Becoming a teacher is a challenging but rewarding journey that necessitates high-quality education and preparation. To ensure that educators are up to the task, accreditation bodies play a crucial role in setting and maintaining educational standards. While the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) was a prominent accreditor that upheld rigorous criteria for teacher education programs in the United States, it has since evolved. In October 2014, NCATE merged with the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) to form a new entity known as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
Although NCATE no longer exists as a separate entity, its legacy and impact on teacher education remain significant. This article will continue to explore the features and importance of NCATE Accredited Degree Programs while acknowledging CAEP as the contemporary accreditation body overseeing the quality of educator preparation.
What Does NCATE Stand For, and How Has It Evolved?
Originally, NCATE stood for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. It was the primary body responsible for accrediting U.S. schools that train teachers. As one of the most prestigious accreditations a teacher education program could attain, NCATE’s endorsement was crucial for graduates seeking certification in most states. However, it’s worth noting that in October 2014, NCATE merged with the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) to form the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
Though NCATE itself is no longer the accrediting body, the standards it set continue to influence teacher preparation, encompassing areas such as coursework, clinical experiences, assignments, and student collaboration. If you aspire to be a teacher, selecting a program accredited by CAEP ensures that you are adhering to standards shaped in part by NCATE’s enduring legacy.
The Legacy of NCATE’s Accreditation Process
Since its founding in 1954, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education set rigorous standards aimed at ensuring high-quality teacher education programs across the nation. To receive NCATE accreditation, educational institutions had to meet stringent criteria that demonstrated their commitment to preparing candidates as effective educators.
The NCATE accreditation process involved planned in-person visitations, during which a team of 5-6 NCATE evaluators would assess whether a school’s program met the organization’s exacting standards. Their findings were reported to the NCATE Unit Accreditation Board, responsible for making the final accreditation decision. Today, CAEP continues this tradition of rigorous evaluation, albeit under a new organizational structure.
The Evolution from NCATE to CAEP
In October 2014, a pivotal change occurred in the field of educator preparation: the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) merged to form a unified accrediting body, known as the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This merger was a significant step towards streamlining and modernizing the accreditation landscape, creating a single authoritative entity committed to reform, innovation, and research in the field of educator preparation.
In its current role, CAEP builds upon the foundation laid by NCATE, continuing to employ similar rigorous processes and standards. The objective remains the same: to ensure educational institutions provide high-quality teacher preparation programs that meet the evolving needs of students and educational systems.
Why Obtain a Degree From an NCATE/CAEP Accredited University?
So, why should you obtain your degree from an NCATE/CAEP accredited institution?
There are plenty of reasons, but here are three:
- The accreditation process is rigorous and ensures that all programs meet high standards.
- Teachers who graduate from NCATE-accredited universities have completed a rigorous program designed to prepare them for success in various educational roles, from becoming a high school teacher to pursuing other opportunities in the field of education.
- Graduates of NCATE-accredited schools are eligible for certification in all 50 states.
Selecting a university program can be daunting, but focusing on those with NCATE or CAEP accreditation narrows down your options to programs that meet or exceed established quality benchmarks
How to Verify a Program’s NCATE or CAEP Accreditation Status
Uncertain whether the university you’re considering has earned NCATE or CAEP accreditation? The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) provides a searchable online database to help prospective students identify accredited programs. This resource also includes programs that retained their accreditation status through the transition from NCATE to CAEP.
To use this tool, simply visit the CAEP website and enter the name of the institution or program you’re interested in. Alternatively, you can select a specific state to view a comprehensive list of accredited programs within that region.
10 Noteworthy Accredited Programs
A multitude of online educational institutions have earned accreditation either through NCATE or its successor, CAEP. These programs maintain the highest standards in teacher preparation, making them ideal options for both undergraduate and graduate students. Online learning platforms afford students the flexibility of participating from anywhere, whether within the United States or internationally. Moreover, these online programs often offer tailored concentration or specialization options, allowing students to hone their skills in specific areas of interest, which can be advantageous in both job placement and further academic pursuits. Below are some standout programs that have received NCATE or CAEP accreditation:
1. Boise State University’s Online MA in Education, Language, Literacy, and Culture
Boise State University’s online Master of Arts in Education, Language, Literacy, and Culture is one of the NCATE accredited online programs that prepare graduates to teach K-12 students in and out of the classroom. Students can access the information at their convenience since online courses are usually recorded and archived. This program requires the completion of 33-36 credit hours, with a total cost of about $15,000.
Boise State University’s online education degree programs have a rolling deadline.
2. East Carolina University’s Online Masters of Arts in Middle Grades Education
Another one of the best NCATE accredited online programs can be found at East Carolina University. ECU’s online Master of Arts degree program enables individuals with an initial middle grades teaching license to earn an advanced degree. The MAED n is 36 credit hours. Students in this program take two classes at a time until they finish; however, there is no full-time or part-time status.
The cost per credit at ECU is $994, which means that the MAED will cost about $36,000 total in tuition.
3. Nova Southeastern University’s Online Master’s in Elementary Education
Nova Southeastern University offers a 40 credit online Master’s in Elementary Education that can be completed from anywhere in the country- or the world. Students can access the information at their convenience since all online education classes are recorded and archived.
