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Top 11 Classroom Teacher Certifications

This article provides an overview of the top certifications for classroom teachers, including requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 19 min read

Certifications are important for classroom teachers in the job market because they demonstrate a teacher’s level of knowledge and expertise. Certified teachers often have an advantage over non-certified educators when it comes to getting hired, as certifications demonstrate that a teacher has met certain educational standards and is prepared to teach in the classroom. Additionally, some states require that all teachers be certified in order to teach in the public school system. Certifications can also help a teacher stand out from other applicants by showcasing their commitment to education and their willingness to expand their knowledge base.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Classroom Teachers and explain how they can help to enhance their career in the classroom.

What are Classroom Teacher Certifications?

Classroom teacher certification is a professional certification that demonstrates that an individual has met the requirements of the state or jurisdiction in which they plan to teach. This certification is most commonly obtained by completing an approved teacher education program and passing a required exam. The certification usually needs to be renewed periodically, depending on the regulations of the state or jurisdiction.

Having classroom teacher certification can help individuals in many ways, both personally and professionally. It can give them a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from successfully meeting the requirements for teaching in their state or jurisdiction. From a professional standpoint, having this certification can make it easier for individuals to find employment as teachers and may open up job opportunities with better salaries or benefits. Having classroom teacher certification also helps to ensure that those who are teaching have met specific standards related to their knowledge of teaching methods and subject matter, as well as having completed other required training such as safety protocols. Finally, having this certification may also help teachers gain respect from their students, peers, and administrators.

Pro Tip: When pursuing classroom teacher certification, make sure to research the requirements in your state and stay up-to-date on any changes in the regulations. This will ensure that you have all the necessary qualifications to become certified and increase your chances of success.

Related: What does a Classroom Teacher do?

Top 11 Classroom Teacher Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Classroom Teachers today.

1. Early Childhood Education Certification

Early Childhood Education Certification is a credential that demonstrates an individual’s knowledge and expertise in the field of early childhood education. It is typically required for those who want to work with young children in a professional setting, such as daycare centers, preschools, or elementary schools.

The length of time it takes to get Early Childhood Education Certification varies depending on the state and type of program chosen. Most states require completion of a minimum number of hours of coursework, usually between 45 and 90 hours. In some cases, additional courses may be needed to meet state requirements. Additionally, some states may require passing an exam or completing an internship before certification can be granted.

To get Early Childhood Education Certification, individuals must first complete the necessary coursework and/or exams required by their state. Once these requirements are met, they can then apply for certification through their state’s department of education or other certifying agency.

The cost of Early Childhood Education Certification varies depending on the type and length of program chosen. Generally speaking, tuition costs range from $500-$2,000 for most programs. Additionally, there may be fees associated with taking exams or applying for certification.

2. Elementary Education Certification

Elementary Education Certification is a certification that allows an individual to teach grades K-8 in the United States. It is required for those who wish to teach in public schools and some private schools.

How long does it take to get it? The length of time it takes to obtain Elementary Education Certification varies by state, but typically requires at least two years of college coursework and a passing score on a state-administered teacher certification exam. Depending on the state, additional requirements may include student teaching experience, completion of a teacher preparation program, or other professional development activities.

How to get it? To obtain Elementary Education Certification, you must first meet the minimum educational requirements set by your state's Board of Education. This typically includes completing an undergraduate degree in education or a related field from an accredited college or university. Once you have completed your degree, you will need to pass the appropriate teacher certification exam for your state and submit all necessary paperwork and fees.

How much does it cost? The cost of obtaining Elementary Education Certification varies by state, but can range from $200-$500 depending on the specific requirements needed for certification. In addition, there may be additional costs associated with taking the required exams and completing any necessary professional development activities.

3. Special Education Certification

Special Education Certification is a credential that allows individuals to teach special education in the United States. It is required for those who want to teach in public schools and some private schools. Special Education Certification is awarded by individual states, and requirements vary from state to state.

Generally, it takes two to three years of study and experience to become certified as a special education teacher. The process includes completing a bachelor's degree in special education or a related field, passing an exam, obtaining relevant teaching experience, and completing any additional coursework or testing required by the state.

To obtain Special Education Certification, you must first meet the educational requirements set by your state's Department of Education. This typically involves completing an approved program of study at an accredited college or university with a major in special education or a related field such as psychology or sociology. You may also need to pass an exam administered by your state's Department of Education that tests your knowledge of special education topics.

In addition, you must complete any additional coursework or testing required by your state's Department of Education before you can receive certification. This may include courses on classroom management, instructional strategies for students with disabilities, assessment techniques for students with disabilities, and other topics related to special education instruction.

The cost of obtaining Special Education Certification varies depending on the school you attend and the type of certification you are seeking. Generally speaking, it costs between $2,000-$5,000 per year for tuition and fees associated with earning your degree in special education or a related field; however this cost can vary greatly depending on the school you attend and the length of time it takes you to complete all necessary requirements for certification.

