The United States is in desperate need of qualified teachers—so much so that schools have started hiring teachers from half a world away. School districts are searching for fully certified professionals, preferably those who are certified to teach two subjects, but what’s the purpose of dual certification if schools are going to such extremes to hire teachers?  

Why would an educator need to earn a dual certification to advance their career?  

By earning a dual certification, educators prove that they have the skills, knowledge, and experience to lead a classroom. Once certified in their particular areas of study, an educator can advance their career, and one day they may find themselves leading an entire school. Let’s explore how earning a master’s degree and certificate can help emerging and established teachers advance their careers.  

Advance Your Career Through Certification 

How does certification help in career advancement? For many teachers, being able to guide young learners through essential life lessons is one of the most rewarding aspects of their career. Thus, the problem: how can educators advance their career without abandoning the classes and students they adore? Certification allows teachers to do just that. Through dual certification, educators can expand their responsibilities and earn higher salaries, and they can complete the certification process while continuing to teach.  

Reading and Language Roles  

For example, teachers who want to strengthen their understanding of literacy can earn a Master of Arts in Literacy from The University of Texas Permian Basin. Educators who join our online program understand just how important reading is for young children. More than a third of American fourth graders can’t complete their schoolwork successfully due to their poor reading ability. By earning an MA in literacy, teachers can earn a higher salary while ensuring at-risk students aren’t left behind. Moreover, with the addition of two courses, Texas candidates may qualify for the English as a Second Language (ESL) supplemental teacher certification, further increasing career mobility.  

Administrative Roles  

If an administrator is interested in advancing their career by becoming a principal, certification allows them to work toward state requirements while remaining in their current position and gaining necessary leadership experience. Principals take an active role in shaping the academic lives of students; however, candidates must obtain the proper certification as well as a master’s degree.  

UT Permian Basin offers Texas administrators an affordable, flexible path to principal certification through our online Master of Arts in Educational Leadership program. Program participants learn to become 21st-century educational leaders while taking courses aligned with the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) for Principal and Superintendent Competencies and the standards set by the Educational Leadership Constituent Council. Obtaining a principal certificate in Texas often leads to a six-figure salary, but principals aren’t the only certified professionals who can maximize their earning potential.   

Earn a Higher Salary  

Dual certification is especially important in Texas, where teacher salaries lag behind those in states with similar employment levels like California and New York. Like many states, Texas uses a “step and lane” salary schedule for teachers. Depending on the district, teachers can earn a higher starting salary, but it can take well over a decade for a Texas teacher’s salary to peak.  

Why get certified? By earning a master’s degree and certifications in specific academic areas, Texas teachers can be paid premiums in some school districts and outearn their peers. A prime example of this is the new initiative to reward Texas’ highest-rated educators. Although the initiative, which is enabling top teachers to earn six-figure salaries, is currently only in effect in select school districts in the Houston area, the push for a modern pay-for-performance system is in full swing.    

Provide High-Quality Education  

The purpose of certification goes beyond increasing salaries and career options. The more high-quality a teacher’s education, the better education they’re able to provide to students. Multiple studies have explored the relationship between teacher education and teacher effectiveness. In one study, researchers looked at a data set consisting of information from Houston Independent School District (HISD) teachers and fourth- and fifth-grade students and found that certified teachers who graduated from an approved teacher education program were more effective at stimulating student achievement gains in both reading and mathematics.  

Researchers cautioned, however, that “certification is only a proxy for the real variables of interest that pertain to teachers’ knowledge and skills.” In addition to subject matter knowledge, this includes the ability to teach and manage a classroom of unique learners, design and implement instruction, and work with students, teachers, and other professionals.  

Advance Your Career at UT Permian Basin  

Don’t be alarmed by this extensive list of teaching credentials. Like their students, every educator has to start somewhere. In Texas, it starts by earning a master’s degree and becoming certified in an area of interest. Even teachers with years of experience can earn dual certification, advance their career, earn a higher salary, and offer education of the highest quality. If you’re interested in seeing just how far your career path can take you, explore UT Permian Basin’s numerous online programs. Whether your career interests lie in bilingual/ESL education, educational leadership, literacy, or special education, UT Permian Basin has the online degree program for you.