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Two teachers walking down hallway

Recommendations by Career Phase

Helping Educators Excel, at Every Stage of their Career
Our experts share their vision for excellence and identify the supports and actions required for teachers to succeed and grow throughout their careers.

Choose a career phase

Our experts share their vision for the profession and offer tips for how educators can achieve great teaching and learning at every stage of their career.

A smiling male high school student

Potential Teacher

Potential teachers are typically in high school (or younger), but can be adults considering a career change. They are not enrolled in a formal teacher preparation program (TPP).
Potential teacher

Aspiring Teacher

Aspiring teachers, often referred to as “candidates," are enrolled in a TPP and are working toward an initial license/certification.
An emerging teacher wearing lab goggles supervises students conducting a science experiment

Emerging Teacher

Emerging teachers have completed a TPP and hold an initial license. They have 0-4 years of teaching experience and engage in induction activities with the goal of receiving full licensure.
An male Asian teacher writes on a whiteboard

Professional Teacher

Professional teachers have full licensure and have a broad repertoire of teaching skills. This can be a career-long phase of continuous growth and pursuit of excellence.
A young teacher works with a student in a classroom setting

Accomplished Teacher

Accomplished teachers demonstrate outstanding performance and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement in practice. They may have completed a formal assessment process.
A middle-aged female teacher stands in front of a chalkboard with her arms folded

Teacher Leader

Teacher leaders seek to broaden their impact on student learning and actively contribute to their school, district, and the profession. Teachers can be leaders at any phase of their careers.
An ethnically diverse group of children smiling at the camera

About This Report

Priorities for Transformation

Laying the Groundwork

Teacher with Parents and Student
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.