It’s hard to be a teacher, and educational institutions have to make sure that the teachers they train are up for the challenge. That’s where accreditation programs come in. Accreditation programs ensure the highest quality of education for all students by holding schools accountable for their training methods and standards. As one such program, NCATE accreditation ensured that teachers in the United States receive only the highest quality and most comprehensive teacher education.
What Does NCATE Stand For?
NCATE stands for The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and they were responsible for accrediting schools that train teachers. NCATE accreditation was one of the most important stamps of approval that a teacher education program could have. A school must have been accredited by NCATE or its contemporary counterparts to put out teachers who are certified to teach in most states.
The standards set by NCATE accreditation covered all aspects of teacher preparation, including coursework, clinical experiences, assignments, and collaboration opportunities offered to students to ensure that graduates have the skills required to create a positive learning environment in the classroom. If you are interested in becoming a teacher, you must choose an accredited program to ensure your education will meet the standards set by NCATE and its contemporary counterpart.
NCATE Accreditation Process
Since its inception in 1954, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education has worked to ensure the quality of teacher education programs. The organization’s accreditation process was rigorous, and it helped establish a high standard for teacher preparation nationwide. To be accredited by NCATE, universities and colleges had to demonstrate that their teacher preparation programs met demanding criteria and prepared candidates to be effective educators.
NCATE set in-person visitation dates two years in advance for universities hoping to become accredited. At the visit, NCATE’s 5-6 person team reviewed the information compiled by school representatives that the school believed demonstrates the educational program met NCATE’s exacting standards. The NCATE team would write a report and send it to the NCATE Unit Accreditation Board, who made the final decision.
NCATE to CAEP Transition
In October 2014, a merger between the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) was finalized. The new entity was called the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). By combining the two premier accrediting organizations, the industry created a single accrediting agency for reform, innovation, and research in educator preparation.
Today, CAEP carries on NCATE’s legacy and uses similar processes and standards to ensure that all schools are providing high-quality teacher education programs for their students.
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.
- According to accreditation programs, teachers who graduate from NCATE accredited universities are more likely to be successful in the classroom.
- Graduates of NCATE accredited schools are eligible for certification in all 50 states.
Choosing a University program can seem overwhelming, but staying focused on accredited programs will ensure you are not wasting your time with anything less than the best.
How Do I Know if a Program is NCATE/CAEP Accredited?
Not sure if the University you’re interested in has passed the NCATE/CAEP test? The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation provides an online tool to search accredited programs. Aspiring teachers can access it on their website. This tool includes all programs that were grandfathered into their accreditation status through NCATE’s transition to CAEP. Simply type in the program in question, or click on the state to see a complete list of accredited programs.
10 NCATE-Accredited Online Programs
There are a number of online schools that have been accredited by NCATE, and these schools offer quality teacher training programs. Online students can find NCATE/CAEP accredited online programs for both graduate and undergraduate degrees, with a variety of schedules, allowing them to study from anywhere in the country (or world). Many of these programs allow students to choose their concentration or focus area within the field they are studying, giving them greater flexibility when it comes to finding jobs or pursuing advanced studies. Here are a few notable NCATE-accredited online programs:
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. According to US News and World Reports, their acceptance rate is around 78%.
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. According to US News and World Reports, ECU’s Online Graduate Education program is ranked #60 in the country.
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! According to US News and World Reports, they have an acceptance rate of about 81% and a total graduate student body of a little under 500 students. 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. According to US News and World Reports, they have a generous 97% acceptance rate.
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.
According to US News and World Reports, USC’s program has about an 84% acceptance rate and does not require a GRE score for consideration. 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.
NCATE is no longer the title of the teaching industry’s most important accreditation program, but that doesn’t mean that aspiring teachers should ignore it altogether. The CAEP has taken over for NCATE as the leading accrediting body for teacher preparation programs, and there are a number of excellent online Master’s programs that have received NCATE or CAEP accreditation.
If you are looking to become a teacher, make sure to check for the NCATE or CAEP accreditation on any program you are considering. And if you want to take your teaching career to the next level, consider earning your Master’s degree from an accredited online program. We’ve provided a list of 10 of the best programs in the country, so there’s no excuse not to get started today!