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Top 11 Elementary School Teacher Certifications

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the most popular certifications for elementary school teachers.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 20 min read

Certifications are important for an elementary school teacher in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and knowledge that employers look for when hiring teachers. Certifications can provide evidence of a teacher’s commitment to professional development, their ability to work with students of all ages and backgrounds, as well as their mastery of specific teaching methodologies. In addition, certifications can also help teachers stand out from other applicants by showing that they have gone beyond the minimum requirements for teaching at the elementary level. Finally, many states and districts require or prefer certain certifications in order to be hired as an elementary school teacher, making them a necessity in some cases.

The purpose of this article is to review and explain how top certifications for Elementary School Teachers can contribute to an elementary school teacher's career.

What are Elementary School Teacher Certifications?

Elementary school teacher certification is a type of professional qualification that allows an individual to teach elementary school-aged children. This certification is typically achieved by completing a state-approved program of study and passing an examination. It can be obtained at the undergraduate or graduate level, depending on the requirements of the state in which an individual wishes to teach. With this certification, teachers are able to work in public and private schools, as well as in other educational settings such as daycare centers and after-school programs.

Having this certification provides teachers with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively instruct young students in basic academic subjects such as math, reading, writing, science, social studies, and more. It also equips them with important teaching strategies for working with children from diverse backgrounds. Elementary school teacher certification helps ensure that teachers have the necessary qualifications for meeting their students' educational needs and providing quality instruction. Additionally, it can provide access to higher salaries and increased job security in certain areas.

Pro Tip: Make sure to keep up-to-date with the latest certification requirements and standards in your state. Each state has different regulations and requirements for elementary school teachers, so it's important to stay informed and understand what is required of you.

Related: What does an Elementary School Teacher do?

Top 11 Elementary School Teacher Certifications

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

1. State Teaching Certification

State teaching certification is a process that allows an individual to become a certified teacher in the state they live in. It is required for anyone who wishes to teach in public schools, and some private schools may also require it.

The process of obtaining state teaching certification varies from state to state, but generally involves completing a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field, passing any required exams or tests, and completing an approved teacher preparation program. Depending on the state, additional requirements may include student teaching experience and/or completing certain courses. In addition, some states may require applicants to pass background checks before being certified.

The length of time it takes to obtain state teaching certification can vary depending on the individual's educational background and the requirements of their chosen state. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from one year to several years to complete all of the necessary steps for certification.

To get started with the process of obtaining state teaching certification, individuals should first contact their local school district or state department of education to find out what specific requirements are needed for their particular area. They should also research any available online resources that provide information about becoming a certified teacher in their state. Additionally, individuals should consider contacting universities or colleges that offer accredited teacher preparation programs so they can learn more about how long it will take them to complete all necessary steps for certification.

The cost of obtaining state teaching certification depends on the individual's educational background and the requirements of their chosen state. Generally speaking, tuition costs for teacher preparation programs range from several hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars depending on the program and institution chosen by the applicant. In addition, there may be other fees associated with taking exams or tests required by the state as well as any other costs associated with obtaining background checks or other certifications required by some states.

2. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certification is a voluntary certification program that recognizes teachers who demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills, and practices in their profession. It is the highest credential available to teachers in the United States and is recognized by many states as an indication of quality teaching.

In order to receive NBPTS certification, teachers must meet rigorous standards set forth by the NBPTS. This includes completing a comprehensive application, submitting evidence of teaching practice, passing an assessment of professional knowledge, and participating in a performance-based assessment. The entire process can take up to three years to complete.

To get started on the path to becoming NBPTS certified, teachers must first submit an application and pay the associated fee. The current fee for applying to become certified is $2,500. After submitting their application, teachers will be required to complete a series of assessments designed to evaluate their knowledge and skills as a teacher. These assessments include written tests as well as performance-based tasks such as creating lesson plans or giving presentations.

Once all assessments have been completed successfully, candidates will need to submit evidence of their teaching practice over the past three years. This includes documents such as lesson plans, student work samples, and other artifacts that demonstrate effective teaching practices. Once this evidence has been reviewed by NBPTS staff members, candidates will be notified if they have been awarded certification or not.

Overall, obtaining NBPTS Certification can be a lengthy process but it is also one that can provide great benefits for those who are successful in achieving it. Not only does this certification indicate that teachers have achieved a high level of expertise in their field but it also provides them with increased job opportunities and recognition from peers and administrators alike.

3. English as a Second Language (ESL) Certification

English as a Second Language (ESL) Certification is a professional credential that demonstrates a person’s ability to teach English to non-native speakers. It is typically offered by universities and language schools, and is designed to help teachers gain the skills and knowledge needed to effectively teach English as a second language.

The length of time it takes to get ESL Certification varies depending on the program chosen. Generally, most programs require at least one year of study, although some may require more or less time. Additionally, some programs may offer online courses or accelerated options for those who want to complete their certification in less time.

