Teaching refers to the study of pedagogy without emphasis in a particular subject area or targeted age group. Teaching programs, also called general education programs, are designed for students who wish to gain or enhance upon a general teaching education. As such, students are usually taught to give instruction in the core liberal arts disciplines. Certificates in general education may supplement a degree or give qualifications to a student without a degree in education. In addition, K-12 education certification is a way for education professionals to demonstrate command of a particular area.

Types of Teaching Certificates

Certificate Vocational

While most teaching degrees are well-suited for teachers, vocational certificates in general education are targeted toward teacher aides or those working toward a career as a teaching aide. Teacher aides must be prepared to assist teachers in all classroom activities. This certificate lets potential employers know that you not only have experience, but have a continued desire to improve as an educator. Each vocational certificate program has its own unique admissions process, but schools typically require:

  • Some teaching experience
  • A GED or its equivalent

General education vocational certificate programs may be completed in as little as two months. Over the course of the program, students will study areas such as curriculum design, instructional materials, classroom technology, cultural barriers and diversity in education, and classroom discipline. The online structure allows students to complete their training entirely from home. However, some programs include an optional student teaching element, which can be helpful as a means to network with schools and get a first-hand feel for the field.

What’s Next for Teaching Certificate Holders?

The vocational certificate in general education translates most effectively into a career as a teaching aide. However, with experience, aides may easily move to full teaching positions or lower-level administrative positions in private learning institutions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, teaching assistants made an annual median pay of $23,220 in May 2010.

Certificate holders may also consider further education options. Certificate credits readily transfer to most degree programs, fulfilling some of the basic core classes such that students may focus on courses pertaining more closely to their field of study. Students may opt to get their bachelor’s degree in education to be eligible to teach at public schools, assuming they have their basic teaching certification.