4. English as a Second Language (ESL) Certification

English as a Second Language (ESL) Certification is an educational credential that certifies the holder's proficiency in teaching English to non-native speakers. It is usually obtained through a combination of coursework, practicum experience, and testing.

The length of time it takes to get ESL certification varies depending on the program and the individual's level of commitment. Generally, it can take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete all the requirements for certification.

In order to obtain ESL certification, individuals must typically complete a program that includes coursework in linguistics, language instruction methodology, second language acquisition theory, and assessment techniques. They may also have to complete practicum experience in an ESL classroom setting. Finally, they must pass an exam administered by their state or other governing body in order to receive their certification.

The cost of obtaining ESL certification will vary depending on the program chosen and any associated fees such as tuition and exam fees. However, many programs offer financial aid or scholarships that can help offset some of these costs.

5. Reading Specialist Certification

Reading Specialist Certification is a professional certification that recognizes an individual’s expertise in the field of reading instruction and literacy development. The certification is awarded by the International Reading Association (IRA) and is designed to recognize those who have achieved a high level of knowledge and skill in the area of reading instruction.

The process for obtaining Reading Specialist Certification typically takes three to five years, depending on the individual’s prior experience and educational background. To be eligible for certification, applicants must hold a master’s degree in reading or literacy education from an accredited institution, as well as two years of teaching experience with students at least through grade 8. In addition, applicants must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours in courses related to reading instruction, assessment, and research.

In order to obtain Reading Specialist Certification, applicants must submit an application form along with official transcripts from their graduate program, documentation of their teaching experience, evidence of completion of required coursework, and payment of the application fee (currently $100). Once all materials are received by the IRA office, they will be reviewed by an IRA-appointed committee. If approved by the committee, applicants will receive their Reading Specialist Certificate within 6-8 weeks.

The cost for Reading Specialist Certification varies depending on the applicant’s educational background and other factors. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on tuition costs associated with completing required coursework and other fees associated with submitting an application.

6. Mathematics Education Certification

Mathematics Education Certification is a professional certification program that recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of proficiency in teaching mathematics. It is designed to recognize teachers who have demonstrated an advanced knowledge and skill in teaching mathematics, as well as the ability to use research-based instructional strategies and assessments.

The program typically takes two years to complete and consists of coursework, field experience, and a final assessment. The coursework includes topics such as curriculum design, assessment strategies, student learning styles, classroom management techniques, and technology integration. Field experience involves working with students in a classroom setting under the supervision of an experienced mentor teacher. The final assessment requires candidates to demonstrate their mastery of the material by completing a portfolio or taking an exam.

To get Mathematics Education Certification, individuals must meet certain eligibility requirements including having at least three years of successful teaching experience in mathematics at the elementary or secondary level. They must also hold a valid teaching certificate from their state board of education or equivalent agency. Additionally, they must complete all required coursework and field experiences for the certification program.

The cost for Mathematics Education Certification varies depending on the institution offering it; however, most programs cost between $500-$1,000 for tuition and fees.

7. Science Education Certification

Science Education Certification is a professional credential that demonstrates a mastery of knowledge in the field of science education. It is designed to recognize professionals who have achieved a high level of expertise in teaching science to students at all grade levels.

The certification process typically takes between one and two years to complete, depending on the individual's educational background and experience. To become certified, individuals must first complete an approved program in science education from an accredited institution, such as a college or university. This program must include courses in pedagogy, curriculum development, assessment methods, and other topics related to science instruction. Once the program is completed, applicants must pass an examination administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) or another recognized certifying body.

The cost of obtaining Science Education Certification varies depending on the specific requirements for each program and certifying body. Generally speaking, applicants should expect to pay several hundred dollars for application fees and exam costs. In addition, some programs may also require additional coursework or workshops that may add additional costs.

Once certified, individuals can demonstrate their expertise by displaying their credentials on resumes and job applications. They may also be eligible for higher salaries or promotions within their current positions due to their advanced knowledge in the field of science education.

8. Social Studies Education Certification

Social Studies Education Certification is a specialized certification program that allows individuals to teach social studies in public schools. It is typically offered by state departments of education and requires completion of an approved teacher preparation program. The length of time it takes to obtain Social Studies Education Certification varies depending on the requirements of the individual state, but typically takes two years or more.

To get Social Studies Education Certification, individuals must first complete a bachelor’s degree in social studies or a related field from an accredited college or university. After completing the degree, students must then complete an approved teacher preparation program and pass all required exams. Depending on the state, this could include passing a subject-area test for social studies as well as completing student teaching requirements. Once all requirements are met, individuals can then apply for certification through their state department of education and receive their certificate upon approval.

The cost of obtaining Social Studies Education Certification varies depending on the individual state and may include fees for tuition, textbooks, exams and other materials needed for the program.

9. Physical Education Teacher Certification

Physical Education Teacher Certification is a credential that certifies an individual to teach physical education in public or private schools. It is typically obtained through a combination of coursework, experience, and exams.

