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Top 10 Science Teacher Certifications

This article provides a comprehensive overview of the top certifications available to science teachers, outlining the advantages and disadvantages of each.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 19 min read

Certifications are important for a science teacher in the job market because they demonstrate a level of professional competence and expertise in their field. Certifications also provide evidence that the teacher has gone through rigorous, specialized training to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to teach science effectively. Furthermore, certifications can increase the teacher's chances of getting hired as they show employers that the teacher is qualified and committed to their profession. Additionally, certifications can provide teachers with salary increases or additional opportunities for professional development. Overall, certifications are a valuable tool for any science teacher looking to stand out in the job market.

This article reviews the top certifications for Science Teachers, and explains how they can benefit a science teacher's career.

What are Science Teacher Certifications?

Science teacher certification is a process that ensures that science teachers have the necessary qualifications and credentials to teach science in a classroom setting. Science teachers must be certified in order to teach science in most states. The certification process typically requires passing an exam and completing a certain number of hours of professional development or coursework related to science teaching.

The purpose of obtaining a science teacher certification is to ensure that qualified, knowledgeable individuals are teaching science in the classroom. By having certified science teachers, students can be assured they are receiving an education based on current scientific knowledge and teaching standards. Certification also helps maintain the quality of instruction by ensuring that all topics are taught accurately and reliably. Additionally, certification may give schools access to additional resources, such as grants and other funding sources, which can improve the quality of their science classes.

Pro Tip: When considering a science teacher certification program, look for one that offers a comprehensive curriculum that covers all of the major scientific disciplines. This will ensure you have a solid foundation in the core sciences as well as any specialized topics related to teaching science. Additionally, make sure the program is accredited and recognized by your state's Department of Education.

Related: What does a Science Teacher do?

Top 10 Science Teacher Certifications

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

1. National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certification

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certification is a voluntary certification program that recognizes accomplished teachers who demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills, and practices. It is the highest professional credential available in K-12 teaching and is achieved through a rigorous performance-based assessment that typically takes one to three years to complete.

In order to be eligible for the NBPTS Certification, applicants must have completed at least three years of successful teaching experience in the field they are applying for certification. Additionally, applicants must hold a valid state teaching license or certificate and have completed an approved induction program.

To obtain the NBPTS Certification, applicants must submit evidence of their teaching practice in the form of student work samples, videotapes of their classroom instruction, and other artifacts demonstrating their skills as educators. Applicants must also submit written reflections on their practice and pass a computer-based assessment.

The cost of obtaining NBPTS Certification varies depending on the state in which you are applying. In general, it costs between $2,000 - $4,000 to complete all components of the certification process.

2. National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Certification

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Certification is a program designed to recognize and reward teachers who demonstrate excellence in science education. NSTA Certification is a voluntary process that recognizes teachers’ commitment to their profession and provides them with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in science education.

In order to obtain NSTA Certification, teachers must complete an online application, submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, and provide evidence of at least three years of teaching experience in the field of science. Once these requirements are met, applicants must pass an exam that covers topics such as instructional strategies, assessment techniques, curriculum development, classroom management, and professional development. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions and takes approximately two hours to complete.

The cost for NSTA Certification varies depending on the type of membership you have with the organization. For non-members, the cost is $150; for members it is $125; for student members it is $75; and for retired members it is $50.

Overall, obtaining NSTA Certification can take anywhere from 6 months to a year depending on how quickly you can complete the application process and pass the exam.

3. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Certification

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Certification is a professional certification program that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated excellence in the field of science. It is designed to recognize and promote the accomplishments of scientists and engineers who have made significant contributions to their fields. The AAAS Certification Program is open to all scientists and engineers, regardless of their academic background or discipline.

To be eligible for the AAAS Certification, applicants must meet certain criteria, including having at least five years of professional experience in their field, holding a doctoral degree or equivalent qualification, and demonstrating a record of scientific accomplishment. Additionally, applicants must demonstrate an understanding of ethical standards in science and engineering and commit to upholding them.

The application process for AAAS Certification typically takes between six months and one year from start to finish. During this time, applicants must submit an application form along with supporting documents such as letters of recommendation from colleagues or supervisors. Once approved by the AAAS Board of Directors, applicants will receive their official certificate and be listed on the AAAS website as certified professionals.

The cost for AAAS Certification varies depending on the applicant’s category (e.g., student or postdoctoral fellow). For most categories, the cost ranges from $100-$200 USD per year. There may also be additional fees associated with submitting letters of recommendation or other supporting documents.

4. 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 in the United States. NCATE accreditation is voluntary and is based on standards developed by the profession. It is recognized as a mark of quality by states, institutions, and other organizations.

NCATE certification takes approximately two years to complete. The process begins with an institution submitting an application for review to the NCATE Board of Examiners. This includes a self-study report that outlines the institution’s compliance with NCATE standards and evidence of meeting those standards. Following the review, the Board of Examiners may grant full or provisional accreditation status.

