members, there is no fee for applying or taking the assessment test. Non-members are required to pay a $75 application fee and a $50 assessment fee.
Overall, becoming a Certified Music Educator is an excellent way for music educators to demonstrate their commitment to excellence in teaching music education and receive recognition from their peers.
2. American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA) Certified Teacher
The American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA) Certified Teacher is a professional certification program for music educators that focuses on teaching music through the Orff-Schulwerk approach. This approach combines elements of composition, improvisation, and performance to create an engaging and interactive learning environment for students.
In order to become AOSA Certified, teachers must complete a series of courses and workshops over two years. The courses cover topics such as Orff-Schulwerk methodology, instrument instruction, improvisation, movement and dance, vocal technique, and more. Upon completion of the coursework and workshops, teachers must pass an exam in order to receive their certification.
To get started with the AOSA Certification program, teachers must first register online with AOSA. The cost of registration is $50 plus applicable taxes. After registration is complete, teachers can begin taking the required courses at their own pace. Each course costs between $50-$200 depending on the length and content of the course. Once all courses have been completed successfully, teachers are eligible to take the final certification exam which costs an additional $100 plus applicable taxes.
Overall, it takes approximately two years to complete all requirements for AOSA Certification and costs around $500-$800 in total depending on how quickly you complete your courses.
3. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certified Band Director
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certified Band Director is a certification program that recognizes and rewards excellence in teaching. It is awarded to those who demonstrate the highest levels of professional knowledge, skills, and practice in the field of music education.
To become a NBPTS Certified Band Director, applicants must have at least five years of experience teaching band or orchestra in grades K-12. They must also have completed an approved graduate-level course in music education and hold a valid state teaching license. Additionally, applicants must complete an extensive portfolio review process that includes submitting evidence of their knowledge and practice as well as written reflections on their work.
The entire process typically takes between 18 months and two years to complete. The cost varies depending on the state where the applicant resides; however, most states offer scholarships or grants to help offset the cost of application fees and other related expenses.
4. International Society for Music Education (ISME) Certified Band Director
The International Society for Music Education (ISME) Certified Band Director is a professional certification program designed to recognize highly qualified and experienced music educators who have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in the field of band directing. The certification program is offered by ISME, an international organization dedicated to promoting excellence in music education worldwide.
To become an ISME Certified Band Director, applicants must meet certain criteria, including:
- A minimum of five years’ experience as a band director;
- Completion of at least 30 hours of approved continuing education courses;
- Successful completion of the ISME Certification Examination; and
- Submission of two letters of recommendation from current or former colleagues.
The process typically takes one year to complete, depending on the applicant's individual circumstances. The cost for the certification program varies depending on the country where it is taken and can range from $200 - $500 USD.
5. National Band Association (NBA) Certified Band Director
The National Band Association (NBA) Certified Band Director program is a professional development program that recognizes the highest level of achievement in band directing. It is designed to provide recognition and validation of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are necessary for successful band directing. The program consists of three levels: Certified Band Director Level I, Certified Band Director Level II, and Certified Band Director Level III.
To become a Certified Band Director Level I, an individual must have completed at least three years of successful teaching experience as a band director in a public or private school setting. To become a Certified Band Director Level II, an individual must have completed at least five years of successful teaching experience as a band director in a public or private school setting. To become a Certified Band Director Level III, an individual must have completed at least seven years of successful teaching experience as a band director in a public or private school setting.
In order to obtain certification at any level, applicants must submit evidence that they meet the criteria established by the NBA Certification Board. This includes submitting documentation such as letters of recommendation from colleagues and supervisors, transcripts from college/university courses taken related to music education, copies of performance evaluations conducted by supervisors or peers, and other documents that demonstrate their qualifications for certification.
The cost for each level of certification varies depending on the type of application submitted (e.g., initial application vs renewal). The fee for an initial application ranges from $150-$350 depending on the level being applied for; renewal fees range from $50-$100 per year depending on the level being renewed.
