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What Are the Required Certifications for Computer Teachers?

Computer teachers are experienced in computer use and trained to share their knowledge with students. Obtaining the necessary education and experience can provide a firm foundation for teaching. Additionally, voluntary certification might enhance your teaching credentials.

Overview of Computer Teacher Certifications

Certification requirements for computer teachers vary depending on the position. Computer teachers may work in middle schools and high schools, colleges and universities, and corporations. Additionally, your pursuit of certification might depend on your area of expertise in computers, such as specific software or operating systems, information systems security, or networking.

Important Facts About Computer Teachers

Required Education Passing required exams, depending on type of certification; bachelor's/master's degree in related field and work experience
Median Salary (2018) $82,220 (for postsecondary computer science teachers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)8% growth (for postsecondary computer science teachers)
Specializations Operations/research analysis and design/function of computers
Similar Occupations Career and technical education teachers, postsecondary education administrators, sociologists, and historians

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Elementary and Secondary Teachers

Working within elementary and secondary education requires you to go through the traditional steps of becoming a teacher. The process includes majoring in computer science as well as completing a teacher education program, which leads to a teaching certificate. You'll be required to complete student teacher training, take the necessary professional qualifying exams, and become state-licensed to teach within the public school system. The PRAXIS series are the most common qualifying exams used, including the Technology Education exam for computer teachers. States do vary on the educational and testing requirements, so you should check with the state where you'd like to teach for exact requirements.

Postsecondary Teachers

Working in a college or university environment doesn't require any special certification. Depending on the college or university, the minimum requirement would be a bachelor's degree in the discipline and several years of work experience. Most colleges and universities prefer a master's degree with work experience and some teaching qualifications. You might also find universities that prefer to hire people with Ph.D.s in the discipline, and doctoral degree requirements might be more common for tenure-track positions. Having certification in a specialized area of computers might enhance your chances of working in academia.

Professionals

Another area where you can teach computers is within the private-sector business world. Much like postsecondary teaching, teaching business professionals typically doesn't require certification. A minimum of a bachelor's degree with numerous years of work experience or a master's degree with some work experience is most commonly preferred. Again, this can depend on the position and company where you work, as well as the type or area of computer instruction you provide.

Certification Options

As computer technology has expanded, so have certification opportunities. Certification can take the form of an overall knowledge of computers or focus on specializations in hardware, software or other computing components. Below are a few examples of certification opportunities:

  • Certified Computing Professional (CCP)
  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CISCO certifications (various)
  • Microsoft certifications (various)