It typically takes two to four years to complete the requirements for certification. The first step is typically completing a bachelor’s degree in physical education, health education, kinesiology, or a related field from an accredited college or university. After this, individuals must complete student teaching experiences and pass required exams. Depending on the state where the individual resides, additional requirements may be necessary such as completion of a master’s degree program in physical education or passing additional tests.

The cost of obtaining certification varies depending on the state and school district where it is being pursued. Generally speaking, individuals can expect to pay for tuition for their bachelor’s degree program and any additional courses they need to take for certification. They may also have to pay fees associated with taking and passing required exams as well as any other costs associated with student teaching experiences.

In some cases, financial aid may be available to help offset the cost of obtaining certification. Additionally, some states offer loan forgiveness programs for those who pursue teaching careers in certain areas such as physical education or special education.

10. Technology Integration Specialist Certification

Technology Integration Specialist Certification is a professional certification program designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively integrate technology into educational settings. It is offered by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

The certification program consists of two parts: a self-paced online course, and an in-person assessment. The online course takes approximately 8-10 hours to complete, and covers topics such as educational technology integration, instructional design, and digital citizenship. The in-person assessment is a three-hour exam that tests the candidate’s knowledge of the material covered in the online course.

To get certified as a Technology Integration Specialist, you must first complete the online course and pass the associated assessment. Then, you must register for and pass the three-hour exam. Once you have passed both components of the certification process, you will receive your official ISTE Technology Integration Specialist Certification.

The cost of obtaining this certification varies depending on where you take it; however, it typically ranges from $300-$500 USD for both parts of the program.

11. Music Education Teacher Certification

Music Education Teacher Certification is a credential that certifies an individual to teach music in a school setting. It is required for anyone who wishes to teach music in public or private schools, as well as other educational institutions. The certification process requires the completion of an accredited program and passing a series of tests.

The length of time it takes to get certified varies depending on the program chosen and the individual’s prior experience. Generally, it takes between one and two years to complete the requirements for certification.

In order to get certified, individuals must first complete an accredited program in music education. This typically includes courses in music theory, history, performance techniques, pedagogy, and more. After completing the program, applicants must pass a series of tests administered by their state's department of education or other governing body. These tests may include written exams as well as practical demonstrations of teaching skills.

The cost of getting certified depends on the program chosen and any additional fees associated with taking the tests. Generally speaking, most programs cost between $2,000 and $4,000 for tuition alone; however, this can vary significantly depending on the institution chosen and any additional fees associated with taking the tests.

Do You Really Need a Classroom Teacher Certificate?

Yes, you do need a classroom teacher certificate in order to become a certified teacher. A classroom teacher certificate is required in order to teach in most public and private schools. It is also necessary for teaching positions at universities and colleges. The certification process includes completing a set of courses, passing exams, and completing a student-teaching internship.

The classroom teacher certificate will provide the knowledge and skills needed for successful teaching. It will also demonstrate that the teacher has met the requirements established by their state or school district for being certified as an educator. With this certification, teachers can be assured that they are qualified to teach in their chosen subject area and grade level.

Having a classroom teacher certificate means that teachers have gone through the necessary training to understand how students learn and how to create meaningful learning experiences for their students. They have also learned how to create a safe learning environment where all students feel respected and valued. This type of training is invaluable when it comes to developing strong relationships with students, colleagues, administrators, parents, and members of the community.

In addition, having a classroom teacher certificate means that teachers can apply for higher paying jobs or promotions within their respective school districts or states. It also allows them to pursue additional educational opportunities such as advanced degrees or certifications so they can continue improving their professional development throughout their career.

Overall, having a classroom teacher certificate is essential if you want to become an effective educator who knows how to build relationships with students while fostering an engaging learning environment.

Related: Classroom Teacher Resume Examples

FAQs About Classroom Teacher Certifications

1. What is a classroom teacher certification?

Answer: A classroom teacher certification is a document that verifies an individual has met the educational requirements and passed the necessary tests to become a certified teacher in the state or jurisdiction where they are located.

2. How do I obtain a classroom teacher certification?

Answer: Each state or jurisdiction has their own requirements for obtaining a classroom teacher certification, which typically include completing an accredited degree program in education, passing any required exams, and submitting an application with the relevant authority.

3. How long is a classroom teacher certification valid?

Answer: The length of validity for a classroom teacher certification varies by state or jurisdiction; however, most require regular renewal every few years to ensure that teachers stay up-to-date on their knowledge and skills.

4. Are there different types of classroom teacher certifications?

Answer: Yes, depending on the grade level and subject area you wish to teach, there are different types of certifications available. For example, elementary school teachers may need to obtain one type of certification, while high school teachers may need another type of certification.

5. Are there any additional qualifications needed for certain types of classroom teaching positions?

Answer: Yes, some states or jurisdictions may require additional qualifications for certain teaching positions such as special education or bilingual education. Additionally, some employers may require specific degrees or certifications beyond what is required by the state or jurisdiction in order to be considered for certain positions.