The 20 Fastest Teacher Certification Programs Online for 2021

If you are looking to become a certified teacher then, good for you! Teachers are in great need in a number of regions and subject areas. The process to become certified varies from state to state and many national organizations offer incentives, training programming and mentorship opportunities for individuals who are looking to pursue a career in teaching.

fastest teacher certification programs

Teaching is a difficult job and one that really requires excellent training to do well. These programs provide their candidates with real-world experiences along with expedited certification. The issue with heading back to school is time and money which is why we examine teacher certification options that were efficient with your time. Some programs require an intensive during the summer and others require two or three years of training and furthering of your education. Some programs such as the one in Mississippi even offer debt-free master’s degrees.

Related Article: The Most Lucrative Education Jobs And the Degrees That Can Prepare You

Table of Contents

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a teacher certificate program?

A teacher certification program is offered to those who are not interested in earning a four-year bachelor’s degree in the field of education. They are readily available in most states and are a much quicker option to getting you out into the classroom faster.

How long will it take me to complete a teacher certification program?

Teacher certification programs vary widely in terms of how long it will take you to complete it. Depending on the school and your state’s recommendations, your program could take 18 months to three years. In addition, student teaching/internship opportunities may also be required to earn your certification.

Will a teacher certificate program lead to licensure?

Often these accelerated programs in teaching do lead you through the coursework required to sit for your teaching license exam. Please check into your state’s requirements and license examination availability before signing on to a certification program… and, be sure your program will prepare you!

METHODOLOGY

Let us help you find the fastest teacher certification online program that fits your educational requirements for starting a new career, a job promotion, or simply meeting your personal goals. Our researchers at PremiumSchools.org utilize these indicators of excellent academic standards to locate exceptional teaching programs designed just for you. 

The following programs are listed in random order. As each and every school displays its own unique qualities and strengths, you should search our list based on your needs and career aspirations.

The following factors were considered: 

  • Offers teacher certification classes for flexible or convenient attendance without compromising hands-on training,
  • Exhibits rigorous, yet engaging and innovative training in the field of teaching that takes into account the readiness of students in taking the next step to their budding career,
  • Taught by outstanding faculty consisting of experts in the field of education,
  • Held in high esteem among academic resources,
  • Displays stellar reviews and feedback from alumni and students,
  • Offers a convenient application process,
  • Provides affordability in teacher certification options,
  • Ensures the proper Accreditation in accordance with academic standards in the field of teaching.

If you would like to learn more about our selection process, feel free to see our Methodology page! 

Fastest Teacher Certification Programs You Can Get Online

University of Connecticut

University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut is ranked as the 63rd best school in the nation. According to the US News and World Report, the University of Connecticut ranked highly for value, veterans, engineering programming. UConn currently enrolls over 27,000 students and maintains a student to faculty ratio of 16 to 1. Offerings include programming both on-campus and online. In recent years, UConn has expanded its online degree offerings to include online programming for graduates and professionals seeking certification.

The teacher certification program for college graduates is part of the NEAG school of education. The program operates out of their regional campuses: Avery Point, Waterbury, and Downtown Hartford. The certification areas are as follows: at Avery Point mathematics, science, and special education. Downtown Hartford, architectural education, English education, mathematics, science, social studies, special education, and world languages education. At Waterbury, Agricultural education, English education, mathematics, science, social studies, special education, and world languages education. Most programs may be completed in just 11 months.

Learn more about the University of Connecticut’s teacher certification program.


Western Governor’s University

Western Governor's University

Western Governors University WGU is a new type of online learning. Their competency-based curriculum helps to make programming more affordable and faster. Competency-based learning advances students based on their knowledge not on the number of hours spent in class time or credit hours. Meaning, students who learn the material more quickly or already have pre-requisite knowledge of the material may progress through it more quickly. Students may study IT teaching, health nursing, as well as business applications entirely online. WGU makes it its mission to expand access to online education. If you are hesitant to go back to school due to price or time, WGU may be a good option for you.

WGU offers an online bachelor of arts in elementary education. This program leads to teacher licensure. On average students complete this bachelor’s degree in half the time a regular bachelor’s degree is completed. Financial aid is available for this program; simply apply using your FAFSA. This online program is 40 courses in total and includes general education classes, a professional core, elementary education methods, demonstration teaching, and pre-clinical experiences.

For more information about this accelerated program head to their website to check out their BA in Elementary Education program.