To get ESL Certification, you must first decide which program you want to pursue and then enroll in the program. You will need to complete all required coursework, such as linguistics, teaching methodology, and cultural studies. Additionally, you may need to take an exam or demonstrate your teaching ability through a practicum or internship experience.

The cost of ESL Certification varies depending on the program chosen; however, most programs range from $1,000-$5,000 USD. Some programs may also require additional fees for materials or exams.

4. Reading Specialist Certification

Reading Specialist Certification is a professional certification that is designed to help educators become more effective reading teachers. It is usually obtained by completing an approved program of study, which typically includes classes in reading theory, research, assessment, and instruction. The length of the program varies depending on the institution offering it, but typically takes around two years to complete.

In order to obtain Reading Specialist Certification, individuals must first meet the qualifications set by their state's department of education. These qualifications may include having a master's degree in reading or literacy education, teaching experience in a classroom setting, and passing a state-approved examination. Once these requirements are met, individuals can apply for certification through their state's department of education.

The cost of obtaining Reading Specialist Certification varies depending on the institution offering it and the type of program chosen. Most programs require students to pay tuition fees as well as additional fees for books and materials. Some states may also require applicants to pay an application fee or other administrative costs associated with obtaining certification.

5. Early Childhood Education Certification

Early Childhood Education Certification is a credential that recognizes individuals who have completed the necessary training and education to work with young children. It is typically issued by a state or national organization and is required for those who wish to teach in public or private preschools, daycares, or other early childhood programs.

The length of time it takes to get certified varies depending on the specific requirements of the program. Generally, it can take anywhere from one year to several years to complete all of the necessary coursework and training. In some cases, certification may require passing an exam or completing an internship.

To get certified, individuals must first meet any prerequisites set forth by the certifying organization. This may include having a certain level of education (such as an associate’s degree) or completing specific courses related to early childhood education. After meeting these requirements, individuals must apply for certification and submit any necessary documents such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and proof of completion of courses.

The cost of certification depends on the organization offering it and can range from free to several thousand dollars. Additionally, some organizations may require yearly fees for maintaining certification status.

6. Special Education Certification

Special Education Certification is a type of certification that enables individuals to work with students who have special needs. This certification is required in most states in order to teach special education classes or work as a special education teacher. The requirements for this certification vary by state, but typically include a bachelor’s degree in special education or a related field, such as psychology or social work, and completion of an approved teacher preparation program.

The process of obtaining Special Education Certification can take anywhere from one to two years depending on the state and the individual's background. Most states require applicants to pass a series of tests and complete coursework specific to teaching students with disabilities. Additionally, many states also require applicants to complete supervised clinical experience in the classroom prior to becoming certified.

In order to get Special Education Certification, individuals must first meet all the requirements set forth by their state's department of education. This includes passing any necessary exams and completing any required coursework or training programs. Once these requirements are met, individuals must then apply for certification through their state's department of education. After submitting all necessary paperwork and fees, applicants will receive their certification upon successful completion of the application process.

The cost for Special Education Certification varies by state; however, it typically costs between $50-$200 depending on the specific requirements needed for each state.

7. Mathematics or Science Endorsement

Mathematics or Science Endorsement is an additional certification that a teacher can obtain to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in either mathematics or science. It is typically obtained by teachers who teach in the subject area, although it can also be obtained by those who are not currently teaching.

The length of time required to obtain the endorsement will vary depending on the state, as each state has its own requirements for obtaining the endorsement. Generally speaking, most states require a minimum of 24 semester hours of coursework in either mathematics or science at an accredited college or university. In addition, some states may also require passing scores on certain tests or completion of other requirements such as field experience.

To get the Mathematics or Science Endorsement, you must first meet all of your state’s requirements for obtaining the endorsement. This includes completing any necessary coursework and meeting any testing requirements. Once you have met these requirements, you must then apply for the endorsement through your state’s department of education. Usually this involves submitting an application form along with transcripts and other required documents.

The cost for obtaining a Mathematics or Science Endorsement will vary depending on your state and whether you are taking classes at a college or university. Generally speaking, most states charge a fee for processing the application and issuing the endorsement certificate. Additionally, if you are taking classes at a college or university, there may be tuition fees associated with those classes as well.

8. Gifted and Talented Education Endorsement

Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Endorsement is an endorsement offered by the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) to teachers who have completed specialized training in working with gifted and talented students. This endorsement is designed to recognize teachers who have demonstrated their knowledge, skills, and abilities in teaching gifted and talented students.

The GATE Endorsement requires a minimum of 18 hours of coursework related to the education of gifted and talented students. The courses must cover topics such as identification of gifted and talented students, curriculum development for gifted learners, instructional strategies for differentiated instruction, assessment of gifted learners, advocacy for gifted learners, collaboration with families and other professionals, and professional development. Coursework must be taken from an accredited institution or through an approved provider.

In order to obtain the GATE Endorsement, applicants must submit an application along with proof of completion of the required coursework. The application fee is $50. Once the application has been reviewed and approved by NAGC staff, applicants will receive their GATE Endorsement certificate.

The entire process typically takes 4-6 weeks from start to finish.

