What Is Required for an Educational Technology Career?
A career in educational technology can be incredibly rewarding in a number of ways. Most ed tech occupations will require a master's degree. If you haven't already, head over to our rankings for the Best Online Master's in Educational Technology Degrees or Best Master's in Educational Technology Degrees to help you decide what school would be a good fit for you.
If you plan to teach in a classroom, you’ll need a valid teaching license in your state. Many schools include preparation for a teaching license as part of a bachelor’s degree program. At other schools, teaching certification isn’t granted until the master’s degree level.
The specific requirements for teacher licensure vary by state. Most states have distinct certification requirements for elementary school, middle school, and high school teachers. If you’ll be teaching above the elementary school level, you’ll typically need to show competency in a specific subject area (English, math, history, etc.) in addition to proving your mastery of instructional theory.
In some states, an initial teaching certification can be renewed indefinitely. In other states, the initial teaching certification is only valid for one to three years. After that time, you’ll need to meet a higher set of requirements to obtain permanent licensure.
Some states may require a separate license for educational technology specialists. Be sure to check with your state’s Department of Education to find out details. Teach.org provides more information about enrolling in a teacher preparation program and securing initial licensure.
You can also consider additional credentials and certifications. For example, many universities offer add-on certificates for Special Education, Reading Specialist, and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
Another option for K-12 teachers is a National Board Certification. This certification isn’t mandatory to teach, but it can be a very valuable addition to a teaching resume. This nationally recognized distinction is available for educators who have been practicing for at least three years. The National Board Certification website provides more information about the requirements and benefits of this credential.
Outside of these professional credentials, many universities also offer standalone graduate level certificates that can help you get your first ed tech job. Northern Arizona University, for example, offers a 15-credit graduate certificate in Educational Technology. A 15-credit post-baccalaureate certificate is available from Penn State’s World Campus (online) for Educational Technology Integration.
Many of these programs will be oriented toward K-12 educators. But others are designed especially for trainers and professionals working with adult learners. At the New York Institute of Technology, graduate students can earn an Advanced Certificate in Instructional Design for Global e-Learning. Another option at NYIT is the Advanced Certificate in Emerging Technologies for Trainers.
These are just a few examples. The majority of schools that offer a master’s degree in ed tech also have a shorter, more condensed program that leads to a graduate certificate.
Udemy, an online learning website, provides a large collection of technology-related coursework and certifications under the category Teacher Training. These credentials aren’t required to work in educational technology by any means, but they can provide a leg up in a competitive job market.
Besides these formal requirements for an ed tech career, there are some other aspects that are equally important to take into account. Training and teaching can be a frustrating profession. You’ll be held accountable for learner outcomes and (far too often) you may find yourself short on support and resources.
Because of all these hindrances and obstacles, being a teacher requires patience and perseverance. You’ll need creativity and a true passion for education to be successful in this field.
With the right combination of characteristics and credentials, you’re well on your way to a highly fulfilling career in educational technology.