The New Era of Teacher Licensure EndorsementsFew would argue the fact that the demands placed on our school system in recent years have brought a new level of complexity to education. Some of the primary issues at hand include accommodation of greater student diversity, the need for enhanced technology, teacher shortages, and the implementation of the new Common Core standards. One way schools prepare themselves to remain successful is through the professional development of their teachers—including education endorsement programs.

Education endorsement programs have been a part of the teacher certification process for decades. Simply put, an endorsement is a notation on an existing educator’s teaching license that identifies specific subjects, grades, or areas of expertise he or she is allowed to teach. They are designed to broaden one’s teaching abilities and signify an area of expertise. And, depending on the type of endorsement, the teacher may also be allowed to provide professional services in the school.

What does it take to earn an endorsement? Generally, an endorsement requires the successful completion of coursework from an accredited institution as well as a practicum or fieldwork. Once completed, the teacher must take and pass the state exam on their particular subject matter. As a final step, the teacher must submit an application to their state board of education to have the endorsement added to their existing teacher’s license. Fortunately, most endorsements can be added to both three-year and five-year licenses, though the exact requirements may vary by state and area of expertise.

Educators wishing to expand their level of expertise have a wide range of available options from which to choose, including foreign languages, special education, speech communication, music, reading and literacy, English as a second language (ESL), and more. While most teachers select a teacher endorsement program based on their own interests, others may be asked to fill a particular need at their school or are required to earn a particular endorsement in order to maintain their position.

Teachers who are exploring programs and institutions from which to earn their endorsement have literally thousands of options available—both on campus and online. When choosing the best fit, it’s important to consider whether the university is an accredited institution, the convenience of completing the requirements while working, the price of tuition, whether it is reimbursable by the school or district, and the particular endorsements available.

In terms of professional development, teacher licensure endorsements are a great way for educators to differentiate themselves, strengthen their teaching skills, and expand their level of knowledge in a new or familiar area. However, one of the greatest attributes of any endorsement program is that the educational benefits extend well past the newly credentialed educator, touching every student they teach.

Looking to add an education endorsement to your teaching license? Explore Walden University’s Reading K-12 Endorsement Program.

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