For Pre-Service Teachers: Is Your Teacher Preparation Program Accredited?
If you’re planning to enroll in a teacher education program, it’s absolutely necessary that you find an accredited one. Without accreditation, programs are unable to guarantee that graduates will meet the standards required for certification. But what exactly goes into a program’s accreditation? We’ve broken down the in’s and out’s of what “accreditation” really means and what you need to know about it.
How are teacher education programs accredited
Accreditation is the process of granting approval to an institution of learning by an official review board, on the meeting of specific requirements. Each state in America can designate an accreditation agency for approving its teacher preparation programs. The primary goal of the accreditation agency is to set standards for these programs and ensure that schools, colleges, and universities meet these minimum standards. The state can either adopt the standards of a specific agency or it can develop its own standards. Teacher education programs must meet these standards in order to be recognized as an “accredited program.” Most states certify only those individuals who graduate from such accredited programs.
Why is accreditation of teacher education programs necessary?
Accreditation provides credibility to the institution and its programs. Accreditation is a way to promote public confidence in graduate teachers and teacher educators and is considered a sign of the quality of education dispensed at these institutions of learning. Accreditation of teacher preparation programs ensures that prospective teachers are well equipped to meet the challenges of the teaching profession.
Teacher education accreditation is in a state of transition. The two major teacher education accreditation agencies, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), have decided to merge and create a new organization called the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP). This is an ongoing process, and no date has yet been given for the completion of this merger. Before diving into the particulars of the new agency, it’s important to understand the history of NCATE and TEAC, because of their historical significance.
NCATE is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, consisting of over 30 member associations representing the education community. It was founded in 1954 by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), the NEA, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the National School Boards Association (NSBA).
Why does NCATE accreditation matter to me?
The aim of the NCATE is to bring accountability to teacher preparation and to improve teacher preparation programs to ensure that graduates of these programs possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and temperament to enable students to learn. It also strives to ensure that schools, colleges, and universities are relevant and productive in today’s information age.
The NCATE accredits schools, colleges, and departments of education, as well as other institutions that prepare teachers. It’s important to train teachers for 21st-century classrooms, with their diverse mix of cultures, religions, and ethnic groups. To achieve this, the NCATE believes that every child should be taught by competent, qualified, and caring teachers.
What role toes TEAC play in program accreditation?
TEAC was founded in 1997 with the aim of improving teacher education programs across the nation. TEAC’s main focus is on accrediting undergraduate and graduate professional education programs to ensure that they are of the highest quality. The teacher education program receives the accreditation, not the college, school, or department.
To receive accreditation from TEAC, programs have to provide evidence that their program is of the highest quality. Schools that would like to apply for TEAC membership must first gain candidate membership, and then successfully matriculate through the accreditation process.
You want to be the best teacher you can be, which means receiving the best education and training possible. To find that, you’ll need to look for an accredited program. Understanding the in’s and out’s of accreditation will help you find the program most qualified to help you move forward with your career dreams.