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No Educator Left Behind: Multiple Certifications/Endorsements

No Educator Left Behind is a series providing answers from the U.S. Department of Education to questions about the federal No Child Left Behind Act and how it will affect educators. If you have a question about No Child Left Behind, send an e-mail to Ellen Delisio, and we will submit your question to the Department of Education.


Under the No Child Left Behind Act, will teachers have to be fully endorsed in every subject they might be asked to teach? Or will teachers be able to teach all subjects if they have the appropriate number of university credit hours, but do not have a major in a particular subject? For example, will a sixth grade teacher with elementary certification need more than one license or endorsement to teach mathematics, reading, and science in a middle school?

U.S. Department of Education:

The Department of Education is not interpreting the NCLB Act to mean that teachers must get multiple certification or license endorsements to teach multiple subjects. However, teachers must demonstrate competency in each subject they teach. For NCLB purposes, in addition to a bachelors degree, teachers must hold full certification and provide a demonstration of competency.

Elementary school teachers generally are certified for teaching reading, writing, mathematics, and other areas of the basic elementary school curriculum. They must pass a state test to demonstrate competency for teaching elementary school.

Middle and secondary school teachers must demonstrate competency in each subject they teach. A teacher who teaches middle school mathematics and science must demonstrate competency in each subject. That could be accomplished in a variety of ways -- by holding an undergraduate major in each subject, earning advanced certification, or passing a state test.

Read previous questions and answers in our No Educator Left Behind archive.