Teacher Degrees: Certificates, Training & Online Course Info

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What will you learn in a teaching degree certificate program? Find out certificate program requirements, online options and info on courses for bachelor's and master's degree teaching certificate programs.
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Studying Teaching: Degrees, Certificates and Training at a Glance

Certificates in teaching can be earned in conjunction with your bachelor's or master's degree or through additional coursework if you have already earned your bachelor's degree without the teaching certificate compliment. These standalone certificate programs do not result in a degree but do provide an expedient way of obtaining your teaching certificate if you already hold a bachelor's degree.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) rates job growth for kindergarten, elementary and middle school teachers to be at 17%, while high school teachers are at 7%, between the years 2010 and 2020.

There are other programs available that offer earning a second bachelor's degree rather than the master's degree or standalone certificate programs. These programs allow you to transfer up to 94 credit hours from your initial bachelor's degree and take approximately two additional years to complete. Because of their similarity to the programs detailed, they will not be addressed separately here.

Let's compare programs:

Bachelor's Master's
Who is this program for? Individuals who wish to teach in the public school system (K-12) Bachelor's degree holders who wish to obtain a teaching certificate and a master's degree
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) -Kindergarten/elementary or middle school teacher ($52,000)*
- High school teacher ($53,000)*
-Career paths for the master's degree are similar to bachelor's degree holders, although there may be more advancement opportunities available to those who hold the master's degree
Time to Completion 4 years, full-time 1-2 years after the bachelors, full time
Common Graduation Requirements - Approximately 120 credit hours
- State exams
-Successful completion of field experience/student teaching
- Approximately 21-36 credit hours
- All graduation requirements listed after the credit hour requirement in the bachelor's degree section are also applicable requirements for the master's degree
Prerequisites -High school diploma or equivalent
- Background check and initial assessment tests
-CPR and first aid certifications
-Proof of immunization(s) and/or a negative TB test
-Some require liability insurance prior to field work/student teaching
-Bachelor's degree
- Background check, CPR (and other) certifications and immunization, and insurance prerequisites are applicable to all degree levels
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2010 figures).


Bachelor's Degree with Teaching Certificate

Earning your teaching certificate with your bachelor's degree is perhaps the most traditional way to become a teacher. Teaching certificate age/grade levels vary by state, but generally there is a distinction made between elementary and secondary education certificates. Some programs/states go a step further and differentiate for middle school as well.

To earn your elementary education certificate, you will major in elementary education and receive a very broad foundation of classes that span subject matter. Secondary (and middle school) education programs and resulting certificates are generally subject specific. Thus, you will take a majority of classes in the subject matter you intend to teach.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • This degree enables you to make a difference by educating and encouraging young minds
  • Most school districts offer tenure which can increase job security
  • Most teachers have summers off and can pursue other interests during this time

Cons

  • Teaching jobs can be high stress and schools may have inadequate resources, supplies, and student to teacher ratios for effective teaching
  • You are responsible for and held accountable for the standardized test scores of your students
  • Students without regard to their education or the rules can make your job very difficult to do

Courses and Requirements

Courses and requirements will vary depending on which certificate your program is designed around. If you are getting your degree to become a secondary math teacher, you will have many more math courses than if you were in an elementary education or a secondary English certificate program. The same is true in reverse and for each subject.

Some courses you might take while earning your certificate regardless of concentration are:

  • Education psychology
  • Directed teaching
  • Literacy development
  • Human development
  • Education in a multicultural society
  • Teaching methods

You will also participate in observation of classrooms and field experiences through your classes. Additionally, you will have a student teaching/temporary teaching experience that lasts anywhere from around 15 weeks to a full year.

Online Degree Options

There are accredited online degree programs for teacher certificate completion that deliver all coursework and materials via distance education through online classes and tutorials. Additionally, all necessary supplies are sent directly to you. They also coordinate the necessary field experience/student teaching specifications for your state through your local school system and help to place you.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

You can apply for a federal program, called the TEACH grant, in which you receive federal funding for your schooling in exchange for majoring in a high need subject area and a commitment to teaching at a school that serves children from low-income families after you graduate. You should certainly at least check the list, it is possible that you are already planning to teach in one of the many high need areas listed.


Master's Degree with Teaching Certificate

Master's degree certificate programs are designed around individuals that already hold a bachelor's degree and are looking to transition into teaching.

