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Top 10 Elementary Music Teacher Certifications

This article will provide an overview of the top certifications for elementary music teachers, including requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for elementary music teachers in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and knowledge, and can set them apart from other candidates. Employers are more likely to hire someone with certifications, as it shows that the teacher has gone through additional training and is committed to providing a high-quality education for their students. Certifications also provide employers with the assurance that the teacher is knowledgeable in the area of music education, and is up-to-date on current trends and best practices. Additionally, certifications can open doors to more opportunities in terms of teaching jobs or even furthering one’s career within a school district.

This article reviews and explains the value of some of the top certifications for Elementary Music Teachers, providing insight into how they can contribute to an elementary music teacher's career.

What are Elementary Music Teacher Certifications?

Elementary music teacher certification is a form of recognition for teachers who have achieved a certain level of competency in teaching elementary school music. It is intended to demonstrate that the teacher has the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to effectively teach music at the elementary level. Certification is typically awarded by either a state or national organization and may require passing an exam or completing a set of courses.

Having an elementary music teacher certification can help teachers become more competitive in the job market by providing them with credentials that prove their qualifications. It can also provide teachers with professional development opportunities and access to resources that can help them stay current on best practices and new trends in elementary music education. Additionally, having certification may allow teachers to become eligible for career advancement opportunities such as promotions or additional pay. Finally, having certification can give teachers increased confidence in their teaching ability, allowing them to better serve their students’ needs and build stronger relationships with their students and colleagues.

Pro Tip: When preparing for elementary music teacher certification, make sure you are familiar with the National Core Arts Standards and can articulate how you will meet them in your classroom.

Related: What does an Elementary Music Teacher do?

Top 10 Elementary Music Teacher Certifications

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

1. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certified Music Teacher

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certified Music Teacher is a certification program that recognizes music teachers who demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills in teaching music. It is the highest level of recognition available to music educators, and it signifies that the teacher has met rigorous standards of excellence in their field.

To become a NBPTS Certified Music Teacher, one must complete an application process that typically takes up to three years. The process includes submitting a portfolio with evidence of teaching experience, completing an assessment exam, and participating in a professional development course. Once the application is approved, the teacher will receive their certification.

The cost of becoming NBPTS Certified Music Teacher varies depending on the state or district where you are applying. Generally speaking, it can range from $500-$2,000 for the entire process.

2. National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Certified Music Teacher

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Certified Music Teacher is a certification program designed to recognize teachers who have met the highest standards in music education. The certification is awarded to those who demonstrate a mastery of the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to effectively teach music in any setting.

To become certified, applicants must meet certain criteria including having a minimum of three years of teaching experience in music education, successful completion of an approved course of study in music education, and passing scores on the NAfME Music Teacher Certification Exam.

The process typically takes two years to complete and includes completing an approved course of study in music education, passing the NAfME Music Teacher Certification Exam, and submitting all required documentation. The cost for the certification varies depending on which courses are taken and how long it takes to complete them. Generally speaking, the cost ranges from $200-$500 USD.

3. Orff-Schulwerk Certification

Orff-Schulwerk Certification is a program designed to prepare music educators to teach using the Orff-Schulwerk approach. This approach focuses on teaching music through movement, improvisation, and composition. It was developed by Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman in the 1920s in Germany.

The certification process typically takes two years to complete and includes both online and in-person components. The online component consists of taking courses related to the Orff-Schulwerk approach, such as music theory, improvisation techniques, and movement activities. The in-person component consists of attending workshops or seminars that focus on applying the Orff-Schulwerk approach in the classroom.

To get certified, applicants must have a bachelor's degree in music education or equivalent experience as well as at least two years of teaching experience. Applicants must also pass an exam administered by the American Orff Schulwerk Association (AOSA). The cost for certification varies depending on which level of certification you are pursuing (Level I or Level II) and which organization you are getting certified through (AOSA or another). Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500-$2000 USD to get certified.

4. Kodály Certification

Kodály Certification is an internationally recognized certification program for music educators. It is based on the philosophy of Hungarian composer and educator Zoltán Kodály, who believed that all children should have access to quality music education. The goal of the program is to provide teachers with a comprehensive understanding of music theory and pedagogy in order to create effective learning environments for their students.

The Kodály Certification program typically takes two years to complete and consists of four levels: Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced I, and Advanced II. Each level requires a minimum number of course hours and includes topics such as solfège singing, rhythmic studies, analysis, improvisation, composition, conducting, and teaching methodology.

