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Top 10 Educator Certifications

This article explores the various certifications available to educators and provides guidance on which certifications may be most beneficial for different career paths.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for educators in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and knowledge that is valued by employers. Certifications show that an educator has taken the time to gain specialized skills in their field and has met certain standards of excellence. Additionally, certifications can make an educator more competitive in the job market, as employers often look for candidates with advanced qualifications. Lastly, certifications can help educators stay up-to-date on trends and best practices in the education field, ensuring they remain current and knowledgeable about new developments.

The purpose of this article is to review the top certifications for Educators and explain how they can benefit an educator's career.

What are Educator Certifications?

Educator certification is a process that verifies an individual’s qualifications to teach in a particular subject or grade level. It is typically obtained through a combination of college coursework and state-mandated tests. Certification helps ensure that teachers are knowledgeable about the subjects and grade levels they are teaching, as well as demonstrating their professional skills such as classroom management and effective instruction.

With certification, teachers can demonstrate their commitment to their profession by providing evidence of their educational preparation, knowledge, and skills. As such, certified educators often have access to more job opportunities than those without certification. Additionally, research suggests that certified teachers are better prepared to meet the needs of their students and have higher student achievement outcomes than non-certified teachers. Finally, many states offer salary bonuses for educators who obtain certification in certain areas or become National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs). Thus, educator certification can be beneficial for both educators and the students they serve.

Pro Tip: Make sure to research the requirements for educator certification in your state before beginning the process. Different states have different regulations and requirements, so it is important to know what is expected of you before starting the process.

Related: What does an Educator do?

Top 10 Educator Certifications

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

1. National Board Certification

National Board Certification is a voluntary process that allows teachers to demonstrate advanced teaching knowledge and skills. It is an advanced credential that is earned by teachers who have met rigorous standards set by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). The certification process includes submitting evidence of teaching practice, such as student work samples, lesson plans, and videotapes, and passing a series of assessments.

The certification process typically takes two to three years to complete. The first step is to register with the NBPTS and pay the registration fee. Once registered, the teacher will create an account and begin completing components of the certification process. This includes creating a portfolio of evidence demonstrating their teaching practices, taking written assessments, and participating in video-recorded interviews with peers or mentors.

Once all components are completed, the teacher will submit their materials for review by NBPTS assessors. If all requirements are met, the teacher will receive their National Board Certification.

The cost of National Board Certification varies depending on the state in which you live; however, it typically costs around $2,500-$3,000 USD for all components of the certification process.

2. Microsoft Certified Educator

Microsoft Certified Educator (MCE) is a professional certification program designed to recognize and validate the skills of educators in using Microsoft technologies in their teaching. The MCE credential is awarded to teachers who demonstrate mastery of the Microsoft Office suite, as well as other Microsoft products used in education.

The MCE certification process includes an online assessment and a hands-on practical exam. To earn the MCE certification, candidates must pass both components with a score of 80% or higher. The online assessment typically takes around two hours to complete, while the practical exam can take up to four hours depending on the complexity of the tasks.

To get started on your journey towards becoming a Microsoft Certified Educator, you will need to register for an account on the Microsoft Learning platform. Once registered, you can access study materials and practice exams to prepare for your assessment and practical exam. After passing both components with a score of 80% or higher, you will be awarded your MCE certification.

The cost of obtaining your MCE certification varies depending on your region and country, but typically costs between $100-$200 USD for each component (assessment and practical exam).

3. Google Certified Educator Level 1 & 2

Google Certified Educator Level 1 & 2 is a certification program designed to help educators develop their skills and knowledge in using Google for Education tools. The program consists of two levels: Level 1 and Level 2.

Level 1 focuses on basic Google tools such as Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs and Sites. It also covers topics such as creating documents, managing files and folders, collaborating with others, and using Chrome extensions. To become a Google Certified Educator Level 1, you must complete the online coursework within 6 months of enrollment. You will also need to pass the certification exam with a score of 80% or higher.

Level 2 focuses on advanced topics such as using Google Classroom, G Suite for Education tools (e.g., Sheets, Slides, Forms), Chromebooks in the classroom, and more. To become a Google Certified Educator Level 2, you must complete the online coursework within 12 months of enrollment. You will also need to pass the certification exam with a score of 80% or higher.

