A master's degree is the first step to becoming an ed tech professional. You can take a look at our rankings for the Best Online Master's in Educational Technology Degrees and Best Master's in Educational Technology Degrees to find the school that's right for you.
But enrolling in a master's degree program isn't all you need to be successful in the field of educational technology. There are some other requirements to consider.
The certifications required for educational technology specialists depend on state laws, and on an individual’s career goals. If you plan to teach in a Pre-K-12 classroom, you’ll need a teaching license.
In most states, the qualification to become a teacher includes sitting for the Praxis exam. This test is designed to measure academic skills and competency in core content areas. The Praxis website features more information about this exam, as well as state-specific regulations about teacher licensure.
At most colleges and universities, earning a bachelor’s degree in education will include the necessary preparation to earn an initial teaching certification. However, at some schools, the process for teacher certification happens at the graduate rather than the undergraduate level. Be sure to check with your program’s details so that you know when you’ll actually be ready to receive a teaching license.
It’s important to note that teaching licenses are state-specific, so regulations and standards vary. Some states allow teachers to renew their initial teaching license indefinitely.
Other states, however, only consider an initial licensure valid for one to three years. After that, teachers are required to reapply to keep their certification current. In these cases, teachers may have to meet stricter requirements to continue working as teachers.
For educational technologists who don’t plan to teach at the classroom level, other certification might be necessary. A specific library and information science certification may be required to work as a librarian or media specialist. Depending on the employer, specific credentials may be required to work as an educational technologist at the building or district level.
Of course, ed tech professionals don’t always work in PK-12 classrooms. Many also work in corporations, nonprofits, or other organizations to provide training and technology support.
For these roles, there is not a clear-cut certification that all employers will expect candidates to have. However, to be competitive for one of these positions, you may wish to earn a graduate certificate or other credentials in training and development, or in a specific area of IT.
Corporate trainer certifications are available from the Management and Strategy Institute, the Association for Talent Development, and from numerous colleges and universities. In general, if a school offers a master’s degree in instructional technology, human resource management, or a related field, a graduate certificate will also be available in those areas.
Citrix and Microsoft are among the most reputable and widely recognized accreditation bodies to award IT certificates. These providers offer certificates across a broad range of IT topics, including cloud computing, data analytics, app building, and network engineering and administration.
In most cases, certifications won’t be legally required for training or IT positions like they are for classroom teachers. Nonetheless, these certificates can be an excellent way to fill out your resume. Particularly if you’ve been out of school for a while, or if you’ve just graduated and are applying for your first job in the industry, a certification can prove your value to potential employers.