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Top 11 History Teacher Certifications

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Updated 17 min read

Certifications are important for a history teacher in the job market because they demonstrate that the teacher has met specific standards and has received formal training in their field. Certifications also show employers that the teacher is knowledgeable and capable of teaching a wide range of topics related to history. Additionally, certifications can help a history teacher stand out from other applicants for a job, as employers may be more likely to hire someone who has taken the time and effort to obtain certification in their field.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for History Teachers, and explain how they can contribute to a history teacher's career.

What are History Teacher Certifications?

History teacher certification is a process of becoming qualified to teach the subject of history in the K-12 school system. It is typically achieved by completing an approved teacher education program and passing a state-issued certification exam. This certification can be beneficial for those looking to teach history in the classroom, as it provides a thorough understanding of the subject matter and helps ensure that teachers are well equipped to impart knowledge to their students. History teacher certification also demonstrates a commitment to teaching, which can help potential employers recognize the qualifications of an individual. Having this certification may give one an edge when applying for teaching jobs, since it shows that they have met certain standards and have been certified as competent in the field.

Pro Tip: Be sure to check with your state's Department of Education for the most up-to-date requirements and other information regarding history teacher certification.

Related: What does a History Teacher do?

Top 11 History Teacher Certifications

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

1. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is a voluntary certification program that recognizes accomplished teachers who have met high and rigorous standards for the teaching profession. The NBPTS was established in 1987 as an independent, nonprofit organization with the mission of advancing the quality of teaching and learning by setting professional standards for accomplished practice and developing policies to support them.

The NBPTS certification process involves completing a series of assessments that measure an individual’s knowledge, skills, and practices related to teaching. The assessments are designed to evaluate a teacher’s ability to apply their knowledge of subject matter, instructional strategies, and student development in order to promote student learning. To become certified, teachers must demonstrate their mastery of these areas through written responses, video recordings, and portfolios.

The NBPTS certification process typically takes three years to complete. During this time, teachers must complete all required assessments and submit all necessary materials in order to be considered for certification. Once an individual has successfully completed the process and been approved by the NBPTS board of directors, they will receive their official certificate of National Board Certification.

The cost associated with pursuing National Board Certification varies depending on where you live. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $2,500-$4,000 USD. This cost includes application fees, assessment fees, travel expenses (if applicable), and other miscellaneous costs associated with the process.

2. American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE)

The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) is a non-profit organization that provides alternative pathways to teacher certification. ABCTE offers an online program that allows individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in any subject to become certified teachers in as little as one year. The program consists of two parts: an online course and a performance assessment.

The online course covers topics such as classroom management, curriculum development, instructional strategies, and educational technology. It also includes field experience in which the candidate must observe and work with experienced teachers in the classroom. Once the course is completed, candidates must pass the performance assessment which evaluates their knowledge and skills related to teaching.

It typically takes about one year to complete the ABCTE program and become certified. To get started, applicants must submit an application form along with official transcripts from all colleges attended and payment of the $125 application fee. After submitting the required materials, applicants will be notified if they are accepted into the program.

Once accepted into the program, there is a $1,000 tuition fee that must be paid before beginning the coursework. This fee covers all materials needed for completing the program including textbooks and field experience activities. After successfully completing both parts of the program, candidates will receive their certificate from ABCTE and can apply for teaching positions in their state or district of choice.

3. National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)

The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) is a professional association that provides leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators. It was founded in 1921 and is the largest organization in the United States devoted solely to social studies education. NCSS works to ensure that social studies is taught effectively and equitably in K-12 classrooms across the country.

Membership to NCSS is open to any individual involved in social studies education, including teachers, administrators, researchers, professors, librarians, curriculum specialists, media specialists, policy makers, parents, students and more. Membership benefits include access to professional development opportunities such as conferences and webinars; discounts on publications; access to an online community of peers; and much more.

It typically takes 2-3 business days to process a membership application after it has been submitted online or by mail. The cost of membership depends on your profession: $60 for K-12 teachers/professors; $90 for administrators/curriculum specialists/media specialists; $45 for students/retirees/unemployed; and $120 for all other professionals.

4. National Council on History Education (NCHE)

The National Council on History Education (NCHE) is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the teaching and learning of history in the United States. Founded in 1983, NCHE provides professional development for K–12 history teachers, advocates for high-quality history education, and serves as a resource for history educators across the country.

It does not take any specific amount of time to get involved with NCHE. There are several ways to get involved: joining as an individual or institutional member, attending an annual conference, joining a committee or task force, or volunteering at events.

