Professional Certification / Licensing
All states in the United States require teachers to be licensed. Each state certifies teachers within that state. No national standards exist so each state is responsible for training. Teacher preparation models generally fall into three categories: (a) 4-year bachelor’s degree credential, (b) 5-year post–bachelor’s degree credential, and (c) alternative credential. The alternative model, created to meet critical teacher shortages, differs from the first two models by teachers receiving formal teacher preparation coursework while being employed in the classroom. Research reveals no substantial difference in the quality of teachers produced by these various credential models. Two national organizations have the mission to improve preparation programs through accreditation: National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). In an attempt to ascertain the overall quality of training provided by different programs, National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) publishes a comprehensive evaluation of preparation program quality. The Teacher Prep Review ranks 1,612 undergraduate and graduate elementary and secondary programs that produce 99% of teachers who get traditional pre-service training in the United States.