By the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, there are three requirements that certified teachers are obligated to fulfill:
- Earn at least a bachelor's degree
- Earn full state certification or licensure
- Prove that they know each subject they teach
While NCLB has standardized requirements for what constitutes a "highly qualified" teacher, how these standards are measured is left up to individual states. For the third requirement, each state individually determines what assessments to use in order to measure your skills and knowledge in regards to a particular subject. In some states this may take the form of a test, while in other states they may ask you to submit a portfolio with examples of your work.
When does my certificate expire?
Your initial teaching certificate is good for three years. When that certificate expires, there is a renewal program to complete, consisting of various types of professional development. If you complete the renewal requirements, you earn a continuing certificate that is good for five years.
The 10-year Certificate - National Board Certification
Another option is earning National Board Teaching Certification, which is good in all fifty states and lasts for ten years. In order to earn this special certificate, you must complete a yearlong program of lesson analysis, submit videos of yourself teaching, write several papers on your teaching practice, and pass a test.