The cost for both levels is $50 USD per level plus applicable taxes.

4. Apple Teacher

Apple Teacher is a free professional learning program designed to help educators get the most out of Apple technology in their classrooms. It takes about 8 hours to complete the program, which includes interactive activities and assessments that guide educators through creating projects with iPad and Mac, coding with Swift Playgrounds, and using built-in apps on Apple devices for teaching and learning. The program is available online at no cost. Educators can access it by signing up with their Apple ID or their school's Single Sign-On account. Upon successful completion of the program, educators will receive an Apple Teacher badge and certificate.

5. International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Certification

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Certification is a professional certification program designed to recognize educators who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to effectively integrate technology into their teaching practice. The ISTE Certification is based on the ISTE Standards for Educators and provides educators with an opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of the standards through a rigorous assessment process.

It takes approximately 6-12 months to complete the ISTE Certification process. During this time, educators will need to participate in online learning activities, submit artifacts that demonstrate their mastery of the standards, and pass an online assessment. Once all requirements are met, they can be awarded the ISTE Certification credential.

To get started on the ISTE Certification process, educators should first become familiar with the ISTE Standards for Educators by reading through them and exploring related resources. They should then create an account on the ISTE website and register for a certification course or program. After registering for a course or program, they will be required to complete various activities such as completing online modules, submitting artifacts that demonstrate their mastery of the standards, and passing an online assessment. Once all requirements are met, they can be awarded the ISTE Certification credential.

The cost of obtaining an ISTE Certification varies depending on which course or program you choose to pursue. Generally speaking, courses range from $199-$499 USD while programs range from $999-$1,299 USD.

6. National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Certification

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) is a non-profit organization that provides accreditation to teacher education programs at the postsecondary level. NCATE accreditation is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as an indication of quality in teacher preparation programs.

It typically takes up to two years for a program to become accredited by NCATE, depending on the complexity of the program and any issues that may arise during the review process. Programs must submit a self-study report, which includes evidence of meeting NCATE standards, and then undergo an on-site review from a team of evaluators. Once all requirements are met, the program can be granted accreditation status for five years before it must be renewed.

To get NCATE certification, potential candidates should contact their college or university’s Office of Teacher Education to find out if their institution offers an accredited program. If so, they should follow the application process outlined by their school and complete all required coursework and assessments in order to qualify for certification.

The cost of getting NCATE certification varies depending on individual schools and programs; however, most colleges and universities charge tuition fees based on credit hours or course fees associated with specific classes needed to obtain certification.

7. Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification

Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification is a globally recognized certification that validates an individual's expertise in the field of project management. It is awarded by the Project Management Institute (PMI), a non-profit professional organization dedicated to advancing the practice, science, and profession of project management.

The PMP certification requires individuals to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in leading and directing projects. To be eligible for the PMP certification, applicants must have either a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent) with at least five years of project management experience and 7,500 hours leading and directing projects; or a four-year degree with at least three years of project management experience and 4,500 hours leading and directing projects.

It typically takes between three to six months to prepare for the PMP exam depending on the individual’s background in project management. The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions covering topics such as scope, cost, quality, communication, risk management, procurement, integration management, stakeholder engagement and more.

To get certified as a PMP you will need to complete an application process which includes providing proof of your education level and work experience in project management. You will also need to pay a fee for the application process which varies depending on whether you are an existing PMI member or not. Once your application has been approved you can then register for the exam which costs $405 if you are an existing PMI member or $555 if you are not. After passing the exam you will then receive your official PMP certification from PMI.

8. International Baccalaureate (IB) Teaching Certificate

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Teaching Certificate is a professional qualification that allows teachers to teach the IB curriculum in schools around the world. The certificate is awarded by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) and is recognized by many educational institutions as an indication of quality teaching.

The certification process typically takes between two and four years to complete, depending on the teacher’s experience level. To obtain the certificate, teachers must complete a series of workshops, seminars, and examinations designed to test their knowledge of the IB curriculum and pedagogy. Additionally, teachers must have at least three years of teaching experience in an IB school or program before they can be certified.