6. College Board Advanced Placement Music Theory Certification
The College Board Advanced Placement Music Theory Certification is a program designed to help students develop the skills and knowledge necessary for success in college-level music theory courses. The certification is offered through the College Board's AP Program, which allows high school students to take college-level courses and earn college credit.
The certification consists of two parts: a multiple-choice exam and a written essay. The multiple-choice exam covers topics such as melody, harmony, rhythm, form, and analysis. The written essay requires students to demonstrate their understanding of music theory by writing an essay on a given topic.
It typically takes about three months to complete the certification process. During this time, students are expected to study for the multiple-choice exam and write their essay. Students can find study materials online or purchase them from the College Board website. Additionally, many schools offer classes that provide instruction on music theory topics covered in the certification process.
To get certified, students must register for the AP Music Theory Exam through their school or directly with the College Board. The cost of registration varies depending on where you register; however, it typically ranges from $90-$125 per exam session (which includes both the multiple choice and written portions).
Once registered, students will receive instructions on how to access their test materials and submit their essays for review by a panel of experts at the College Board. After submitting all required materials, it typically takes about four weeks for results to be released. If successful, students will receive an official certificate from the College Board indicating that they have achieved Advanced Placement Music Theory Certification.
7. Jazz Education Network (JEN) Certified Jazz Educator
The Jazz Education Network (JEN) Certified Jazz Educator program is a professional certification program for jazz educators. It is designed to recognize the highest level of achievement in jazz education, and to provide a benchmark for excellence in jazz teaching.
The program is open to any individual who has achieved a high level of expertise and experience in jazz education. The certification process involves an application, portfolio review, and interview with JEN staff. The application requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in the areas of jazz history, theory, improvisation, arranging, performance techniques, pedagogy, and more.
The certification process typically takes about 6-8 weeks from start to finish. Applicants should plan on spending at least 10-15 hours preparing their portfolio materials and completing the application.
The cost of the JEN Certified Jazz Educator program varies depending on whether or not you are already a member of JEN. For non-members, the fee is $150 USD; for members it is $100 USD.
8. National Council of Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE) Certification
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) is a non-profit organization that provides accreditation to higher education institutions and programs that prepare teachers and other school professionals. NCATE accreditation ensures that teacher preparation programs meet the highest standards of quality, which are based on research-based best practices. NCATE accreditation is recognized by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories as meeting the requirements for licensure or certification in those jurisdictions.
It typically takes two to three years for an institution or program to receive NCATE accreditation. The process begins with a self-study conducted by the institution or program to assess its compliance with NCATE standards. This is followed by an on-site visit from a team of reviewers who evaluate the institution or program's performance against those standards. Finally, the team makes a recommendation to NCATE regarding whether or not the institution or program should be accredited.
To get NCATE certification, an institution must submit an application and pay a fee, which varies depending on the size of the institution or program seeking accreditation. Additionally, institutions must demonstrate compliance with all applicable standards set forth by NCATE in order to receive certification.
The cost of obtaining NCATE certification depends on several factors including size and scope of the institution or program seeking accreditation as well as any additional services required during the review process such as travel expenses for reviewers. Generally speaking, however, it can cost anywhere from $2,000-$10,000 USD for an initial application fee plus additional fees associated with any necessary services required during the review process.
9. American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 47 Certification
The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Local 47 Certification is a certification program that recognizes and rewards the professional achievements of musicians in the Southern California area. It is an honor bestowed upon those who have demonstrated excellence in their musical endeavors, and it serves as a symbol of recognition for the hard work and dedication that goes into becoming a successful musician.
In order to obtain the AFM Local 47 Certification, musicians must meet certain criteria such as having at least five years of professional experience, having performed with other professional musicians, and having completed at least one recording project. Once these criteria are met, the musician must submit an application to AFM Local 47 which includes a resume, references, recordings, and other materials. The application will then be reviewed by an AFM Local 47 committee who will determine if the applicant meets all of the requirements for certification.
