Nationwide, most credentialing programs are done state to state. In New York, credentialed teachers must also hold a Masters degree, while in places like California, teachers must only hold a teaching credential. But how will our nation’s credentialing program look in the next decade? Particularly after Common Core Standards are integrated into state systems? With the state of our nation’s education system as it stands, what should credentialing programs include?

Credentialing from State to State

Some states, like California, with the largest amount of teachers in the nation, require a two-tiered credentialing structure. Teachers hold a five year preliminary credential and must meet certain standards to receive their secondary credential. After that time, teachers renew their credential every five years. Other states require at least a one year program in addition to a bachelors degree, to qualify to teach.

It can be challenging for a credentialed teacher to become employed in a different state, because of these varied requirements. Though, many states have a “Reciprocity/State Licensure” program, sponsored by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTE). This enables teachers with credentials in one state to work in another.

Why Would Credentialing Change?

As it stands, credentialing breaks out according to grade levels in many state, until either the sixth grade or middle school, and then is subject-focused for secondary school. So elementary teachers have an elementary credential and high school teachers have single credentials in subjects like English or music. Additionally, teachers can pursue credentials in special education, second language learning and a number of more specific areas of studies. This holds true for most state systems.

However, with the introduction of the Common Core Standards, elementary teachers are encouraged to become credentialed in more specific subject areas, similar to the high school structure. Now, elementary teachers can, and in some cases, are required to hold not only an elementary credential, but also an elementary math credential, or science, or second language learner credential.

Why is This?

The crucial reality is our nation falls behind most all developed nations in the areas of math and science, and also reading, in some instances. Endemic to the problem is a lack of initiative for these college majors to find work or be inspired to teach the technical skills and knowledge our school children desperately need. The impetus simply hasn’t been there. At the same time, teachers have historically been weak in this area and under prepared to teach these subjects. The means necessitates the end. To solve this problem, additional focus is placed on how to teach Common Core Standards in math and science, with additional credentialing.

What you’ll see in 2020 is many students entering the field of education will be required to hold multiple degrees, in order to better prepare our nation’s students.

Outside Institutions Aiding in Preparation

In 2009, President Obama introduced “Race to the Top”, a program that encouraged exactly the kind of technical and math and science-related skills students will need to be successful in the future. The program was quickly embraced by both corporations and non-profits, who partnered with university degree programs to fund math and science student programs that also included a teaching certificate in these areas. Instead of education credentialing created primarily through government commissions, the private sector may change the scope of how credentialing can be administered.

In 2020, we’ll see teachers required to have multiple credentials. And because of increased ease in doing so, students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas, who may not have considered a degree in teaching, may have more reason to do so, adding increased competition in the process.

Also, teachers who have already held credentials for many years will be required to re-certify their credentials, in order to comply with these changing standards. Even now, there’s a trend on the elementary level toward rotating students to classrooms where they work with one teacher, all year, for that subject. And because STEM teachers are in demand, an additional credential in these areas at the elementary level will be valuable for those seeking employment.

Though the Common Core Standards have not completely taken root, and there’s still debate whether they’ll hold, the structure created by the standards seems to be flourishing. Expect credential programs in 2020 to include multiple credential programs, funding from outside sources, like major foundations and for the focus to be on advancing our students in math and science.

What are your expectations for 2020?

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