Continuing Education for Teachers

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Professional credentials, including teaching licenses, typically demand periodic renewal. This often leads to the need for continuing education. Continuing education can include earning an advanced degree or completing individual courses. It may also include professional development workshops or workplace training.

Continuing education matters for teachers because student needs and teaching challenges change as the surrounding culture changes. Teachers also need to stay current on best practices, since education researchers and practitioners continually improve teaching and learning through new ideas, applications, and strategies.

To renew a five-year state teaching license, teachers often need to take 2-4 graduate-level courses from an accredited university. Many schools offer online continuing education courses for teachers, which typically offer more flexibility than on-campus courses. This guide offers an overview of continuing education for teachers.

Frequently Asked Questions on Continuing Education for Teachers


  • Q. What is the difference between professional development and continuing education?

    Continuing education for teachers usually entails graduate-level course credits. Professional development may include non-graduate credits, and it usually results in a letter of completion.


  • Q. Does continuing education have to be a full degree program?

    Pursuing advanced degrees can help teachers qualify for promotion or salary advancement, but teachers can also earn continuing education units (CEUs) outside of degree-granting programs.


  • Q. Are teachers required to pursue continuing education?

    Teachers need to pursue continuing education to renew their teaching licenses. Continuing education requirements vary by state and district, but they usually include at least six graduate credits or 75 professional development hours every five years.


  • Q. What counts as CEUs for teachers?

    CEUs for teachers usually entail 10 contact hours of training or education per unit. Teachers typically need to earn CEUs from instructors or programs approved by their state licensing board. Some states accept professional development training toward CEU requirements, while other states demand graduate-level course credits.


  • Q. Who pays for teachers for continuing education?

    Many schools reimburse tuition costs for continuing education for teachers. However, teachers typically do not receive pay for continuing education hours, except in the case of in-service training scheduled on school days.


Five Reasons Why Teachers Should Pursue Continuing Education

1. Promotion or Salary Increase
Continuing education often helps teachers move up on the salary scale. When combined with strong professional performance, earning advanced degrees may also qualify teachers for promotion to lead teacher or administrator positions.
2. Personal and Professional Development
Continuing education cultivates new knowledge and skills that can enhance job performance. Pursuing interests and passions also enriches an individual’s personal development.
3. Career Transition
Teachers can use continuing education to explore and pursue new fields or roles. Studying special education or education administration, for example, can help teachers transition to these fields. Earning a master’s or doctoral degree can also qualify graduates for college-level teaching roles.
4. Job Marketability and Security
Earning new degrees or certificates can enhance hireability in a competitive job market. Specializing in a growing or niche field may also improve job prospects and/or enable career transition.
5. Professional Networking
Continuing education exposes participants to other teachers and school administrators. These interactions often lead to friendships and/or professional networking that can help participants find collaborators or get jobs.

Continuing Education Options for Teachers



Continuing education for teachers takes many forms. These include for-credit graduate courses and non-credit professional development seminars, trainings, and workshops. Earning new credentials often supports salary raises and promotions. Due to the convenience and flexibility of distance learning, many teachers prefer online education courses. Learn more about continuing education options for teachers below.

Featured Online Programs

Find a program that meets your affordability, flexibility, and education needs through an accredited, online school.

Workshops and Seminars

An attractive source of non-graduate CEUs for teachers, workshops and seminars often take just a few days to complete. These sessions offer valuable knowledge and strategies for addressing common teaching and learning issues. Often affordable, workshops and seminars can target specific areas and build specialized skills. Some schools hire providers to deliver this type of continuing education for teachers on site.


