If you’re reading this, it means you’re interested in taking steps to improve your practice as an educator and create better outcomes for your students. Congratulations! Your commitment to lifelong professional learning is essential in helping NEA fulfill its mission to provide a great public education for every student.
Unfortunately, not all educators have access to the professional development support they need. That’s why we created NEA Micro-credentials—to make it easy for all educators (teachers and education support professionals alike) to access professional learning opportunities throughout our careers.
What’s a Micro-Credential?
A micro-credential is a short, competency-based recognition that allows an educator to demonstrate mastery in a particular area. NEA micro-credentials are grounded in research and best practice and designed to be:
- Personalized: You can create your own learning journey, based on your interests and career goals; gaps in your skills; and the specific needs of your students, school, and district.
- Flexible: You can study when it’s convenient for you, alone or with your peers.
- Performance-based: Unlike “sit-and-get” certifications, NEA micro-credentials are awarded based on demonstrated mastery of the subject matter, not just for showing up.
NEA Micro-Credentials Program: Mastering New Skills to Help Students Succeed
How Do Micro-Credentials Work?
Micro-credentials are flexible. You can choose to learn on your own, or join a learning community and support each other through the process. The process is rigorous, so working with a group can help you earn your micro-credential sooner. Contact your local NEA affiliate to learn more about your options.
I chose the NEA micro-credentials specifically because of the reputation of the organization. Unlike private firms who offer micro-credentials for a cost, I knew that the NEA had the best interest of educators in mind and that they would be consistent and reliable. –Kristen Pierce (IL)
Ready to get started? Here's how it works, at a glance:
- Go to nea.certificationbank.com to get started.
- Select a skill you have developed or would like to develop.
- Collect the required evidence demonstrating your competence in the selected area.
- Submit by uploading your evidence.
- Share your achievement with others!
Process & Tips for Success
Select a skill you have developed or would like to develop, and download or view the micro-credential on nea.certificationbank.com. Read the micro-credential carefully to familiarize yourself with the resources, submission guidelines, and evaluation criteria. If you choose to print the micro-credential you may also want to view it digitally in order to access the clickable links in the research and resource sections.
Collect the required evidence demonstrating your competence in the selected area. For most micro-credentials, you will be required to collect evidence from real experiences in your classroom or worksite. Each micro-credential requires different kinds of work to demonstrate your mastery. For example you may need to write a lesson plan, videotape a meeting, or collect data to analyze. It typically takes about 10-15 hours to complete the requirements to earn a micro-credential.
Submit by uploading your evidence on nea.certificationbank.com. Once you click Start, you will see a place to upload each piece of evidence you have collected. It will take approximately two weeks for you to hear back from the reviewers.
You have six months from the time you click Start to complete your micro-credential. If your time runs out, you will need to click Start again and re-upload anything you already completed.
Share your achievement with others! After you have successfully earned the micro-credential, share it with your evaluator, post on social media and add to your resume. In some states, micro-credentials even count as continuing education units. You will need to check with your district or state to see if NEA micro-credentials are accepted. You can view all of your micro-credential badges on the My Showcase page.
Tips for success
Follow these tips to avoid the need for resubmission:
- Choose your micro-credential wisely.
- Study guidelines and scoring rubrics carefully.
- Answer all prompts; provide required evidence.
- Take advantage of your support system.
If you don’t pass the first time, you can address the feedback you receive from the reviewers and resubmit as often as you need to.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How much does it cost to apply for a micro-credential?
A: Micro-credentials are free to members. Non-members must pay a $75 fee to apply for a micro-credential.
Q: I’d like to study with a group. How can I find out if my local affiliate is actively organizing a learning community?
A: Call your local president or ask your building representative.
Q: I work for an NEA affiliate that is interested in starting a learning community. What do I do?
Q: What happens if I have a question about my micro-credential?
Q: Will earning a micro-credential make me eligible for a promotion and/or raise?
A: It depends on the policies in the state where you work. Get the latest information on continuing education credits or salary advancement units from your state department of education or the human resources department in your school district.
Q: What happens if I can’t finish a micro-credential in the allowed amount of time?
A: After six months, your application will be reset. You will need to start over when you are ready to finish uploading your evidence. It is important that you save your work on your own computer or in an online storage space in case this happens.
Q: What happens if I don’t pass the micro-credential? Do I have to start over?
A: You will receive feedback from your peer reviewer and be invited to address the feedback and resubmit. You may submit as many times as you need in order to pass. The national first-time pass rate is about 40 percent, so you shouldn’t feel bad if you don’t pass the first time. It is a process and the feedback is meant to help you improve your practice.
Still have questions? Drop us a line at [email protected]
NEA works in close partnership with Digital Promise on micro-credential development. Digital Promise has built an ecosystem of more than 400 micro-credentials covering a wide variety of topics and skills to personalize learning for educators. To learn more, visit microcredentials.digitalpromise.org.
Teaching with Primary Sources
NEA has partnered with Citizen U®, as part of the Barat Education Foundation Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) program grant, to develop a series of micro-credentials. These micro-credentials, developed in conjunction with other TPS Consortium members, are designed to help educators better integrate inquiry learning with primary sources into instruction across grades and disciplines using a variety of frameworks and strategies. More micro-credentials will be added yearly. Access the TPS micro-credentials by visiting nea.certificationbank.com/TPS.
National Center for Safe Supportive Schools NCS3
NEA acknowledges the National Center for Safe Supportive Schools (NCS3) for their review and endorsement of the following stacks of micro-credentials.