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How Does NEA Help Aspiring Educators?

The benefits of joining and belonging to an Association.
aspiring educator membership artwork NEA
Aspiring Educators badge small

Members of NEA Aspiring Educators belong to a network of nearly 50,000 students who believe in improved teacher education and support for prospective teachers. As the nation’s largest pre-professional association for future educators, NEA connects practicing teachers and fellow NEA Aspiring Educators through state and national leadership conferences, workshops, and public forums.

Members can also enrich their teaching and advocacy skills by holding local, state, or national office, or serving as a delegate to NEA’s annual Representative Assembly. Members of NEA Aspiring Educators also serve on the NEA Board of Directors and NEA Resolutions Committee, and they serve on committees that address a variety of issues, including human rights, legislation, and membership.

Union 101: How Your Union Works for You 

aspiring educator membership artwork
Download a copy of the Fight for the Schools All Students Deserve! poster here. Credit: NEA

When you belong to NEA Aspiring Educators you are part of a larger movement advancing the cause of public education. You also have access to:

A strong professional network—You’re plugged into a network of people who are in the know. If you don’t know who the association members in your building are, call your local association office, and they’ll point you in the right direction. 

#RedForEd—You’re part of a national movement that involves NEA educators, students, parents, and community members who think all students, no matter where they live, deserve better. 

Fighting for fair funding—NEA lobbyists work with legislators to create better education policy and improve school funding. They let legislators know about the needs, interests, and priorities of teachers. Plus, they advocate for association members’ rights on school boards and in Congress and state legislatures. 

Wage and benefits watchdogs—An experienced association staff helps the people at the bargaining table fight for your pay increases, benefits, and student-learning conditions. They do research and plan campaigns to help the school community understand the importance of supporting public education. 

Protection—UniServ directors advise  or represent members in employment-related matters. If a principal unfairly accuses you of being ineffective, the UniServ director is the one to call. If a legal issue arises, the union provides you with at least $1 million in liability insurance as an association member. Or, if your principal wants to take away your planning time in exchange for lunch duty, the staff at your local association office can tell you about your rights. 

Extra benefits, fun perks—You can get insurance discounts, cheaper movie tickets, and coupons for stores such as Target, Ann Taylor, and Best Buy through NEA Member Benefits

CREATE grantsCommunities Redefining Education Advocacy Through Empowerment (CREATE) grants provide members with up to $2,000 in funding to support chapter and/or statewide community service projects that promote NEA Aspiring Educators. 

Help with tuition costs—Members can apply for the Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship.

Subscription to NEA Today for Aspiring Educators, the magazine for members of NEA Aspiring Educators program.

Resources, job information, and links to other NEA student chapters

National-, state-, and chapter-level opportunities to participate in outreach projects such as school renovation, literacy, and food bank support.

Dues Rebate—When you join the National Education Association as a member, you'll receive a $20 dues rebate for every year of membership to NEA Aspiring Educators (up to four years) during the first teaching year. Details at nea.org/aerebate.

Professional Development Opportunities

National Virtual Leadership Summit: March 12 – 14, 2021. For more information, visit nea.org/leadershipdevelopment

NEA’s Aspiring Educators Conference: June 28 – July 1, 2021. (tentative dates). For information about attending, please email AspiringEd@nea.org. 

Access to micro-credentials—Improve your practice as an educator and create better outcomes for your students with NEA’s micro-credentials. Go to cgps.nea.org/micro-credentials and get started on your personalized professional learning journey.

How Does NEA Function?

Aspiring Educator members are part of the nation’s leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Education Association proudly claims 3 million members who work at every level of education—from preschool to university graduate programs. NEA affiliates are in every state and in more than 14,000 local communities nationwide.

NEA members from across the U.S. set association policy, most notably through an annual Representative Assembly— called the “RA”—held the last week of June and/or first week of July. NEA members at the state and local levels elect more than 7,000 RA delegates, who then elect NEA’s top officers, debate issues, and set NEA policy. NEA’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee serve as the top decision-making bodies. Staff at the local, state, and national levels carry out policies implemented by the governing bodies.

Students with NEA recognition awards

Become an Aspiring Educator

NEA’s Aspiring Educators Program supports, develops, and empowers diverse, pre-service teachers with the resources, networks, and opportunities to lead in their schools, communities, and in all phases of their career.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.