Saint Joseph’s University

Saint Joseph's University

Saint Joseph’s University is a regionally ranked university located in Philadelphia. It was founded in 1851 and enrolls over 7000 students. The student to faculty ratio is 10 to 1. The university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. In recent years, St. Joseph’s University has offered a number of online degree programs for those seeking a master’s degree as well as individuals seeking professional certification.

One such certification program is their online graduate certificate in education. This is an accelerated teacher certification. The OATCERT is a 30 credit hour program that includes coursework in the historical and contemporary perspectives in education, adolescent psychology, diagnostic assessment, and progress monitoring, foundations and current issues in special education, theory and practice core courses, and field experiences.

For more information about St. Joseph’s University’s accelerated certification program, check out their website for their program offerings.


University of Southern California

University of Southern California

The University of Southern California is a nationally ranked institution located in Los Angeles. According to the US News and World Report, the University ranks as 24th best school in the nation and highly for veterans, value, undergraduate engineering, study abroad programming, business programming, and much more.

The university offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees as well as professional certifications. As a research university, there are a wide number of academic programs in fields like education, health, mathematics, psychology, the visual and performing arts, and much more. In recent years USC has begun to offer an increasing number of online degrees for our graduate students as well as individuals seeking professional certification.

USC offers professional certification in teaching online. Their online program is a Master of Arts in Teaching. Participants may focus on a multiple subject teaching programs in elementary education or a single subject teaching program and secondary education. Students will have the option to add a gifted and talented certificate, special education certificate, or a bilingual authorization for a Spanish certificate.

The program may be completed in three semesters including a fall semester, a spring semester, and a fall semester the following year. Graduates are then eligible to become recommended for a California teaching credential. Students will study the following: curriculum and pedagogy, ethics and equity access, language development, curriculum and pedagogy, literary development, and instruction in either elementary education or in secondary education, in addition to blended learning experiences for students in urban schools.

Learn more about USC’s Master of Arts in Teaching program. Take a look!


Teach For America

Teach For America

Teach for America TFA is an opportunity to earn a teacher certification and gain employment as a teacher. The purpose of the program is to recruit and train prospective teachers to the field. To be eligible to join TFA you must have a GPF of 2.50 and have US citizenship or be a national legal resident.

All applicants should have a bachelor’s degree by the first day of their training and the four TFA characteristics as outlined on the TFA website: “a deep belief and the potential of our kids, demonstrated ability to create meaningful change, a strong commitment to learning, and an ability to work in partnership with others.” Individuals accepted to this program agree to a two-year teaching commitment. If you become a core member you are required to attend an intensive summer training program to prepare for your two-year commitment. Each region has different requirements but generally includes an instructional introduction and a 5 to 7-week residential institute including teaching a summer school.

Would you like more information? Check out what TFA has to offer!


American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence

American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence

The American Board for the certification of teacher excellence offers an online teacher certification program. The teacher certification program is eligible for the following states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin.

This is a self-paced flexible program and earns teachers their certification in less than one year. Participants are able to study wherever they want at a pace that works with their schedule. If you are a professional who is looking to return to work to become a teacher, this program may be for you.

For an accelerated teaching certificate, see if the American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence organization can help you out!


TNTP Teaching Fellows

TNTP Teaching Fellows

The TNTP Teaching Fellows Program it’s an affordable and high-quality teacher training program focused on students in need. The program seeks to help students and end systemic racism and educational inequality.

Here’s how it works: choose an area you would like to teach, as well as where you would like to teach it. TNTPTT Fellows currently exist in Baltimore, Indianapolis, and New Orleans. You will learn the fundamentals of great teaching during your summer training program and secure a position in a local partner school. Our participants will get personalized coaching and have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to teach. Upon completing the demonstration phase you will be recommended for your certification. This is an accelerated program that may be completed in one summer.

Need more info? Take a look at what TNTP Teaching Fellows has to offer!


Academy for Urban School Leadership

Academy for Urban School Leadership

Chicago Teacher Residency is offered through the Academy for Urban School Leadership. This Chicago Teacher Residency is a hands-on training model that earns you a master’s degree as well as valuable classroom experience within Chicago schools. This is a one-year full-time program that prepares teachers for urban education.

If you are looking to become a highly effective teacher in Chicago then this program may be for you. To be eligible for this program you must have a bachelor’s degree and a GPAF of 3.0 as well as be a US citizen national or a permanent resident.

Learn more about the Academy for Urban School Leadership’s teaching programs.


New York City Teaching Fellows

New York City Teaching Fellows

The New York City Teaching Fellows is a large alternative teacher preparation program. If you are admitted as a fellow, you’ll train in a New York City classroom and work one-on-one with experienced professionals. The program starts with the pre-service training where you study, observe, and practice the art of teaching. At the end of the pre-service training, you’ll work in a real New York City classroom. After your pre-service training, you’ll refine your skills at the university and in your classroom.

