Picture this: You begin your lesson, and the students are engaged in the material. They finish up the class and the students file out, leaving the room clean and organized. You leave with a feeling of satisfaction-you were able to teach a class that was both informative and fun. You love your job and your students love you.
Sounds like your ideal life?
Teaching is one of the most important jobs in our modern society. Kids need good role models and someone to help them learn and grow. Teachers are the heart of the education system, they play a big part in the education of our kids. And in order to do so, they must be certified.
Unfortunately, the cost of getting a teaching certification can be prohibitive for some people. But there are a few ways to save money on your education.
In this article, you are going to learn about the cheapest online teaching certifications. You will walk away with the knowledge to make an informed decision about which route to take for your education.
Your Path to Becoming an Educator
Before we get into the ways to save money on your teaching certification, let’s first talk about the different types of certifications. There are four main types of teaching certification:
- Initial Certification — Also known as an entry-level certification, this type of certification is for those who have not yet completed a teacher education program. This is the first step in your path to becoming an educator.
- Provisional Certification — This type of certification is for those who have completed a teacher education program but have not yet passed all the required exams. In order to be eligible for this type of certification, you must complete all the requirements within five years.
- Standard Certification — This is the most common type of teaching certification and is required in most states. To be eligible for this type of certification, you must have a bachelor’s degree, complete a teacher education program, and pass all the required exams.
- Professional Certification — This is the highest level of certification and is reserved for those who have been teaching for a certain number of years. In order to be eligible for this type of certification, you must have a master’s degree, complete a teacher education program, and pass all the required exams.
To get started on the teaching path, you’ll need to decide which type of certification is right for you. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to look into initial certification programs. These are typically cheaper and faster than completing a full teacher education program, but come with severe limitations as to what you can teach.
Once you have your certification, the next step is finding a job. The best way to do this is by visiting your state’s department of education website. They will have a list of all the open teaching positions in your state.
Another way to find job openings is by visiting the websites of school districts in your area. Many times, they will post job openings on their website as well.
You can also check out websites that specialize in listing education jobs, such as Teach Away or Education America.
Once you have found a few open positions that you’re interested in, the next step is to apply. Many times, you can do this directly through the school’s website.
The final step in the process is to interview for the position. This is your chance to sell yourself and show why you would be the best candidate for the job.
Preparing for Your Interview
The best way to prepare for your interview is to practice beforehand. You can do this by role-playing with a friend or family member, or even by recording yourself on video.
Another way to prepare is by researching the school district and the specific school you will be interviewing for. This way, you can be sure to tailor your responses to what they are looking for in a candidate.
By following these steps, you will be well on your way to becoming an educator. And by taking the cheapest route possible, you will save yourself a lot of money in the process.
Now that you know the path to become a teacher, let’s see some of the cheapest online teaching certifications you can get.
The 5 Cheapest Online Teaching Certifications
There are a few different ways to get certified to teach online. The cheapest way is through an accredited online teaching program. You’ll want to make sure that the program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).
Another way to get certified is through a state-approved online teaching program. These programs are typically cheaper than NCATE or TEAC accredited programs, but they may not be as widely recognized.
Whichever route you decide to take, make sure you do your research so that you can be sure you’re getting the best value for your money.
Without further ado, let’s get into our list.
This is an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree offered by St. Petersburg College in Florida. It focuses on early childhood, so it’s perfect if you want to work with kids.
Being an associate’s degree, it only takes two years to complete. And at only $111 per credit hour (for Florida residents), it is one of the cheapest online teaching certification programs you can find.
Not only is it cheap, but it’s also a well-recognized program. In fact, it is approved by the Florida’s Department of Education, which is one of the most stringent departments in the country.
You can get a certificate by specializing in one of 3 areas within the program:
- Early child development certificate — This is aimed at those who want to teach kids aged 0 to 4. You’ll work in close contact with the kids’ families to ensure their development is on track.
- Infant and toddler specialization certificate — This is perfect for those who want to work as a preschool or Head Start teacher.
- Preschool specialization certificate — As the name suggests, this certificate is for those who want to teach preschool.
Tuition is very affordable for local students (those who live in Florida). Expect to pay around $2,700 a year for your tuition.
However, if you’re a domestic student instead, your tuition costs will balloon. You’ll have to pay around $10,000 yearly in tuition if you aren’t a Florida resident.
2. Bachelor of Arts in Special Ed and Elementary Ed. (Dual Licensure) at Western Governors University, Utah
This is a dual licensure program that will certify you to teach both special education and elementary education. While most programs would require you to complete two separate programs, this one lets you do it all in one go. That’s why it’s perfect for those who want to get certified as quickly as possible.
In this program, you’ll learn how to teach kids with special needs, as well as how to differentiate instruction for different learners. You’ll also get teaching experience through practicums and student teaching.
The program is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), which is a regional accreditation body.
WGU is a bit different from other universities, in that it uses a competency-based learning model. That means you progress through the program by demonstrating your mastery of the material, rather than completing a set number of credit hours.
Because of this, the cost of the program varies depending on how long it takes you to complete it.
The average student completes the program in about 36 months, which would cost around $22,000. However, if you’re a fast learner and can finish the program in 12 months, your total costs would be around $13,500.
