Teachers cannot stand still. Any teacher - who wants to advance in position and/or salary - is in for a life of continuing education. One proof is the Professional Credential awarded on completion of a course of study.
There has been shift in public education accountability. Parental and departmental governance demand retention of quality teachers and dismissal of incompetent ones. It has always been difficult to agree on performance measures. But, proof of education advancement do contribute to the promotion of quality teachers.
Public education usually requires a Bachelor's Degree in Education. Previously, a degree in subject area would do. But, public education oversight now values skills and experience in Classroom Management and Pedagogy - at all school levels. There is also demand for some more specific talents, such as special needs, remedial reading, and developmental writing
Add the problem that requirements vary from state to state and standards get fuzzy and difficult to measure. But, to retain good teachers, sustain overall quality, and advance teachers in title and pay, you must deal with what you have. And, what you have is the teacher's need to actively pursue continuing education through state departments, school systems, and professional associations or from colleges, live or online.
Teachers can complete a Bachelor's Degree on campus or get an online education degree. Community colleges offer degrees on completion of approximately 60 hours. This is basically a major in humanities with electives in education. Four-year colleges on campus may require 120-134 credits including an in-school practicum. These degrees often take longer than anticipated when students have to compete for class availability - not a problem for online programs.
A Master's Degree in a subject area - History, Math, and English - will fatten your resume. But, a degree in some aspect of Education has more impact. Employers want you to bring tools to your work, and most certificates build tools. However, graduate school can also open careers in administration, Special Ed, or counseling. Online programs in these areas may be more manageable in terms of your current workload and work-life balance.
The most employable teachers of the future are those who make the future today's skill-set. Through studies in multi-classroom teaching, blended learning, remote education, and elementary specialization, certificates will direct your teaching future and the students' learning models.
There is an increasing market demand for early learning development know-how. Pre-K and Kindergarten are less seen as babysitters and more as crucial developmental opportunities. Certificates in this area certify methodology more than content, child psychology more than classroom maintenance. Look into programs Art for Healing, Autism Added Authorization, or Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Some teachers do not work at the head of the class. They become master teachers, leads, or mentors where their class is made up of other teachers. This path may lead to consideration for roles in student counseling, instructional coordinators, school librarians, or principals.
Teachers can mark their career advancement and potential as a consequence of their own education, degrees, seminars, and certifications.