To obtain Kodály Certification, individuals must first complete the required coursework from an accredited institution or organization. After completing all four levels of the program, individuals must then submit an application for certification to the International Kodály Society (IKS). Once approved by IKS, applicants will receive their official Kodály Certificate.

The cost of obtaining Kodály Certification varies depending on where you take your courses and how long it takes you to complete them. Generally speaking, however, it can cost anywhere between $1,000-$2,500 USD per year for tuition alone.

5. Dalcroze Eurhythmics Certification

Dalcroze Eurhythmics Certification is a professional certification program designed to teach music educators the principles of Dalcroze Eurhythmics. This method was developed by Swiss composer and educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze in the early 20th century and is based on the idea that music should be experienced through physical movement. The certification program is offered by the American Society of Dalcroze Eurhythmics (ASDE) and provides training in rhythm, improvisation, solfege, and other musical concepts.

The certification process typically takes two years to complete, with students taking classes online or in person at an ASDE-certified school. The cost of the program varies depending on the school chosen for training, but it typically ranges from $1,500-$3,000 for both years of instruction. In order to receive certification, students must complete all required courses as well as a final project demonstrating their mastery of Dalcroze Eurhythmics principles. Upon completion of the program, students are awarded a Certificate in Dalcroze Eurhythmics from ASDE.

6. Music Learning Theory Certification

Music Learning Theory Certification (MLT) is a professional certification designed to recognize and validate the knowledge and skills of music educators who have successfully completed an approved course of study in Music Learning Theory. The certification is offered by the Gordon Institute for Music Learning, a research-based organization dedicated to improving music education through the application of scientific principles.

The MLT certification requires completion of a two-year online course that consists of four modules: Foundations, Developmental Perspectives, Assessment and Instructional Strategies, and Professionalism. Each module must be completed with a passing grade in order to receive the certification. The program also includes an internship or practicum experience that must be completed within two years of starting the program.

The cost for the MLT certification program varies depending on the institution offering it; however, most programs range from $1,500 to $2,500. It typically takes two years to complete all requirements for the certification. To get started on your path towards earning your MLT certification, you will need to find an accredited institution that offers this program and then apply for admission into their program. Once accepted into the program, you will need to complete all required courses as well as any additional requirements such as internships or practicums in order to receive your MLT certification.

7. Suzuki Method Certification

The Suzuki Method is a music teaching method developed by the late Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, a Japanese educator and violinist. It is based on the idea that all children can learn to play an instrument with the same level of skill as any other child, regardless of their natural talent or ability. The method uses a combination of parental involvement, listening to recordings, and repetition in order to teach students how to play an instrument.

It typically takes two years to complete the Suzuki Method Certification program. During this time, students will learn the basics of playing their chosen instrument (usually either violin or cello) and develop their musical skills through practice and performance. To get certified, students must attend classes taught by a qualified instructor who has completed the Suzuki Teacher Training Program. They must also participate in regular recitals and perform at least one piece from the Suzuki repertoire each year.

The cost of certification varies depending on where you live and which teacher you choose for instruction. In general, it can range anywhere from $500-$2000 USD for the entire program. Additionally, some teachers may charge extra for materials such as books or CDs used in lessons.

Overall, becoming certified in the Suzuki Method is an excellent way for aspiring musicians to gain an understanding of music theory and technique while developing their own unique style of playing an instrument.

8. Gordon Institute for Music Learning Certification

The Gordon Institute for Music Learning (GIML) is an international certification program that provides professional development and recognition for music educators. It is based on the philosophy of Edwin E. Gordon, a pioneer in the field of music education research. The GIML Certification Program is designed to recognize those who have achieved a high level of expertise in teaching music and to encourage further professional development in the field.

The GIML Certification Program consists of two parts: a written examination and a performance assessment. The written exam covers topics such as pedagogy, research, theory, and history. The performance assessment consists of a live demonstration of teaching techniques and strategies with students or teachers. Both components must be completed within one year in order to receive certification.

In order to become certified by the GIML, applicants must first complete an online application form and submit it along with their resume and any other relevant materials to the GIML office. Once accepted into the program, applicants will be required to pay an application fee as well as any associated fees for taking the written exam or performance assessment.

The cost for the entire program varies depending on the country you are located in but typically ranges from $500-1000 USD. This includes all fees associated with taking both exams as well as any additional materials needed for study purposes (e.g., textbooks).