Membership fees range from $25–$500 depending on whether you join as an individual or institution. Membership benefits include access to publications and discounts on conference registration fees and other products.

NCHE also offers grants and awards for teachers, students, and institutions that promote excellence in history education. These awards are typically given out at the annual conference held each year in different locations around the country.

5. American Historical Association (AHA)

The American Historical Association (AHA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting historical research and teaching. Founded in 1884, the AHA serves as the major professional organization for historians in the United States. It provides leadership and guidance to historians through its publications, programs, and annual meeting.

Membership in the AHA is open to anyone interested in history or related fields. The membership process typically takes about two weeks from when you submit your application to when you receive your membership card. To become a member of the AHA, you must complete an online application form and pay an annual fee of $75 for regular members or $25 for students. You can also join as a life member with a one-time payment of $1,000.

As a member of the AHA, you will have access to numerous benefits including access to online resources such as journals, newsletters, and databases; discounts on publications; invitations to special events; and opportunities for networking with other historians. Additionally, members are eligible for awards and grants that support their research and teaching activities.

6. National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)

The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is a professional organization that serves and supports middle level and high school principals in the United States. It was established in 1916 and is based in Reston, Virginia. The mission of NASSP is to promote excellence in education for all students through strong leadership and advocacy at the local, state, and national levels.

To become a member of NASSP, you must first be employed as a principal or assistant principal at an accredited middle or high school. You can then apply online or by mail to join the organization. The application process typically takes two to four weeks to complete.

The cost of joining NASSP depends on your membership type. Regular memberships are $115 per year, while associate memberships are $75 per year. There are also discounted rates for retired members and student memberships available.

7. International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO)

The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) is an international educational foundation that offers three educational programs for students between the ages of 3 and 19. The IBO was founded in 1968 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

The IBO offers three educational programs: the Primary Years Program (PYP), Middle Years Program (MYP), and Diploma Program (DP). The PYP is designed for children aged 3-12 and focuses on developing knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values through inquiry-based learning. The MYP is for students aged 11-16 and provides a framework to develop intercultural understanding, global engagement, and independent learning. Finally, the DP is a two-year program for students aged 16-19 which prepares them for higher education by offering rigorous academic courses.

To get an IBO qualification, you must complete one of the three programs offered by the organization. Depending on which program you choose to pursue, it can take anywhere from 2 to 6 years to complete your studies.

The cost of completing an IBO program varies depending on your country of residence as well as the school or institution you are attending. Generally speaking, tuition fees range from $3,000 to $20,000 per year. Additional costs may include registration fees, examination fees, materials fees, and other miscellaneous expenses such as travel or accommodation costs if applicable.

8. National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE)

The National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) is a professional organization dedicated to the advancement of geographic education. It was founded in 1915 and is the only organization devoted exclusively to the improvement of geographic education in all levels of schooling.

The NCGE provides resources, training, and support for educators, students, and parents. It also works to promote geographic literacy among all citizens. The organization advocates for geographic education at state and federal levels and serves as a source of information on best practices in geography instruction.

To become a member of the NCGE, you must complete an online application form and submit it along with your membership fee. Membership fees vary depending on your level of involvement with the organization. For example, individual memberships cost $50 per year while institutional memberships cost $200 per year.

In addition to membership fees, NCGE also offers various conferences throughout the year that are open to members and non-members alike. These conferences provide an opportunity for educators to learn more about current trends in geography instruction, network with other professionals in the field, and gain access to valuable resources and materials related to geography education.

9. American Alliance of Museums (AAM)

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) is a professional organization that serves the museum community in the United States. It was founded in 1906 and has grown to include more than 5,000 members from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The mission of AAM is to advance the profession, serve its members, and strengthen the museum field.

AAM provides resources for museums, including professional development opportunities, advocacy and public policy support, research, publications, and networking opportunities. It also offers accreditation for museums that meet certain standards of excellence in areas such as collections management, governance, education programs, financial stability, and public service.

It typically takes 6-12 months to receive AAM accreditation after submitting an application. To apply for accreditation with AAM, organizations must submit an online application which includes information about their mission statement; board of directors; staff; collections; facilities; financial statements; programming; policies and procedures; education programs; marketing materials; evaluation methods; volunteer program; security measures; conservation practices; strategic plan/goals/objectives/outcomes/impact assessment plans.

The cost of applying for AAM accreditation varies depending on the size of your institution. Generally speaking it costs between $2,000-$10,000 USD to apply for accreditation with AAM.