To get NCATE certification, institutions must demonstrate that their teacher education programs meet or exceed the standards set forth by NCATE. This involves completing a self-study report outlining how well they meet each standard and providing evidence such as student performance data, faculty qualifications, curriculum content, and program evaluation results. Institutions are also required to submit periodic reports to ensure continued compliance with NCATE standards.

The cost of obtaining NCATE certification varies depending on the size and complexity of an institution’s teacher education program. Generally speaking, it can range from several thousand dollars up to tens of thousands of dollars in fees associated with submitting applications and conducting reviews.

5. International Baccalaureate (IB) Certification

International Baccalaureate (IB) Certification is an internationally recognized academic program that provides students with a rigorous and comprehensive education. It is designed to develop the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills necessary to live and work in a global society. The program is available for students aged 3-19 and consists of three levels: Primary Years Program (PYP), Middle Years Program (MYP), and Diploma Program (DP).

The IB Diploma Program (DP) is a two-year curriculum that prepares students for success at university and beyond. It requires six subject groups, including language acquisition, sciences, mathematics, individuals and societies, physical education, arts/electives. In addition to coursework, DP students must also complete the Theory of Knowledge course as well as an extended essay project.

It typically takes two years to complete the IB Diploma Program. During this time students are expected to attend classes, complete assignments, participate in extracurricular activities such as community service or internships, and take examinations.

In order to obtain IB Certification one must first enroll in an IB World School which offers the program. There are over 4500 schools worldwide offering the IB Diploma Program so it is important to research which school best suits your needs. Once enrolled in an IB World School you will be required to meet all of their requirements in order to receive certification upon completion of the program.

The cost of obtaining an IB Certificate varies depending on the school you attend; however most schools require tuition fees ranging from $10 000 - $20 000 per year plus additional fees such as registration fees or exam fees.

6. Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Certification

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is an innovative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program that provides students with hands-on learning experiences in engineering and computer science. PLTW certification provides teachers with the knowledge and skills to teach PLTW courses in their classrooms.

The certification process can take up to two years to complete. To become certified, teachers must first attend a five-day Core Training workshop and complete the associated coursework. After completing the Core Training workshop, teachers must then attend a five-day Advanced Training workshop and complete the associated coursework. Finally, teachers must pass a comprehensive assessment of their knowledge and skills related to teaching PLTW courses.

The cost of obtaining PLTW certification varies depending on where you live and which training workshops you choose to attend. Generally speaking, the cost of attending a five-day Core Training workshop ranges from $1,500 - $2,000 USD while the cost of attending a five-day Advanced Training workshop ranges from $2,000 - $3,000 USD. Additionally, there may be additional fees for materials or other expenses associated with attending the workshops.

Overall, PLTW certification is an invaluable asset for any teacher looking to provide their students with engaging STEM experiences in their classroom.

7. Advanced Placement (AP) Science Teacher Certification

Advanced Placement (AP) Science Teacher Certification is a certification program offered by the College Board that recognizes teachers who have demonstrated mastery of teaching AP Science courses. It is designed to recognize and reward teachers who have achieved excellence in teaching AP Science courses.

To receive the AP Science Teacher Certification, teachers must complete an application process that includes submitting a portfolio of evidence demonstrating their mastery of teaching AP Science courses. This portfolio should include documentation of successful course completion, student performance data, and other evidence of effective instruction. The portfolio will be evaluated by a panel of experts from the College Board, and if approved, the teacher will receive their certification.

The application process takes approximately three months to complete. During this time, teachers must submit all required documents and evidence for review. Once approved, the teacher will receive their certificate within two weeks.

The cost for applying for the AP Science Teacher Certification varies based on region and country. Generally speaking, it costs around $200 USD to apply for the certification.

Overall, Advanced Placement (AP) Science Teacher Certification is a great way for science teachers to demonstrate their expertise in teaching AP Science courses and gain recognition from the College Board.

8. Environmental Education Certifications

Environmental Education Certifications are credentials that demonstrate a person’s knowledge and skills in the field of environmental education. These certifications are typically offered by professional organizations, such as the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE).

The length of time it takes to obtain an environmental education certification varies depending on the organization offering the certification and the type of certification being sought. Generally speaking, most certifications require applicants to complete a set number of hours of coursework or training, followed by a written exam. Depending on the type of certification being sought, this process can take anywhere from several weeks to several months.

In order to obtain an environmental education certification, individuals must first meet any prerequisites established by the certifying organization. This may include having a certain amount of experience in the field or completing prerequisite courses. After meeting these prerequisites, individuals must then submit an application and pay any associated fees. Once accepted into a program, applicants will need to complete all required coursework and pass any exams in order to receive their certification.

The cost of obtaining an environmental education certification varies depending on the organization offering it and the type of certification being sought. Generally speaking, most certifications range from $100-$500 USD, although some may be more expensive depending on how many courses or exams are required for completion.

