What Different Types of Certificates are Available to Pursue?

Emily Coleman
Emily Coleman
English language development teacher for a cyber charter school; Ph.D. candidate in Strategic Leadership and Administrative Studies with Education concentration
Vector image of a person sitting with a laptop pointing up at the image of a piece of paper behind them that reads “certification.”

Teachers and educators are constantly learning new strategies and coming across different types of learners they hope to engage in their classes. Through these experiences, they may realize that they would like to learn more about a specific topic that can help them in their current position or open the door to new careers in education.

A teacher in this position should look into various certificate programs or endorsements to add to their current teaching license or certification.

What is a Certificate? How is It Different from an Endorsement?

It can be easy to mistake certificates for certification or teaching licenses. However, a certificate is an additional graduate education program that teachers may choose to complete in an area of interest. Completing a certificate program will show employers and others that you have taken different courses and passed all requirements to become an expert in that area.

Typically, these certificate programs are not another license; however, they prove that you have specific knowledge in an area. These are different than endorsements that teachers achieve. An endorsement shows what a teacher is licensed to teach. For example, a teacher may have an endorsement to teach Pre-K to fourth while another teacher has an endorsement to teach secondary French. Endorsements show the subject area, grade level, or special education that a teacher can teach.

What Different Types of Certificates are Available?

There is an enormous amount of certificate programs in which educators can partake. Each state varies and has specific designations of certificate programs. Be sure that the program you will take is a certified certificate program by your state’s department of education.

Some types of certificates are:

Autism Spectrum Disorder Certificate

This type of certificate program will allow special education teachers to work exclusively with children on the autism spectrum. This type of teacher usually has a self-contained classroom and assists autistic students in the general education population.

Information Technology Certificate

A teacher who has completed this program can teach students everything they need to know about how businesses use computers. Information technology degrees are prevalent in undergraduate studies. So, being able to expose younger children to this subject area will benefit them.

Pre-K to 12 Reading Instruction Certificate

Sometimes children need extra support with reading. This can happen in small-group instruction or one-on-one. Through coursework for this type of certificate, teachers will learn the vital teaching strategies to help struggling learners succeed.

STEAM Teaching Certificate

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) is very popular in education. Many schools are now creating STEAM programs in their schools. They look for teachers with this certificate and can provide the necessary activities and instruction in a STEAM class.

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Certificate

This certificate allows teachers to instruct English learners in their schools. It typically is for Pre-K to 12, but teachers need to verify their state’s regulations. The English learner population is constantly growing and needs more teachers to help them learn the language and engage with the content of their classes.

Environmental Education Certificate

Science teachers and non-science teachers may be interested in a program like this. They learn all about the environment, climate, and present-day problems. Then, they can make their students aware of what is happening around them and how they can change the direction regarding climate change.

Gifted and Talented Education Certificate

Students identified as gifted and talented have the opportunity to do extra activities with a teacher to develop their potential. Teachers of gifted and talented students need to know how best to work with these children to guide and support them.

How to Choose which Certificate is Right for Me

Throughout a teacher’s career, they need to take the time to reevaluate career goals. This should not just happen once or twice, but periodically to ensure that the teacher is always using their passion in teaching.

By researching different certificate programs allowed by your state department of education, you might find something that piques your interest. For example, you may realize that you want a career change from working with middle school ELA. However, you find great love in working with English learners. Therefore, you should begin a TESOL program to add that certificate to your teaching license.

No matter how many years you have been teaching one subject, it does not mean that you have to stay in that area for your entire career; many different specialty areas need passionate teachers. If you feel called to, look at the needs of your student population in your schools, find out the certificate programs in your area, and set your sight on new goals and a new area to work with students.

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