You will go teach full-time in one of the cities highest-need neighborhoods. While teaching full-time, you’ll also be working towards a master’s degree at one of the partner universities. Finally, over the years, you’ll build a career helping New York City students. Most fellows take 2 to 3 years to complete this fellowship. Once you’ve received and met all of the University’s and state’s requirements, you’ll be eligible to earn your New York State Initial Certification.

If you are a New York City resident, perhaps the New York City Teaching Fellows organization is of interest to you. Check them out!


Arkansas Teacher Corps

Arkansas Teacher Corps

The Arkansas Teacher Corps trains individuals interested in the field of education. The vision of the program is that Arkansas schools will have the capacity to empower teachers as resilient individuals as well as responsible leaders. The Arkansas Teacher Corps ATC partners up with the University of Arkansas and the Arkansas Department of Education. This is a training and recruitment program.

To apply to this program you should match the core values of the ATC: learner, mentor, partner, and ally, as well as a leader. All applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or higher with a minimum GPA of 2.75. Priority is given to individuals who are looking to teach in the following areas: Art, French, Music, Spanish, English Math Science Social Studies, Chemistry, Computer Science, English, Language Arts, Mathematics, Physics, and Social Studies. For more information about this program check out their website.

Would you like to teach in the state of Arkansas? See Arkansas Teacher Corps’ information about their alternative licensure path!


Mississippi Teacher Corps

Mississippi Teacher Corps

Are you interested in earning a debt-free master’s degree in Mississippi? You may want to look into the Mississippi Teacher Corps. The MTC offers a debt-free master’s degree for individuals who choose to teach in a critical needs school. To be eligible for this program you must be a college graduate looking to teach in a high-poverty public school in Mississippi. Those selected to this program will receive training support certification, as well as a full scholarship for a master of arts in teaching from the University of Mississippi.

During the first school year, participants receive full pay, as well as benefits from the school district and 10 graduate classes at the University of Mississippi. This is a small program that offers individualized support. All participants work in the cohort as they progress through each stage of the training course.

For more information about this program, check out Mississippi Teacher Corps’ training course.


National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is a certification program available in 25 certificate areas for teachers who are pursuing a career in a US public school. To become a board-certified teacher you must have knowledge and skills in your individual certificate area.

To demonstrate the skills you must submit three portfolio entries as well as a computer-based assessment. To be eligible for this program you must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and have completed three years of successful teaching in one or more early childhood elementary middle or secondary school, and have a valid state teaching license.

If you are interested in becoming a national board-certified teacher, then National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ program is for you.


Delaware Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

Delaware Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

The Delaware Alternative Teacher Certification program is for individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a teacher preparation program as part of their route towards licensure. This is an alternative teacher certification program for the state of Delaware.

To be eligible for this certification path you may complete DARTC through the University of Delaware which leads to teacher certification in a critical needs area. Candidates must already have a degree with a major in the subject that they wish to teach and have a GPA of at least 3.0, as well as pass the Praxis core academic skills examination. Citizens of Delaware may also choose to acquire their Delaware certification through Teach for America or through their Master’s plus certification program.

Learn more about the programs offered by Delaware Alternative Teaching Licensure Path.


Iowa Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

Iowa Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

If you are looking for an alternative path to certification in the state of Iowa, you may seek to do the following: complete an alternative certification pathway.

In order to do this, you must have a bachelor’s degree in the area that you wish to teach. Most candidates will pass the same content in teaching skills exams as a traditional educator. In the state of Iowa, you may complete a teacher intern program also known as the Regent’s Alternative Pathway to Iowa Licensure (RAPIL). The program is typically 12 semester hours including 50 hours of field experience.

Upon completion, candidates apply for an intern certificate to teach for one year in a secondary school while they participate in their mentorship. If you have 6000 hours or 4000 hours plus a bachelor’s degree in the area you would like to teach, you may apply for a provisional career and teacher license.

For more information about their alternative pathways to teacher certification, check out this program offered through Regent’s Alternative Pathway to Iowa Licensure.


Kentucky Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

Kentucky Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

If you are looking for an alternative path to teacher certification in the state of Kentucky then there are several options. To be eligible for alternative teacher certification you must have at least a bachelor’s degree. Alternative programming leads to a postgraduate certification or a master’s degree in education.

