The Education Commission of the States defines teacher leadership as “the process by which teachers extend their impact — influencing colleagues, principals, members of school communities and beyond to improve teaching practices and support student learning.”
While continuing to teach in the classroom environment, a certified Teacher Leader may organize and lead initiatives in the school or community, aid new teachers in their advancement, converse with administrators and suggest curriculum changes and improvements. Because well-prepared teacher leaders can strengthen and improve the success of an entire school building, they are highly sought-after by districts throughout the country.
Earning a Teacher Leader endorsement can not only benefit the schools and communities you work with, but it may also open more doors than a simple teaching license. According to the website Early Childhood Education Degrees, “some common reasons to obtain an add-on endorsement include: getting a raise in pay, specializing in smaller subjects, changing careers, and job security.”
Job opportunities in the field can vary depending on district and state, but certification can prepare you to lead a teacher team, become a mentor or coach or even work as a curriculum director or counselor. In order to continually support the highest caliber of teaching, many states have developed programs offering both monetary and professional incentives for teacher endorsement.
The following 22 states offer a teacher leader license endorsement. Many of them have designed additional incentives for those completing an approved program, as noted.
- Alabama: Provides pay increase
- Arkansas: Provides opportunities to participate in Teacher Leadership Institute and the Teacher Leadership Advisory Group
- Connecticut: Supports opportunities for training in teacher leadership through the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council and NNSTOY
- Georgia: Provides opportunities for participation in Teacher Leadership Institute, as well as financial incentives
- Illinois: Provides opportunities for participation in the Illinois Teacher Leadership Network and the Illinois Teach to Lead Summit
- Kentucky: Provides financial incentives for teachers who increase their certification rank
- Louisiana: Provides opportunities for participation in the Teacher Leaders program and as a Department of Education Teacher Leader Advisor
- Michigan: Provides opportunity for participation in the Teacher Leadership Advisory Council
- New Jersey: Provides opportunities to participate in the Teacher Leader Endorsement Advisory Board
- New Mexico: Provides several opportunities for teachers to participate in the Secretary of Education’s Teacher Advisory group and act as New Mexico Teacher Leader Network State Ambassadors and School Liaisons. Also offers participation in the Teacher Leader Summit
- Ohio: Provides opportunities to participate in the state’s four-tiered teacher licensure structure
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina: Provides opportunities for participation in the collective leadership framework pilot, as well as the Foundations in School Leadership Program
- South Dakota
- Washington: Provides opportunity to participate in the Washington State Fellows Network to assist with state standards implementation
- West Virginia
In addition, 12 other states offer various salary and career benefits to graduates from these programs, including:
- Financial incentives (CA, IA, IN, MN, OK, TN, UT)
- Reduced teaching load (OK, UT)
- Opportunity and/or funding for further training (MO, NV, TN)
- Additional contract days (MN, OK)
- Project grants (WI)
- Participation in leadership summit (ME, WI)
Many states require the completion of a preparation program to obtain endorsement and certification. The Master of Science in Education – Teacher Education – Curriculum and Instruction – Teacher Leader online program from Youngstown State University (YSU) is affordable, convenient and fast-paced: in as few as 12 months, you can hone your teaching skills needed to lead large and small groups to success, including students, teachers and administrative staff in various settings.
As an added benefit, you can apply some of the endorsement credits towards the completion of a Master of Science in Educational Administration at YSU, taking you one step closer to higher paying positions and job opportunities.
Due to the difference between individual states’ certification requirements, however, not all endorsements will transfer to every state. The YSU program meets the Ohio state requirements for Teacher Leader Endorsement as outlined in the Ohio Teacher Leadership Framework, updated 2018. For a complete overview and in-depth look at each state’s requirements, access the Education Commission of the States’ interactive map.
Education Commission of the States:
50-State Comparison: Teacher Leadership and Licensure Advancement
State Legislation: by State