9. State Department of Education Licensure

State Department of Education Licensure is a type of certification that is required by most states in order to teach in public schools. It is typically obtained after completing an accredited teacher preparation program and passing the necessary exams. The process of obtaining licensure can vary from state to state, but generally involves submitting an application along with transcripts and other documentation, taking certain tests (such as the Praxis), and completing a background check.

The length of time it takes to get licensure depends on the individual's progress through their teacher preparation program and how quickly they are able to complete all of the necessary steps. Generally, it can take anywhere from six months to two years for someone to become fully licensed.

In order to obtain State Department of Education Licensure, individuals must first complete an accredited teacher preparation program at either a college or university. After finishing this program, they must submit an application for licensure with their official transcripts and other documentation such as letters of recommendation, passing scores on any required exams (such as the Praxis), and proof of completion of any necessary background checks. Once all requirements have been met, applicants will be issued a license by their state's Department of Education.

The cost of obtaining State Department of Education Licensure varies depending on the individual's situation and which state they are applying in. Generally speaking, there may be fees associated with taking any required exams (such as the Praxis) or submitting applications and documents for review. Additionally, some states may require applicants to pay for background checks or other services related to obtaining licensure.

10. Biology Endorsement or Master's Degree in Science Education

Biology Endorsement or Master's Degree in Science Education is a post-graduate degree program that focuses on the teaching of biology at the secondary and post-secondary levels. This program provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills to teach biology effectively. It also prepares them for advanced research in the field of biology.

The length of time it takes to complete this degree varies depending on the institution offering it, but typically takes two to three years of full-time study. The courses required for completion include topics such as biochemistry, cell biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, physiology, and anatomy. In addition to these topics, students must also complete courses related to teaching methods and educational technology.

To get a Biology Endorsement or Master's Degree in Science Education, you must first have earned an undergraduate degree in either biology or science education from an accredited university or college. After completing your undergraduate degree, you can apply to graduate programs that offer this type of degree program. You will need to submit transcripts from your previous studies as well as letters of recommendation from faculty members who can attest to your academic abilities and potential for success in this field.

The cost of obtaining a Biology Endorsement or Master's Degree in Science Education varies depending on the institution offering it and other factors such as financial aid packages available. Generally speaking, tuition costs range from $10,000 - $30,000 USD per year depending on the school and program chosen. Additional fees may also be required such as application fees, books and supplies costs, lab fees etc.

Do You Really Need a Science Teacher Certificate?

Yes, a science teacher certificate is an important qualification for anyone who wants to teach science in the classroom. Although it is not required in all states, having a science teacher certificate shows that a person has the knowledge and skills necessary to teach science effectively. A science teacher certificate also demonstrates that the individual has met certain standards of excellence and has received special training in areas such as curriculum development and assessment.

In order to receive a science teacher certificate, individuals must typically complete a degree program in education or a related field with additional coursework in science. They may also need to take exams such as the Praxis II Science Exam or similar tests in order to demonstrate their subject matter knowledge. Additionally, they may need to attend workshops on teaching strategies and complete continuing education courses.

Having a science teacher certificate indicates that an individual is qualified to teach science at any grade level from elementary school through high school. It also signifies that the individual is knowledgeable about current research and educational trends related to teaching methods and materials used in the classroom. Furthermore, it can open up job opportunities beyond those available for teachers without this credential.

For these reasons, obtaining a science teacher certificate can be beneficial for anyone interested in teaching this subject area. It can help them gain recognition from colleagues and employers, stand out from other applicants when seeking employment, and best serve their students by providing them with quality instruction.

Related: Science Teacher Resume Examples

FAQs About Science Teacher Certifications

1. What qualifications do I need to become a science teacher?

Answer: In the US, most states require a bachelor’s degree in education, with a major or minor in science. Some states also require additional certifications such as an endorsement in science teaching or a teaching license.

2. What is the process for obtaining a science teacher certification?

Answer: The process for obtaining a science teacher certification varies by state, but typically involves completing an approved program of study, passing an exam or series of exams, and submitting an application to the applicable state department of education.

3. Are there any special requirements for teaching certain subjects?

Answer: Yes, some states may have specific subject-area endorsements that are required to teach certain topics within the sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, etc. Additionally, some states may require specialized training or certifications for teaching advanced courses like AP Science or honors classes.

4. How long does it take to get certified?

Answer: The timeline for obtaining a science teacher certification can vary depending on individual circumstances and the state in which you are seeking certification; however, most certification processes can be completed within 1-2 years if all requirements are met.

5. What type of support is available for teachers new to the profession?

Answer: Most school districts provide resources and support for new teachers including mentorship programs and professional development opportunities. Additionally, many universities offer continuing education courses designed specifically for experienced educators looking to enhance their skillsets and stay up-to-date on best practices in the classroom.