In the state of Kentucky, you must enroll at a local district training program certification. This program is for individuals with a bachelor’s degree as well as 30 semester hours of study in an endorsement area or five years of work experience with a GPA of at least 2.75. Applicants who meet those qualifications may be eligible for a provisional certification that allows them to teach while they are pursuing their Kentucky teacher internship program.

If you are a veteran with at least six years of active duty and an honorable discharge with a bachelor’s degree then you are eligible to receive a provisional certificate after which you must complete the Kentucky teacher internship program.

For more information about alternative ways to become certified in the state of Kentucky, check out the KY Teaching Licensure Path!


Maine Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

Maine Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

The State of Maine offers a number of teacher certification alternatives. To be eligible you should complete the extended teacher education program ETEP. The extended teacher education program is an intensive one or two-year curriculum that prepares you for teaching. Students will study content-specific courses as well as educational pedagogy. Graduates of this program eligible for teachers to notification in Maine and may also earn a Master of Science in Education from this program.

Alternatively, candidates who have a bachelor’s degree and specific coursework in education but not traditional teacher preparation may pursue a conditional certification in the state of Maine. This is offered to individuals when a school district does not have a qualified candidate or no properly licensed teachers can be found for an open position. Candidates must teach for one year and pass the Praxis exam.

For more information about the ETEP or alternative certification, check out the Maine Department of Education website.


New Hampshire Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

New Hampshire Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

The New Hampshire alternative teacher certification program is for individuals who hold at least a bachelor’s degree. If you are interested in pursuing alternative certification you may want to check out the alternative 3A pathway. This pathway is for individuals with a bachelor’s degree and has completed at least three months of full-time teaching at a private school that did not require state certification.

Candidates from this pathway must send a letter to the New Hampshire Department of education for their credential review. Once accepted you complete additional requirements such as testing and are required to complete the licensure process based on an analysis of your background. The alternative 3B program is for individuals who are looking to earn certification through the national board for professional teaching or the American Board for certification of teacher excellence.

If you are interested in teaching a critical shortage area and grades nine through 12, you are eligible for the alternative for the program. The alternative 4 programs must complete an individualized professional development plan and earn a recommendation for licensure from the district superintendent in order to receive full certification.

Learn more about the New Hampshire Department of Education.


Oklahoma Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

Oklahoma Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

Oklahoma Alternative Teacher Certification is possible for individuals who are looking to gain accelerated certification to teach. If you have completed at least a bachelor’s degree in a contact area that corresponds to the teacher’s license endorsement, you may be eligible for an alternative certification path. The alternative placement program is for individuals with a bachelor’s degree and at least a 2.5 GPA.

After receiving approval, candidates must take the Oklahoma general education test as well as the appropriate Oklahoma subject area test. Candidates complete the state background check to receive an initial alternative certification. With a certain certificate, candidates teach in a classroom setting while pursuing their professional development hours.

The alternative certificate is available for three years during which you are required to complete all additional licensure requirements to convert to a standard certificate. Additionally, teachers in Oklahoma may select to pursue the American Board for the Certificate of Teaching Excellence program which is a pathway to state-level licensure.

Do you need more information about teaching certification in Oklahoma? Check out their alternative teaching licensure Path!


South Carolina Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

South Carolina Alternative Teaching Licensure Path

The South Carolina alternative teacher certification program is for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree but have not completed the teacher preparation program. Complete the PACE program of alternative certification for educators. PACE allows qualified individuals to teach right away under the guidance and mentorship while they complete a program of study that is designed to enhance their classroom effectiveness.

Candidates are supposed to have majored in the subject area relevant to the subject which they are currently seeking endorsement, as well as have two years of full-time work experience. The American Board Certification program is for individuals pursuing English, mathematics, and science. This program is for a master’s degree in education. It is only available for secondary grades biology, chemistry, English, mathematics, physics or science, middle-level language arts, middle-level math, or middle-level science.

Would you like to teach in the state of South Carolina? Take a look at their alternative licensure path today!


Transferring Teaching Credentials From State to State

If you’re looking to transfer your credentials from state to state, you need to understand the specific requirements in the state you are leaving as well as the state you are entering. The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification offers interstate reciprocity. Many states only allow teaching certification reciprocity for standard or professional certifications, which means if you are teaching with a provisional or emergency certificate you will likely not be able to transfer that to another state.

Each state will have various educational experience requirements as well as testing requirements. For example, the state of California requires a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program as well as the candidates to perform a California skills test and happy preliminary certificate and two years or more experience. For more information about teachers’ transfer reciprocity agreements, check out your state’s Department of Education website.

Do you need additional information? How to Develop Your Financial Savvy While Still in School