10. National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) is a non-profit organization that provides accreditation to teacher preparation programs across the United States. NCATE accreditation ensures that teacher preparation programs meet rigorous standards of quality, and it is recognized by many states as an important factor in deciding whether to grant teaching licenses.

It typically takes two to three years for a program to obtain NCATE accreditation. The process begins with the program submitting a self-study report, which includes evidence of meeting the NCATE standards for quality. Following this, an on-site evaluation team visits the program and reviews its operations, faculty qualifications, curriculum, student services, and other aspects of its operation. Finally, the review team makes a recommendation to the NCATE Board of Examiners regarding whether or not to grant accreditation.

Programs seeking NCATE accreditation must pay an application fee and an annual fee while their application is being processed. The fees vary depending on the size of the program and can range from $1,000-$3,000 per year. Additionally, there may be additional costs associated with preparing for and hosting an on-site evaluation visit.

11. Advanced Placement United States History Exam

Advanced Placement United States History Exam (APUSH) is a college-level exam administered by the College Board. It is designed to assess a student's knowledge of U.S. history, from pre-Columbian times through the present day. The exam consists of two sections: multiple choice and free response questions.

The APUSH exam takes approximately three hours and 15 minutes to complete, including a 10-minute break between sections. It is offered once per year in May, and it costs $94 for each exam taken.

In order to take the APUSH exam, students must register with the College Board website at least four weeks prior to the test date. They will then be given instructions on how to access their online testing account and schedule their test date and time. After taking the exam, students will receive their scores within three weeks of completing it.

Do You Really Need a History Teacher Certificate?

The short answer to this question is no. A history teacher certificate is not a requirement for teaching history, though it may be beneficial in some cases. However, the decision to pursue a history teacher certificate should be based on individual circumstances.

For those who want to teach history in a public school setting, having a teaching certification is usually necessary. Public schools require teachers to have the appropriate credentials and certifications in order to teach certain courses. For example, if you want to teach AP World History or European History, then you will need a state-issued teaching license or certification specific to that subject area.

On the other hand, many private schools do not require teachers to have formal certification and may hire someone with just a bachelor's degree in history and adequate knowledge of the subject matter as long as they can prove their competency in teaching students. In this case, having a history teacher certificate might be beneficial but would not necessarily be required for employment.

In addition, if you are looking for other career opportunities such as working in museums or libraries, becoming an archivist, or working as an editor of historical texts, then having a history teacher certificate would not be necessary. These types of positions typically require more specialized degrees or experience than what would be acquired through obtaining a history teacher certification.

Ultimately, whether or not you need a history teacher certificate depends upon your individual circumstances and goals for your career path. If you plan on teaching in public school settings or are interested in pursuing higher education opportunities related to teaching then obtaining a teaching certificate may be beneficial for you; however if you are looking at other career options then it may not be necessary for employment purposes.

Related: History Teacher Resume Examples

FAQs About History Teacher Certifications

1. What is a history teacher certification?

Answer: A history teacher certification is a credential that certifies an individual to teach history in a public or private school setting. It is typically awarded by the state in which the teacher will be teaching and requires the completion of certain educational and professional requirements.

2. How do I become certified to teach history?

Answer: To become certified to teach history, you must typically complete an approved teacher preparation program, pass the necessary tests for your state, and submit an application for certification. In some states, you may also need to complete a student teaching experience or other field experiences prior to applying for certification.

3. Are there any special certifications available for teaching history?

Answer: Yes, many states offer specializations within their history teacher certifications such as Social Studies Education or American History Education. In addition, some states have endorsements available for specific areas such as World History or Ancient History.

4. Do I need a degree to become certified to teach history?

Answer: Yes, in most cases you will need at least a bachelor's degree in order to become certified to teach history in public schools. In some cases, you may also need a master's degree depending on the state requirements or the type of position you are seeking.

5. Is there an exam I need to take before becoming certified?

Answer: Yes, most states require potential teachers to pass a general subject knowledge test (e.g., Praxis Core) as well as a subject-specific test (e.g., Praxis II History). You should check with your state's department of education for specific testing requirements prior to applying for certification.

Editorial staff

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Brenna Goyette

Expert Verified

Brenna is a certified professional resume writer, career expert, and the content manager of the ResumeCat team. She has a background in corporate recruiting and human resources and has been writing resumes for over 10 years. Brenna has experience in recruiting for tech, finance, and marketing roles and has a passion for helping people find their dream jobs. She creates expert resources to help job seekers write the best resumes and cover letters, land the job, and succeed in the workplace.

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