With all the talk of undergraduate and graduate-level education programs, the typical postgraduate certificate in education tends to get lost in the mix. This certificate is a powerful tool, however, for aspiring teachers who did not major in education at the undergraduate level and wish to become certified in the field at a later point in life. It’s also the key way for school principals and administrators to land jobs in school leadership. This postgraduate certificate comes in many forms, each of them appealing to a different type of aspiring or existing educator.
School Leadership and Administration Certificates
Many postgraduate certificates in education focus not on teaching skills, but instead on leading a school at the administrative level. In fact, most principals simply have to complete a certificate program in this area before they’re granted a job leading an elementary or high school. These certificates range from roughly 21 credits to as many as 54 credits, and they include a wide variety of topics spanning law, content standards, conflict resolution, leadership, administration, hiring, and student affairs. Most of these certificates are completed within 1-3 years, giving aspiring principals a valuable credential as they conduct their job search.
Though the leadership certificate is perhaps the most commonly known postgraduate certificate in the education field, it’s certainly not the only one. Other options exist for aspiring teachers who educators who must complete a set number of continuing education requirements during the course of their career.
The Certificate as Stepping-Stone to Teacher Certification
Many aspiring teachers find themselves drawn to the profession after several years in a different field. Luckily, most college degrees can be paired with a postgraduate certificate in education as a way to qualify a new teacher for state certification. This is done by using the certificate as the “education major” and using a student’s undergraduate major as their “content area.” Effectively, completion of the certificate qualifies the aspiring teacher to work in secondary education.
The postgraduate certificate, in this case, would require students to master classroom management, lesson planning, state standards, and educational technology. Students would need to master child psychology as well, with at least one student teaching placement prior to their completion of the certificate’s curriculum. Certificate students would need to take the PRAXIS-I and PRAXIS-II exams, achieving passing scores on both in order to student teach and qualify for professional certification. After meeting those requirements, the certificate acts as a major stepping-stone to a career in the education field.
Professional Development Through Certificate Programs
Many certificate programs are designed specifically to appeal to teacher who must meet state-mandated professional development milestones throughout their career. These certificates may focus on a very specific skill or content area within education, like classroom management, educational policy, or state standards alignment. Postgraduate certificates that focus on these areas typically have fewer classes and require fewer credits prior to completion. They fulfill a need for many teachers, and in most states, they allow for a salary increase due to a “jump” in the pay scale after completing a set number of postgraduate credits.
Certificates Offer Great Opportunities to New or Future Educators
Certificate programs are a key way for teachers to focus on professional development and career advancement. They’re also an excellent way for non-teachers to move into the education profession without an undergraduate degree in the field. Thanks to excellent postgraduate certificate in education in all types of fields, it’s never been easier for teachers of all backgrounds to stay current with technologies, trends, and new policies.