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How do I Choose the Best Teaching Certificate Program?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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A teaching certificate program is selected by considering many different criteria. One criterion is looking at the way regional licenses are acquired; not all areas have the same requirements and this will need to be a consideration. Other choices may exist including whether to study at a bricks and mortar university or online, and lots of programs give people the option of studying beyond the credential to earn a master’s degree. Practical considerations like location and price are also important.

Perhaps the most critical factor in choosing a teaching certificate program is whether the program fulfills all regional requirements to get a license. This can be complicated if people study outside of their region or online. Typically the best way to determine if a program will make it easy to attain licensure is by checking with regional teacher’s credentialing boards. These are usually no more than a phone call away or via website. They can help prospective students decide if a program will meet these needs.

There has never been quite so much choice in programs as exists today. Students should have no trouble finding a teaching certificate program that is taught online, so those working full time can attend while having a flexible learning schedule. For traditionalists, there are also numerous programs at standard universities.

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For online school, one thing that should be considered is support during practicum hours. Many bricks and mortar schools prearrange programs with local school districts, and online students may have to find their own arrangements, which is sometimes difficult. Students may want to inquire of online schools what arrangements exist for student teaching and how the student is supported during this process.

Another choice for students can be whether to concurrently pursue a master’s degree with a teaching credential. This may add on an extra year of school, but the benefit to those who graduate is they often get paid more when hired. Some suggest that this isn’t always to the new teacher’s advantage, and when schools experience sharp budget cuts they may be less likely to hire someone with a master’s degree because this will be more costly. Many recommend getting hired first and earning a master’s degree at a later point, which creates a jump in salary.

In addition to considering the suitability of a teaching certificate program, on and offline study, and whether a master’s degree would be useful, students must also reflect on the practical aspects of a teaching credential program. Unless the intent is to work in an incredibly prestigious school, the choice of school may not matter much when it comes to finding jobs, provided the program has a decent reputation.

Location is actually more important when people choose a teaching certificate program. When people get educated out of state or region, for instance, this again may relate to license and employability. It’s typically best to choose a school located in the area where the teacher plans to teach. Though it is possible to get a license in several areas, this can be difficult to do and involves a considerable amount of extra paperwork or possibly extra studies.

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