  • MindSteps Available online and in person, these workshops emphasize effective instruction principles and focus on common classroom teaching issues. Mindsteps also brings its workshops to schools upon request.
  • Heinemann Seminars and Workshops This company provides online education courses for teachers. Heinemann also provides virtual workshops, retreats, and seminars on key teaching topics. Common topics include creativity, comprehension, justice, and literacy.
  • Genuine Lindamood-Bell Workshops These online and on-site K-12 teaching workshops focus on math and language comprehension. The workshops explore how visualization, verbalization, and phonemic awareness facilitate learning.
  • aha! Process, Inc. Workshops This organization promotes social justice through community sustainability, education, and resource equity. Enrollees learn strategies for addressing many related classroom issues, including truancy and disciplinary problems.

Noncredit Online Courses

Taking non-credit courses online constitutes a flexible and affordable continuing education option for busy teachers. These courses allow enrollees to fulfill their professional development requirements from home. Length, quality, and pricing vary considerably among the many online education courses for teachers available. Teachers should look for courses with positive reviews from prior participants.


  • Mount Wachusett Community College This school runs various online certificates and continuing education courses serving K-12 teachers and businesses. Course topics include substitute teacher preparation, generational learning styles, and gender in the classroom.
  • Advancement Courses These courses support teachers in upskilling and obtaining salary advancement. The organization provides over 280 online, self-paced continuing education courses. These courses fulfill graduate course and professional development credit requirements.
  • National University This school's online education courses for teachers address common contemporary student learning challenges, such as aggression and bullying, inclusion, and child abuse.
  • Witchita State This university runs online workforce education for K-12 teachers and community members. Wichita's non-credit teaching courses cover core topics, including English, physics, social studies, and physical education.
  • University of Phoenix UP's large catalog of continuing education courses can help teachers qualify for licensure renewal, recertification, and endorsements. Courses cover topics like leadership strategies for educators, curriculum and instruction supervision, and autism spectrum disorders.

Online Courses for Credit

Taking graduate-level online education courses for teachers can help enrollees work toward advanced degrees while satisfying state licensure renewal requirements. For-credit online courses usually cost more than non-credit courses, but the former can support degrees that raise graduates’ salaries.


  • CE Credits Online These self-paced, online graduate courses fulfill teacher recertification requirements. Enrollees can take courses on topics like special education, classroom engagement, and bullying prevention.
  • KET Education This online learning site offers self-paced continuing education courses for teachers working in Kentucky. The professional development courses cover topics relevant to early childhood education, K-12 education, and adult education fields.
  • ed2go Teacher Professional Development Online Courses These flexible online professional development courses provide teachers with new strategies for teaching reading and writing, computation, classroom technology, and special needs students.
  • University of La Verne Professional Development Courses These graduate-level courses provide semester credit that satisfies teaching recertification requirements. Enrollees can complete these self-paced courses online.
  • Learners Edge This online learning platform offers non-credit professional development courses and for-credit, graduate-level continuing education courses for teachers. Teachers can also pursue master's programs through Learner's Edge.

Learn More About Online Continuing Education Programs for Teachers Near Me



Continuing education for teachers can include online master’s programs, which allow students to specialize in a field, learn new skills, and advance their careers. The following list highlights some of the best online master’s programs for teachers.

Additional Continuing Education Resources for Educators



Many organizations support teachers by sharing information, education, networking opportunities, and professional development opportunities. The five resources below constitute just a few of the many helpful continuing education resources available for educators.


  • All Education Schools This resource offers guidance on various teaching careers, certifications, and degree paths. All Education Schools also provides a searchable directory of accredited teacher-education programs.
  • American Federation of Teachers Founded in 1916, the AFT represents, connects, and educates current and aspiring teachers. The AFT also provides news and action opportunities on important educational initiatives, programs, and projects.
  • Learning Policy Institute This nonprofit organization conducts and shares research on education policy and practice. The institute also produces policy-relevant materials, facilitates networking opportunities, and organizes events.
  • National Education Association The NEA provides various teaching resources, including training, reports, and guides. Focus areas include student engagement, leadership development, and justice in schools.
  • Teacher Certification Degrees This resource hub serves education students by explaining teacher certification and degree types and steps. The site also provides state-specific teacher certification information.

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