9. Technology Integration Specialist Certification

Technology Integration Specialist Certification is a professional certification that validates an individual’s knowledge and skills in the area of technology integration. It demonstrates an individual’s ability to design, implement, and maintain effective IT solutions for businesses. The certification is offered by the International Association of Technology Integration Specialists (IATIS).

To obtain this certification, individuals must pass an exam that covers topics such as network infrastructure, system architecture, security management, data management, software development, and project management. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete.

The cost of the exam varies depending on the country in which it is taken. Generally speaking, the cost ranges from $150 to $400 USD. The certification is valid for three years after passing the exam and can be renewed by taking additional courses or passing another exam.

In order to prepare for the exam, IATIS offers several online resources including practice tests and study guides. Additionally, there are several third-party training providers who offer comprehensive preparation courses for a fee. These courses typically last between one to two weeks and cover all topics included in the exam.

10. Bilingual/Multicultural Education Endorsement

Bilingual/Multicultural Education Endorsement is an additional certification that can be earned by teachers to demonstrate their knowledge and experience in teaching students from diverse backgrounds. This endorsement allows teachers to work with students of different cultural backgrounds, including those who are learning English as a second language. The endorsement requires the completion of a minimum of 18 semester hours of coursework in bilingual education or multicultural education, as well as passing a state-approved examination.

The length of time it takes to obtain this endorsement varies depending on the individual teacher's situation. Most states require teachers to complete coursework in order to qualify for the endorsement, which can take anywhere from one semester to several years depending on the program and the individual's schedule.

In order to obtain the Bilingual/Multicultural Education Endorsement, teachers must first meet all requirements set by their state department of education. This includes completing any required courses and passing an approved exam. Once these requirements have been met, teachers must then apply for the endorsement through their state board of education or other licensing agency.

The cost associated with obtaining this endorsement varies depending on the state and institution offering it. Generally speaking, most states charge a fee for taking the exam and completing any required coursework. Additionally, some states may require additional fees for processing applications or providing materials related to the endorsement process.

11. Health and Physical Education Teacher Certification

Health and Physical Education Teacher Certification is a credential that is issued by the state in which you are teaching. It certifies that you have met the educational requirements to teach health and physical education in public schools.

In order to obtain Health and Physical Education Teacher Certification, you must first complete an approved teacher preparation program from an accredited college or university. This typically includes coursework in health, physical education, and teaching methods. You may also need to complete additional courses related to the subject matter of health and physical education.

Once you have completed your teacher preparation program, you will need to pass a state-approved certification exam. Depending on the state in which you are teaching, this exam may be administered by either the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) or the Praxis Series exams. Once you have passed this exam, you will receive your certification from your state's Department of Education.

The cost of obtaining Health and Physical Education Teacher Certification varies depending on the state in which you are teaching as well as other factors such as whether or not you need to take additional courses or exams. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars up to several thousand dollars for all associated fees including tuition, books, fees for taking exams, etc.

The amount of time it takes to obtain Health and Physical Education Teacher Certification also varies depending on the individual’s situation. Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from one year up to four years if additional coursework is required.

Do You Really Need a Elementary School Teacher Certificate?

The answer to this question is yes and no. On one hand, a certificate in elementary school teaching is not strictly required for someone to become an elementary school teacher. However, obtaining a teaching certificate can be beneficial for those looking to get into the field of education.

Having a teaching certificate can help increase your chances of getting hired as an elementary school teacher. It demonstrates that you have gone through training and have met the standards outlined by the state or local government. It also shows that you understand the expectations of being an educator and are committed to providing quality instruction to students. Furthermore, having a teaching certificate may give you access to additional resources such as professional development opportunities or specialized grants that could help you advance your career as an educator.

Ultimately, whether or not you need an elementary school teacher certificate depends on what type of job you are applying for and how competitive the hiring process is in your area. If there are many qualified applicants competing for the same position, then having a teaching certification could be beneficial in helping you stand out from the crowd and make yourself more attractive to potential employers. If it's not necessary, however, then it may still be worth considering depending on your personal goals and aspirations as an educator.

Related: Elementary School Teacher Resume Examples

FAQs About Elementary School Teacher Certifications

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

Answer: To become an elementary school teacher, you must have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, plus state-mandated certification or licensure.

2. How do I get certified as an elementary school teacher?

Answer: You can get certified as an elementary school teacher by completing the necessary education and/or training requirements for your state, submitting the required paperwork, and passing any applicable exams.

3. Are there any special certifications available for experienced teachers?

Answer: Yes, many states offer advanced certifications for experienced teachers such as National Board Certification or Master Teacher certification.

4. How long does it take to become certified as an elementary school teacher?

Answer: It typically takes 1-2 years to complete the necessary education and/or training requirements for certification as an elementary school teacher, depending on the state you live in.

5. What is the difference between a teaching certificate and a teaching license?

Answer: A teaching certificate is generally awarded after completing a certain amount of coursework or training while a teaching license is usually issued after passing all relevant exams and meeting other requirements set by the state.