The program takes around four years to complete and will cost you $7,452 per six-months term. That means you’ll only pay around $29,808 in total for your degree, assuming you take the full four years to finish the program.
So there you have it, three cheap online teaching certification programs that can help you save money on your education. Be sure to do your research.
While that may sound like a lot, it’s actually quite cheap compared to other programs. In fact, most programs would easily cost you over $30,000 for the same kind of education.
This is a bachelor of science (B.S.) degree offered by Granite State College in New Hampshire. Like the program at St. Petersburg College, this one is also focused on early childhood education.
However, this program is a bit more comprehensive as it covers elementary education as well. This makes sense, as it is a bachelor’s degree, meaning it takes 4 years to complete.
This means that you’ll be able to teach kids aged 0-12 once you finish this program. And like the program at St. Petersburg College, it is approved by the state of New Hampshire’s Department of Education. Alternatively, the program leads to a non-certification path focused on coursework for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Warning: If you want to become a teacher, go for the certified path. The other one is not going to lead to a teaching job.
The tuition is $314 per credit hour for New Hampshire residents and $370 for out-of-state students. This makes the yearly cost of the program around $7,791 for in-state students and $9,015 for out-of-state students.
One thing to note is that this program is only available online. So if you’re looking for an in-person program, this isn’t the one for you.
Fort Hays State University’s Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education is a four-year program that will certify you to teach kids from kindergarten to sixth grade.
The program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is approved by the Kansas State Department of Education. It’s also aligned with the standards set by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Tuition for Kansas students is $5,443. MSEP (Midwest Student Exchange Program) students pay $7,517 per semester. Out-of-state students without the MSEP pay $15,890 per semester.
This means that you’ll likely pay between $21,886 and $33,348 for the entire program, depending on your state of residence.
Editor’s note: FHSU lets you pay for a ‘local’ tuition even if you aren’t a local. You just have to be from one of the 13 states affiliated with FHSU. Here’s the map to see if you qualify.
This is a bachelor’s degree program that will prepare you to teach kids in p-12 classrooms—so everything from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.
This degree will give you all the necessary tools to be an effective teacher. From planning lessons to implementing a study plan that gets your students going.
VCSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); and approved by the State of North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB).
Tuition for North Dakota residents is $6,364 per semester. Out-of-state residents pay $11,137 per semester.
So if you’re an out-of-state student, you’re looking at $44,500 for the entire program. Add a $1,800 fee for access to technological stuff, and you’ll see it’s out-of-reach for domestic residents.
However, there are numerous states that get access to cheaper tuition compared to the domestic one. It’s not as affordable as local North Dakotans, but it’s still decent. Check this page to see if your state is listed among those who enjoy cheaper tuition.
These are just a few of the programs available to you if you want to become a certified teacher without breaking the bank. With a
An Alternative Way to become a Teacher
There were times when the U.S. had a teacher shortage. And when there aren’t enough teachers, the nation as a whole suffers. You want kids to have the best education possible, so they can grow up to be productive citizens.
But what if you don’t want to go back to school for four years? What if you can’t afford it?
Fortunately, there is another way to do it. But you’ll need to already have at least a bachelor’s degree.
First off, make sure to pick a program certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). The NBPTS is “the gold standard” for teacher certification, and it’s recognized by all 50 states.
Then, contact a school district with a teacher shortage. Get them to request to have you as an emergency teacher to weather the shortage. You’ll have to pass a criminal background check and take a few tests at this point.
But if you’re hired, you’ll be able to teach. And, depending on the circumstances, you might be able to turn your temporary emergency certificate into a permanent one.
Warning: Not all states allow you to turn a temporary certificate into a permanent one. In these cases, when your certificate expires you’re out of luck.
So, if you want to become a certified teacher without going back to school full-time, this is the best way to do it.
Another thing to be mindful of is the Praxis exam.
The Praxis Exam
Some programs will also require you to take the Praxis exams. These are tests that measure your knowledge and skills in specific subject areas. You’ll need to pass these exams before you can get your teaching certification.
The cost of the Praxis exams varies, but it’s usually around $150 per exam. You may be able to get a discount if you’re a member of an organization like the National Education Association (NEA) or the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
Once you’ve passed the Praxis exams, you’ll need to apply for your teaching certification. The cost of the application varies from state to state, but it’s usually around $100.
And that’s it! Once you’ve gone through the alternative certification program and gotten your teaching certification, you’ll be ready to start your career as a teacher.
So, there you have it! These are just a few of the ways you can get your teaching certification without breaking the bank. With a little bit of research, you should be able to find a program that’s right for you.
Before enrolling into any of these programs, you must make sure teaching is what you want to do in your life. It’s a demanding job, and it’s not for everyone. And it’s also crucial to society’s well being.
That is particularly true if you decide to pick a career path that gets you to work with young kids. Their minds are very malleable, and you can give them a perspective that is conductive to a life of intellectual enrichment if you do your job well.
And there’s nothing better as a teacher to see a student of yours grow up to be a productive and successful citizen. It’s one of the most rewarding jobs out there. So, if you think you have what it takes, go for it!
Just remember: do your research, pick the right program for you, and make sure teaching is the career for you. And you’ll be on your way to a fulfilling career in no time.