You are here
Home > New Teachers >

Where Do You Want To Teach? Navigating U.S. State Educator Certification Criteria

This is a guest post by Edward Kim from The Certification Map Team.


Joel, thanks for letting us write a guest post on your blog. This site is a great source for educators who want meaningful information with a down-to-earth touch.

For Joel’s regular readers, thanks for taking your time time to read this post. I want to start out by asking you a simple question: Do you know your state’s teacher certification requirements? How many of you have experienced or heard horror stories about people trying to navigate through your state’s Department of Education website trying to figure out the certification process (not to mention long phone conversations with the DOE that lead nowhere). It can be a tedious and frustrating process. Coupled with rapidly changing requirements which vary from state to state, it’s no wonder so many inspired people end up somewhere other than our classrooms.

Our team spent the past year building the MAT@USC. To do so, we needed to figure out how to help teachers become certified in all states and realized (pretty quickly), that there are no simple, comprehensive sources for certification information on the web.  So what did we do? Research. And lots of it. No, it wasn’t fun, but at the end we had developed a huge amount of information on how to become a certified teacher across the country.

While our original intent was to use this to help students interested in the MAT@USC, we also realized quickly that the program was highly selective, and therefore the majority of people wouldn’t be able to access this valuable information…..and great people, who should be teachers, would never see a classroom.

Well, it seemed both unfair and wasteful to go through all of the work to unravel the teacher certification process only to restrict who could benefit from the information, so we decided to use the data to launch Certification Map with the goal of helping future great teachers across the country break down and understand the certification process.

Please check out the site and let us know what you think. We are open to positive feedback as well as constructive criticism on how we could make it better. It is still a work in progress, after all, but we are committed to making it a great resource that is easy to use, informative, and up to date with the most recent state requirements.

7 thoughts on “Where Do You Want To Teach? Navigating U.S. State Educator Certification Criteria

  1. Anon,

    You’re right, the system is a total mess, and your questions are completely valid. Some of them we are working on, and some we hadn’t even thought of. Do you have answers to them? If so, we would love to speak with you about improving the page or just hear your thoughts and suggestions. If you reach out at or follow us at, we’ll get back in touch immediately.

    Thanks, and good luck to all aspiring teachers. It’s not an easy path, but it is a great one.

  2. The website is interesting and in theory a good idea, but I agree with the first comment. The information is overall rather vague, and doesn’t give specific information on cost, where my license is valid elsewhere. Also, another good tool to perhaps add to the map is what schools in the state are accredited for teaching students to become teachers. Also, I am a Spanish Education major, and there is no information at all (at least that I could see) about Foreign Language Education or other fields like Special Education- fields that are in high demand.

    I think the map is definitely on the right track, but could be improved for more future teachers benefit. Keep up the good work!

  3. I had hoped that there would be something for the Bahamas or maybe the Swiss Alps, but alas, it was nowhere to be found. As far as states goes, I agree with Maggie that it is on the right track. I would like to see something on special education certification across the country. But for a start-out, it looks like it could be helpful, especially for such a mobile society such as ours.
    Good Luck to the sponsors of this site.
    Tom Anselm

  4. When I finished college, something like your website would have been quite helpful. I obtained my degree in Pennsylvania, where I grew up. I wanted to teach in North Dakota.

    My college provided contact information for every state in the union with one notable exception (the one state where I wanted to teach). I asked about it and was first met with surprise — they honestly forgot North Dakota. Then I was told that I couldn’t get certified in North Dakota.

    Fortunately, I found the necessary contact information on my own. The people of ESPB (North Dakota’s licensing agency) were extremely helpful and friendly. I got my license quickly and, 10 years later, I’m still in North Dakota. Now, with the Internet so widely available, I suspect it would be even easier.

    1. Unfortunately ND hasn’t been so kind to me. I have been teaching for the past 7 years in Arizona, have a certificate for the state of North Dakota but because I went an alternate route to get my certification, North Dakota will not recognize it and does not care that I have 7 years of teaching with numerous hours of training and excellent recommendations and evaluations. I found the ESPB to be very rude to me and treat me like a second class citizen because I did not fit their “teacher mold”. I have no choice but to live in ND because my husband is stationed there, so I will not be teaching and probably will not go back to the profession. Because of ND I can’t do what I love.

  5. Ashlee, sorry for your bad experiences with ND. Have you considered private or religious schools? Sometimes they will have less stringent rules on hiring, but will be open to experience and education as qualifiers. Something to consider if you, as you seem to be, are really wanting to continue your career in the classroom.
    Tom Anselm

Comments are closed.