Why is certification so important?
Teaching is the highest of professional callings. In the Seventh-day Adventist education system, people hired to teach children are required by the denomination to hold valid teaching certificates. Ultimately, the reason behind requiring teacher certification is to ensure that every child in our church has the best chance to learn from individuals who are knowledgeable about their field and skilled in the methods of teaching.
No system of certification requirements is guaranteed to produce excellent teachers, just as it is possible to be an excellent teacher without being certified. However, denominational certification is official recognition of the achievement of an acceptable level of personal, academic, and professional qualifications to practice the profession of instructing children and youth in a Seventh-day Adventist school setting. It is important to remember that these requirements are intended to provide minimum standards for the profession ― not a comprehensive listing of everything one will ever need to know to be competent in the classroom. Every practicing professional will embark upon a pathway of professional development, taking additional courses that suit his or her advanced needs once in the classroom.
Earning and maintaining your certification is one of the indicators of being a professional educator. Your certification allows you to teach, but more importantly, it is evidence that you have prepared yourself to do this special work. Certification is a badge that identifies you with a distinguished and select group of people to whom families entrust their children and youth. You have a great responsibility to measure up to this trust and to continually grow your knowledge, teaching skills, and relationship with Christ.
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Certification is an Opportunity
All professions follow a similar protocol for certification to that profession. Once a person achieves professional certification in a given area of study, they have undergone examination by some form of governing body or professional association that is willing to assure the candidates competence in the given field of knowledge. In most professions, a certificate is issued for a set duration of time, at which the candidate must recertify with the same governing body.
Qualifying for the appropriate certificate and maintaining it through continued professional preparation and growth is the responsibility of each professional educator. Professional educators welcome this opportunity. In today’s fast-paced technological society, change is the only constant. Maintaining current certification is one way to stay abreast of change and remain current.
Certification requirements vary from one subject to the next, and can be summarized into five categories:
1. Church Membership: an applicant for a denominational teaching certificate must be a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Church membership is to be verified by the employing organization.
2. Conduct Requirements: a teaching certificate will not be issued to any person who has been convicted of a felony or who has exhibited unethical or immoral conduct that would put children at risk, such as, but not limited to, child abuse. A certificate may be revoked or suspended for any reason that is cause for dismissal as provided for in the union education code. Ethical and moral conduct is to be verified by the employing organization.
3. Degree Requirements: an applicant for a certificate, except the Designated Subjects/Services Certificate, must hold a minimum of a baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited by AAA or a regional accreditation association.
4. Scholarship: grades below C- are not acceptable in the following:
- Academic majors or minors, including elementary or early childhood
- Professional education courses.
- Content area endorsements.
- Required religion courses (see Section 2.1.2.b of Certification Manual).
- Course work in health principles as based on the Bible and writings of
Ellen G. White.
5. Integration of Educational Technology: integration of educational technology into the classroom is a tool for teaching and learning rather than the focus of teaching and learning. It is not merely a set of technical skills or competencies but is a constantly growing set of instructional strategies built upon learning principles. Educators must complete one academic course that includes the concepts and the practice of integrating technology into the classroom and is designed to produce a positive impact on student learning in the classroom.
Levels of Certification
Six levels of denominational certificates are available: (a) Basic Teaching Certificate; (b) Standard Teaching Certificate; (c) Professional Teaching Certificate; (d) Administrator Certificate; (e) Designated Subjects/Services Certificate; and (f) Conditional Teaching Certificate.
For complete certification information go to the North American Division K-12 Educators’ Certification Manual. You will find the North American Division K-12 Educators’ Certification Manual on certification page. Just click on the icon of the certification manual on the right.
Remember that your profession is a gift and a calling, “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers.” ―Ephesians 4:11 nlt