Once applicants have successfully passed both exams, they will receive their official GIML Certification which is valid for three years before needing to be renewed by completing additional continuing education courses or retaking either exam if necessary.

9. Yamaha Music Education System (YMES) Certification

Yamaha Music Education System (YMES) Certification is a program offered by Yamaha Corporation of America that provides teachers and students with the skills, knowledge, and resources to become successful music educators. The program focuses on teaching methods, curriculum development, and performance techniques.

The YMES certification process takes approximately two years to complete. It consists of three levels: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each level requires completion of specific courses and assignments as well as passing an exam at the end of each level.

To get started in the YMES certification process, you must first register with Yamaha Corporation of America for a YMES account. Once registered, you will be able to access all the materials needed to begin your studies. You will also be given access to online forums where you can ask questions and receive feedback from other certified instructors.

The cost of the YMES certification varies depending on the level you are pursuing. The Basic Level costs $200 USD; the Intermediate Level costs $400 USD; and the Advanced Level costs $600 USD. Additionally, there is a one-time fee for registering for a YMES account which is currently $50 USD.

10. National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Certified Voice Teacher

The National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Certified Voice Teacher program is a professional certification program that recognizes teachers who have achieved a high level of teaching excellence. The program is designed to recognize and promote the highest standards of vocal instruction, and to ensure that students receive quality instruction from qualified teachers.

It takes approximately two years to complete the NATS Certified Voice Teacher program. To become certified, applicants must meet certain educational requirements, pass an exam, and submit a portfolio demonstrating their teaching ability and experience. Applicants must also demonstrate their commitment to continuing education by completing at least 10 hours of approved continuing education courses every three years after becoming certified.

In order to get certified as a NATS Certified Voice Teacher, applicants must first join the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). Membership fees vary depending on the type of membership chosen; however, memberships typically range from $50 - $100 per year. After joining NATS, applicants can then submit an application for the certification program. The application fee is $125 for non-members and $75 for members.

Once accepted into the program, applicants must complete all necessary coursework and exams before submitting their final portfolio for review by a panel of experts in vocal instruction. If accepted, applicants will be awarded certification as a NATS Certified Voice Teacher and may use this designation when advertising or marketing their services as a voice teacher.

Do You Really Need a Elementary Music Teacher Certificate?

Whether or not you need an elementary music teacher certificate depends on the school district and state in which you live. In some states, such as New York, it is required that teachers have a valid certification in order to teach music at the elementary level. Other states may not require certification but may prefer applicants who have one.

An elementary music teacher certificate can be beneficial in several ways. For one, it shows that you have a strong understanding of music theory and pedagogy. It also demonstrates that you are knowledgeable about curriculum development and classroom management techniques appropriate for teaching young students. Additionally, having a valid certificate can make you more competitive when applying for jobs or promotions within the school district.

Although it is possible to teach elementary music without a certification, it is highly recommended that those pursuing such a career obtain one. This will give them the best chance at success and ensure they are properly prepared to provide their students with quality instruction.

Related: Elementary Music Teacher Resume Examples

FAQs About Elementary Music Teacher Certifications

1. What qualifications do I need to become an elementary music teacher?

Answer: To become an elementary music teacher, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in music education or a related field, and certification from your state’s department of education. You may also need to pass a background check and complete any additional requirements as set forth by the school district or state.

2. How long does it take to get certified as an elementary music teacher?

Answer: The amount of time it takes to become certified depends on the regulations of your state or school district, but the process usually takes between six months to a year.

3. Where can I find resources to help me prepare for my certification exam?

Answer: There are numerous online and in-person resources available that can help you prepare for your certification exam. Examples include practice tests, study guides, and tutoring services. Additionally, many states also provide free preparation materials for their exams.

4. What continuing education is required for me to maintain my certification?

Answer: Most states require that teachers participate in continuing education activities in order to maintain their certifications. Examples include attending conferences, completing online courses, participating in professional development workshops, and submitting proof of ongoing professional growth activities such as research projects or publications.

5. Are there any other certifications I should consider obtaining as an elementary music teacher?

Answer: Depending on the type of position you are seeking and the requirements of the school district where you will be working, there may be other certifications that could benefit you as an elementary music teacher. Some examples include teaching English as a second language (ESL) certification, special education certification, or National Board Certification (NBC).