NSU doesn’t require the GRE for admission. Nova Southeastern University’s program charges a little over $1000 per credit. As a result, the total tuition cost for the program is about $40,000.
4. Peru State College Online Master’s Degree in Education
Peru State offers an exemplary NCATE accredited online program. Their Master’s Science in Education can be completed in 19 to 36 months. The program is designed for full-time educators and formatted in 8-week and 4-week courses.
Peru State’s MSED also offers Advanced Studies certificates, including in topics like:
- Classroom Behavior and Management
- Instructional Mastery
- Inclusionary Practices and Policies
- Instructional Technology
Peru State’s program costs $359/credit hour for tuition, and consists of 36 credit hours for a total cost of about $13,000 in tuition.
5. Purdue University’s Online Master’s of Arts in Teaching
Enrolled graduate students can complete Purdue’s Master of Arts in Teaching online in 18 months. The estimated time spent on the program per week is 20 hours, meaning that it’s possible to work while completing the program.
The MA in Teaching program’s curriculum is designed to help students gain knowledge and skills in nine program competencies based on national and state standards.
Each course in Purdue’s Master’s of Arts in Teaching program is six weeks long. The total number of course credits needed for graduation is 45, with a per-credit cost of $420, making for a total program cost of around $19,000.
6. University of Alaska, Anchorage’s Masters Programs
UAA has more than one program available online for teachers. Included among them are:
- Master of Arts in Teaching, Secondary and Middle Grades Education
- Master of Arts in Teaching, Special Education
- Master of Arts in Teaching, Elementary Education
- Master of Education, Special Education
- Master of Education with a concentration in Secondary Education
- Master of Education with a concentration in Elementary Education
- Master of Education, Teaching, and Learning
The University of Alaska’s online Graduate School of Education has a variety of options for future teachers. They each have their own curriculum and time frames. For example, their online Master’s in teaching and learning can be completed in 1.5 to 2 years, and full-time students can extend the program. Several courses within professional concentration are available as optional face-to-face courses.
7. University of Colorado, Denver’s Online Master of Arts in Literacy Education, Reading and Writing, Reading Teacher
The curriculum and endorsement of the University of Colorado’s Master of Arts in Literacy Education, Reading and Writing focus on enhancing literacy teaching skills and credentials. Using students’ languages, abilities, cultures, and real-world experiences, the program uses their skills, knowledge, and training as a foundation for greater understanding.
UC Denver’s program is created to be finished in 2 to 3 years and consists of 30 credit hours. It has a rolling admission policy. Tuition is about $12,000 total for Colorado residents and $39,000 for non residents.
8. University of Iowa’s Online Master of Arts in Teaching, Leadership, and Cultural Competency
The MA in Teaching, Leadership, and Cultural Competency was designed for busy professionals. This program, which is entirely online, allows working educators to earn their advanced degrees in as little as 20 months. This program was recently ranked #24 on US News & World Report’s list of Best Online Master’s in Education Programs in the Nation.
The University of Iowa also offers Online Graduate degrees in Educational Leadership and STEM Education for those wanting to pivot their teaching careers towards administration or technology.
UI’s program consists of just 24 credit hours with a total cost of about $22,000. Total enrollment is approximately 200 students.
9. University of Southern California’s Online Masters of Arts in Teaching
Ranked by US News and World Reports as the #8 online education program in the nation, USC’s online teaching program aims to empower aspiring K–12 teachers to improve education in their classrooms and cities. The course prepares students to become teachers in California. Upon graduation, they can take the California teacher licensing exam.
The program offers two concentrations: Multiple Subject Teaching (primary school) or Single Subject Teaching (secondary school). They typically require related work experience- they seek to educate further teachers who have already spent time in the classroom. Only about 70 students are enrolled per year, and their application deadline is March 1st.
Total program costs vary depending on whether applicants are California state residents; full in-state tuition for the program is about $12,000, while out-of-state students will pay closer to $22,000.
10. University of West Alabama’s Online Masters Programs
UWA offers multiple NCATE and CAEP accredited graduate degrees for aspiring teachers, including:
- Master’s of Arts in Teaching
- Master’s of Education in Elementary Education, K-6
- Master’s of Education in High School Education, 6-12
- Master’s of Education in Instructional Leadership
Each class in UWA’s program takes about eight weeks to complete. The program is 33-36 credit hours and can be completed in a single year. The cost per credit hour is $429, for a total tuition cost of about $15,000.
The Lasting Legacy and Continued Relevance of NCATE Accreditation
In the ever-evolving landscape of education, accreditation remains a cornerstone for ensuring quality and excellence in teacher preparation programs. While NCATE may have transitioned into CAEP, the rigorous standards and objectives initially set forth by NCATE continue to serve as the guiding framework for current and future accreditations. As a prospective student or education professional, choosing a program with NCATE or CAEP accreditation offers a clear path to a fulfilling, impactful career in teaching.
From rigorous accreditation processes to the potential for nationwide certification, the benefits of attending an accredited institution are numerous. Tools provided by CAEP help simplify the search for accredited programs, making it easier than ever to commit to quality education.
In sum, NCATE’s legacy is far from being a relic of the past; it is a living testament to the enduring commitment to quality in teacher preparation programs, now carried forward by CAEP. Accreditation remains not just a badge of quality, but a promise to prepare the next generation of educators for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.