Glossary for Teacher Professional Development

This is just another name for a professional development course for educators. Both serve the same purpose. As with professional development courses, educators should ask the course provider if credits can be earned for the work done and if so, through what universities. To learn more, go to “Professional Development Courses.”

This is a different type of credit awarded for completing professional development courses. Instead of credits, certain school districts ask for teachers to accrue CEUs or Continuing Education Units. Every district is slightly different, and because of this, teachers should ask their respective district if the district works in terms of CEUs. If so, educators should also ask how many hours their district requires per CEU and if credits can be used towards CEUs.

These are the hours of work required in order to complete and pass a course and then receive the credits for that course. Often students have to complete 15 credit hours/credit. A 3-credit course, for example, would then require 45 credit hours of work to complete the course.

These are what the university awards a student for completing and passing a course. Often each professional development course is worth 3 credits, but this number can change depending on the course and how many credits hours are required to complete a course. Often students have to complete 15 credit hours/credit. Teachers need to accrue credits in order to advance their salary and renew their license.

This is a professional development course that meets the requirements of being at the graduate (post-bachelor’s degree) level. Graduate level courses are offered by or approved by a university who then awards graduate level credits for passing the course. Educators can use graduate level courses to earn graduate level credits to be used towards horizontal salary advancement and/or licensure renewal. At times, educators can also use these types of courses towards a Master’s degree if the course has been preapproved by the university to be part of a Master’s program.

These are the types of credits earned for passing a graduate level course approved by a university. Graduate level credits are often the types of credits needed by educators in order to receive horizontal salary advancement and/or renew their license. It is recommended that educators ask the professional development course provider if the credits earned are graduate level credits.

This is the process for one of the ways teachers can increase their yearly salaries. To start, teachers take graduate level professional development courses to improve their practice. For a certain number of graduate level credits submitted to the district, a teacher’s salary will increase by a certain percentage. Each school district is slightly different with their horizontal salary advancement in terms of how many credits are required for each pay increase and from which universities they accept the graduate level credits. This also assumes the district is not in a pay freeze. It is recommended that teachers ask their district about their specific horizontal salary advancement process.

These are overarching goals within a professional development course that educators should meet and be able to do by the end of a course. Learning objectives also give a nice overview of what the course will be about. It is highly recommended to have learning objectives posted each day in the classroom, so students have a clear picture of what they should be able to do by the end of a lesson. These can also be referred to as learning targets.

This is a specific type of a professional development course that has been approved within a Master’s program and therefore can be used towards acquiring a Master’s degree. Not all graduate level courses (and therefore their credits) can be used towards a Master’s degree, but some can. If you are an educator still looking to complete a Master’s degree, look to see if the programs accept graduate level credits from outside providers approved by that respective university.

This is what educators complete in order to improve their practice and become up to date with the latest in their profession. Taking professional development courses helps to ensure educators are learning and utilizing best practices to ultimately improve their own students’ learning. Professional development can take on many different forms such as in person courses versus online courses and courses offered through a school district versus through a university versus through an outside provider (like Credits for Teachers). While the primary purpose of professional development is to work towards becoming a better, more successful educator, a secondary benefit is to also earn credits for the work done. Educators should ask the course provider if credits can be earned for the work done during professional development and if so, what kind of credits and through what universities.

These types of credits are earned from a university that is on the quarter system. If taking a course through a university on quarters, the credits earned through that university will most likely be quarter credits. The general ratio is 1 semester credit is equal to 1.5 quarter credits. It is recommended that educators look into which type of credits is required by their district and state department of education. Then, they should confirm which type is offered by the professional development course provider.

Unless a professional development course is free, there is most often a registration fee for professional development or continuing education courses. If taking a course through an outside provider (like Credits for Teachers) there are often 2 fees: one to the provider (Credits for Teachers) and one to the university partner to ensure one receives a transcript with credits. Depending on the university partner, sometimes these fees are lumped into one payment, usually when registering with the provider (Credits for Teachers). Other times, the fees are two separate payments: one to the provider (Credits for Teachers) when registering with them, and another to the university when registering with them.

These types of credits are earned from a university that is on semesters. If taking a course through a university on semesters, the credits earned through that university should be semester credits. The general ratio is 1 semester credit is equal to 1.5 quarter credits. It is recommended that educators look into which type of credits is required by their district and state department of education. Then, they should confirm which type is offered by the professional development course provider.

These are the nuts and bolts of what educators should be teaching their students each year. Educators should know their school district’s standards as well as their state’s standards for each unit within their curriculum. These serve as the starting point for educators to figure out what to teach their students and how to teach it. Educators should know their curriculum standards prior to starting a professional development course, so they know from the beginning how the course content can be applied within their curriculum.

These requirements vary from state to state. Some states require 5 graduate level credits to be accrued every 5 years, some more and some less. Some have other specific requirements like a certain amount of the graduate level credits have to be towards mathematics education or culturally diverse education. The best thing an educator can do for him or herself is to look into the licensure renewal process within their state as soon as possible to ensure they meet all of the necessary requirements before their license expires.

This is the process for renewing one’s teaching license or certificate. Each state is slightly nuanced on their teacher licensure/certification renewal process. For most states, teachers need a certain number of graduate level credits accrued between the year they received their current license and the year when their current license expires. Then, teachers need to order and submit a university transcript during the licensure renewal process.

It is recommended to begin looking into one’s state’s licensure renewal process as soon as possible in order to ensure one can meet all of the necessary state requirements before the license expires. Teachers should also check the month and year for when their current teaching license or certificate expires, and begin the licensure/certification renewal process about 6 months before the expiration date. This will help to ensure teachers submit all necessary information with enough time for their state’s department of education to process their new license or certificate before the current one expires.

This is the university that awards the credits for completing and passing the professional development course(s). Sometimes professional development courses for teachers are offered directly through a university. Other times, an outside provider (like Credits for Teachers) offers the courses. The provider (Credits for Teachers) is approved by at least one university partner. The university partner is the one awarding the graduate level credits, not the provider. For that reason, teachers need to register with the university partner separately from the provider (Credits for Teachers) in order to receive their credits. Educators should always make sure their district and state department of education accept credits from a university partner before registering for professional development courses.

This is a document provided by the university partner showing all of the accrued credits through that particular university for all courses the teacher has passed. For each course passed, the transcript should include the course name, the grade received, the amount of credits earned, and the semester within which the credits were earned. Teachers will often need to order copies of their transcript (often for a small fee to the university) to provide to their district for horizontal salary advancement and/or to their state’s department of education to renew their license.

This is the process for one of the ways teachers can increase their yearly salaries. Each year a teacher works for their respective district, their salary increases by a certain percentage. Each district is slightly different with their vertical salary advancement, and this also assumes the district is not in a pay freeze.

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