Early-career teachers often stand in front of their classrooms striving to figure out how to get through to their students.
That’s on top of worrying about job security, since school districts occasionally tighten their budgets.
It’s possible to address both those problems at once, by earning an endorsement or certificate. They give teachers the skills to break through to learners while at the same time making them more valuable to their school districts.
“The main value of endorsements is to expand job opportunity and increase job security.” — Stuart Ives Carrier, Ph.D., associate professor and director of NLU’s School of Advanced Professional Programs
Some degree programs confer endorsements
NLU offers a variety of endorsements and certificates, such as ESL/Bilingual, the Reading Teacher Endorsement, Special Education and others. Teachers who hold a Professional Educators License (PEL) can take coursework for individual endorsements, or enroll in degree programs, such as ESL master programs, which may also grant endorsements. For example, the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with Advanced Professional Specializations degree, which NLU recently revamped and placed at a lower tuition point, grants two endorsements as part of the program.
How to decide which option is best for you?
- First, know that there are shortages of teachers in areas such as special education and ESL/Bilingual, so if you feel a calling to work in those area, there is employment demand for them. A special endorsement or specialized master’s program will help you get there.
- Second, follow your passion. If you have always loved reading, for example, you might get the most fulfillment out of a reading teacher endorsement.
- Third, NLU’s Stuart Ives Carrier, Ph.D., associate professor and director of NLU’s School of Advanced Professional Programs, recommended that early-career teachers be acquainted with the area in which they are considering an endorsement. “If a teacher is in a multilingual classroom and seeks techniques and methodology acquainted with that field, an endorsement will give them a leg up,” he explained.
- Fourth, teachers considering an endorsement should look at their current classrooms. “Reflect on what you’re seeing there, and see which endorsement could enhance it,” Carrier said.
How many endorsements to get?
Consider also how many endorsements you’d like to get, and whether it may make sense for you to pursue a master’s, educational specialist or doctoral degree. Many teachers have added to their professional status by acquiring two or three endorsements. Deeply experienced educators may have as many as six.
“Someone who gains that higher number of endorsements–four, five or six–typically rises into instructional leadership or educational administration,” Carrier observed.