A specific bachelor's degree major and minor may be required depending on state and program. But generally, even if you do not hold the major/minor combination with your original bachelor's degree, you can complete the necessary coursework to satisfy the necessary undergraduate prerequisites and then proceed with your master's degree.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Many programs have several options including weekend classes and online programs so that you can continue to work full-time while earning your master's degree (except when completing the student teaching/temporary teaching licensing portion of the program)
  • This degree enables you to bring your skills and dedication to the table and change the lives of students
  • Having a master's degree may allow you more advancement opportunities than just having a bachelor's degree

Cons

  • There are non-degree programs available to bachelor's degree holders that may allow you to begin teaching and earning income sooner and/or may be less costly
  • You will likely be applying for many of the same positions as those who hold a bachelor's degree
  • Earning potential after degree program may not be improved significantly

Courses and Requirements

As in most graduate programs, you will work directly with your adviser to tailor a coursework schedule that suits your own goals for the degree.

Some courses you might take while earning your certificate and master's degree are:

  • Early childhood
  • Integrating technology into the classroom
  • Alternative assessment models
  • Teacher as education leader
  • Literature for young adults
  • Relationship techniques

Student teaching and seminar classes are generally a part of this degree program and successful completion of these and other field experiences are required in order to earn your certificate and degree.

Online Degree Options

Master's degree and certificate programs are found that offer all coursework online and deliver any necessary materials directly to you. They can also coordinate your placement for student teaching and enable you to satisfy all other requirements necessary for licensure in your state while earning your master's degree.

Getting Ahead with this Degree

Taking special education classes or declaring a minor in special education can open up more employment opportunities for you once you graduate. Additionally, taking elective courses in communication, creativity, leadership, and developing your instruction and planning skills can not only make your resume more appealing but also better prepare you for the classroom after graduation.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • PhD in Education - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Ed.D. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Ed.D. - General Education
      • EdD - Learning Analytics in Higher Education
    Master's
      • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
      • MEd - General Education
      • M.Ed. - Early Childhood Education
    Certificate
      • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching
      • Education Specialist - Early Childhood Education
  • Online Programs Available
    2. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Education - Curriculum and Instruction
      • Master of Education - Elementary Education
      • Master of Education - Secondary Education
  • Online Programs Available
    3. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning
      • Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership - Behavioral Health
    Master's
      • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
      • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
      • M.S. in Sociology with an Emphasis in Education
      • M.A. in Reading with an Emphasis in Secondary Education
      • M.A. in Reading with an Emphasis in Elementary Education
      • M.Ed. in Elementary Education
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education
      • B.S. in Elementary Education with an Emphasis in Christian Education
      • Bachelor of Science in Math for Secondary Education
      • BS in Early Childhood
      • B.S. in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Certificate in Science, Technology, and International Security Studies
      • Certificate in Science Writing
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Ph.D. in Literacy
      • Ph.D. in Literacy: Educational Leadership
      • Ph.D. in Literacy: Special Education
      • Ph.D. in Literacy: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
      • Ph.D in Literacy: Literacy
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Teaching and Learning
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - Online College Teaching
      • Master: Education (for Practicing Teachers: K-12)
      • Master: Higher Education - College Teaching/Learning
      • Master: Nursing/Nurse Educator
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Early Childhood Administration
      • Undergraduate in Early Childhood
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.S. Athletic Training
    Bachelor's
      • B.S. Early Childhood Education - Non-Licensure
    Associate's
      • A.S. Early Childhood Education
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Saint Joseph's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • MS - Secondary Education with OATCERT Certificate
      • MS - Special Education with Wilson Reading Certificate
    Certificate
      • Certificate - Online Accelerated Teacher (OATCERT)
      • Certificate - Special Education

Featured Schools

Northcentral University

  • PhD in Education - Curriculum and Teaching
  • M.Ed. - Curriculum and Teaching
  • Education Specialist - Curriculum and Teaching

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Master: Education - Curriculum and Instruction
  • Master of Education - Elementary Education
  • Master of Education - Secondary Education

Are you a US citizen?

The George Washington University

  • Master of Arts in Education and Human Development in Organizational Leadership and Learning

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • Doctor of Education in Teaching and Learning with an Emphasis in Adult Learning
  • MA in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Certificate in Science, Technology, and International Security Studies
  • Certificate in Science Writing

What is your highest level of education?

Saint John's University

  • Ph.D. in Literacy
  • Ph.D. in Literacy: Educational Leadership
  • Ph.D. in Literacy: Special Education

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Teaching and Learning

What is your highest level of education?

Kaplan University

  • Master: Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers: Grades 5-12)
  • Master: Higher Education - Online College Teaching
  • BS in Early Childhood Administration
  • Undergraduate in Early Childhood

Which subject are you interested in?