The process typically takes several weeks or months depending on how quickly all of the paperwork can be processed. Once approved, there is a one-time fee of $250 USD to receive the certification. This fee covers administrative costs associated with processing applications and issuing certificates.
Overall, obtaining AFM Local 47 Certification is an important step for any serious musician looking to gain recognition in their field. It serves as proof that they have achieved a certain level of excellence in their craft and can help them stand out from other applicants when auditioning for jobs or seeking new opportunities within the music industry.
10. American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA) Certification
The American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA) Certification is a professional certification program designed to recognize the highest standards of excellence in school band directing. The certification process consists of three levels: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.
Level 1 is an online self-assessment that evaluates the director’s knowledge and skills related to band directing. This assessment must be completed before advancing to Levels 2 and 3.
Level 2 is a comprehensive written exam that assesses the director’s knowledge and skills related to music education, rehearsal techniques, conducting, score study, and more. This exam must be passed with a minimum score of 80% in order to advance to Level 3.
Level 3 is an audition conducted by ASBDA representatives who evaluate the director’s ability to lead rehearsals, teach music fundamentals, motivate students, and more. The audition must be passed with a minimum score of 85%.
It typically takes about one year for directors to complete all three levels of certification. To get started on the process, directors should contact their local ASBDA chapter or visit asbda.org for more information on how to register for the certification program.
The cost of ASBDA Certification varies depending on which level you are registering for; however, it typically ranges from $50-$100 per level plus any applicable taxes or fees.
Do You Really Need a Band Director Certificate?
The answer to this question largely depends on your individual situation and goals. If you are looking to pursue a career in music education or performance, then having a band director certificate can be beneficial. It is an indication that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully lead a band and teach music concepts.
A band director certificate can also be useful for those who wish to volunteer at their local high school or college as an instrumental music teacher. Having the proper credentials can help demonstrate your commitment to working with young musicians and may even open up opportunities for future employment.
Finally, if you are just looking for a way to gain additional knowledge about how to lead a band, then obtaining a band director certificate may not be necessary. There are many resources available online that can provide helpful information on leading bands, such as websites, books, articles, and videos. Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities out there for people interested in learning more about leading bands through workshops, seminars, and other forms of professional development.
Ultimately, whether or not you need a band director certificate is up to you and your personal goals. No matter what path you choose, remember that having the right qualifications can help open doors for new opportunities in the field of music education or performance.
Related: Band Director Resume Examples
FAQs About Band Director Certifications
1. What Qualifications Do I Need to Become a Band Director?
A: To become a band director, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree in music education or a related field, as well as certification from your state's Department of Education. You may also need to complete an approved teacher preparation program and pass a background check.
2. How Long Does It Take to Get Certified as a Band Director?
A: The amount of time it takes to become certified varies by state, but most states require that you complete an approved teacher preparation program and pass the necessary exams before you can receive your certification. Depending on the specific requirements in your state, this process can take anywhere from one to three years.
3. What Are the Different Types of Band Director Certifications?
A: The type of certification you will need depends on the level of education you are looking for and the requirements in your state. Generally speaking, there are two types of certifications available: standard and advanced. Standard certifications are typically required for teaching at the elementary or middle school level, while advanced certifications are usually needed for teaching at the high school or college level.
4. Is There Any Financial Assistance Available For Obtaining My Band Director Certification?
A: Yes! Many states offer financial assistance programs to help teachers pay for their certification costs. Additionally, some colleges and universities offer grants or scholarships specifically designed for aspiring teachers who want to become certified as band directors.
5. How Often Do I Need To Renew My Band Director Certification?
A: Generally speaking, band director certifications must be renewed every five years in order to remain valid. Some states may require additional continuing education credits or other requirements in order for renewal to occur, so it is important to check with your local Department of Education for more information about specific requirements in your area.