What Certification Do I Need to Be a Lead Teacher?

Lead teachers mentor new or fledgling teachers and are often part of a school's administration. Certificate programs are available that can train you to work as a lead teacher in a variety of subjects or in early childhood education. Read more about the training, certification process and typical earnings for lead teachers. Schools offering Early Childhood Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Training Programs Are Available for Lead Teachers?

A select number of institutions have established academic programs for prospective lead teachers. Many of these programs are designed for experienced teachers seeking administrative and leadership training. Depending on your level of interest, you can find graduate certificate programs for lead teaching in specialized subjects, such as math and reading, or focus on broader areas like elementary education and policy.

Program Areas Administration, leadership, specialized subjects, elementary or secondary education
Online Availability Fully available online
Common Course Topics Psychology, behavior, child development, field-specific courses, professional development
Certification Requirements vary by state
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $54,890 (elementary school teachers, except special education)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Are Lead Teacher Programs Available Online?

Some schools offer education classes online that are for professional teachers seeking administrative training. Some of the online courses may be used as credit in a traditional lead teacher certificate program; however, you'll need to check with your school to make sure. Online courses typically require you to have a high-speed Internet connection and a modern Internet browser. Software programs such as Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word may also be required.

What Will I Learn?

Lead teacher programs are comprised of advanced education courses in addition to classes that cover psychology, nutrition and behavior. For example, in an early childhood education lead teacher program, you'll likely find courses in child safety, child development and preschool curriculum. Most programs also provide professional development training so that you can communicate advanced teaching skills and techniques to other teachers at your school. Field-specific programs typically include basic and advanced courses for K-8 children.

Do I Need to Be Certified?

The procedures to become a certified lead teacher vary by state. For example, in Massachusetts you'll need to apply for state certification through the Executive Office of Education (EDU), which offers the Early Education and Care Lead Teacher certification. The EDU requires prospective lead teachers to have at minimum of nine months of professional experience in addition to your bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field. You should check with your state to see if certification is voluntary.

What Could I Earn?

Specific salary information for lead teachers isn't commonly available. However, May 2015 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the median annual salary of elementary school teachers (excluding those in special education) was $54,890 (www.bls.gov).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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