The cost of obtaining an IB Teaching Certificate varies depending on where you are located and how long it takes for you to complete all of the necessary requirements. Generally speaking, however, it can cost anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 USD to become certified. This cost includes fees for workshops, seminars, examinations and other materials needed for certification.

In addition to completing the certification process, teachers must also maintain their certification by participating in regular professional development activities such as attending conferences or taking additional courses related to IB education.

9. National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Early Childhood Education Credential

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Early Childhood Education Credential is a professional credential that recognizes individuals who have achieved a high level of knowledge and competency in early childhood education. It is designed to recognize those who are committed to providing quality care and education for young children, from birth through age 8.

The NAEYC Early Childhood Education Credential requires completion of an approved program in early childhood education or related field, at least three years of experience working with young children, and passing scores on the NAEYC Professional Knowledge Assessment. The assessment consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as child development, teaching strategies, family engagement, health and safety, and professionalism.

It typically takes about two years to complete all the requirements for the NAEYC Early Childhood Education Credential. The first step is to complete an approved program in early childhood education or related field. This can be done at a college or university or through an online program. Once you have completed your program, you will need to gain three years of experience working with young children in an educational setting. After that, you can take the NAEYC Professional Knowledge Assessment.

The cost of obtaining the NAEYC Early Childhood Education Credential varies depending on where you take your coursework and other factors such as whether you are taking it online or in person. Generally speaking, it will cost anywhere from $500 to $2,000 depending on your individual circumstances.

10. Reading Specialist Certification

Reading Specialist Certification is a professional certification that is designed to prepare individuals to become reading specialists, or literacy professionals. Reading Specialists are educators who specialize in the teaching of reading and writing skills. They work with students of all ages, from pre-K through college, to help them develop the skills they need to be successful readers and writers.

In order to become a certified Reading Specialist, one must complete a program of study approved by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). This program typically includes coursework in language development, phonemic awareness, reading comprehension strategies, and assessment of literacy skills. Depending on the school or university offering the program, it may take anywhere from 1-2 years to complete.

In addition to completing an accredited program of study, individuals must also pass an exam administered by the IDA in order to receive their certification. The cost of taking this exam varies depending on location but can range from $200-$400 USD.

Once an individual has successfully completed their program of study and passed the IDA exam, they will receive their Reading Specialist Certification and be eligible for employment as a literacy specialist in educational settings.

Do You Really Need a Educator Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual and their particular career goals. For those individuals who would like to pursue a career in education, then an educator certificate can be extremely beneficial. This certificate shows employers that you have received training and have been certified as a qualified teacher. It also indicates that you are knowledgeable about the subject matter you will be teaching and have the skills necessary to do so successfully.

For those individuals who are not interested in pursuing a career in education, an educator certificate may still be beneficial. Many employers consider certification when making hiring decisions, as it is seen as an indication of your commitment to learning and professional development. Furthermore, having an educator certificate can provide additional opportunities for advancement within your organization or even open new doors for employment elsewhere.

In conclusion, whether or not you need an educator certificate depends on your individual goals and objectives. However, having one may provide you with more job prospects, greater potential for success in your chosen field, and increased confidence in the classroom setting.

Related: Educator Resume Examples

FAQs About Educator Certifications

1. What is an Educator Certification?

Answer: An educator certification is a credential that validates that an individual has met the relevant education and experience requirements to teach in a particular subject or grade level.

2. How do I apply for Educator Certification?

Answer: The process for applying for educator certification varies by state and jurisdiction, but typically involves completing an application, passing relevant exams, and providing evidence of coursework and/or professional experience.

3. What are the costs associated with obtaining Educator Certification?

Answer: Costs vary by state and jurisdiction, but typically include exam fees, application fees, and possibly additional coursework fees.

4. Is there any way to expedite the process of obtaining Educator Certification?

Answer: Some states offer alternative pathways to certification such as “fast-track” or “accelerated” programs which may allow individuals to obtain their certification more quickly than through traditional routes.

5. What are the benefits of obtaining Educator Certification?

Answer: Obtaining educator certification can provide access to higher paying jobs, increased job security, a broader range of teaching opportunities, and greater respect from peers in the education field.