Business Education Teacher Certification

business education teacher certification

We are told at a young age that money doesn’t grow on trees. Yet it might as well be the truth in the minds of young people who have never held down a job or paid a bill. Without someone showing them how money and business work, students will be set up for problems later in life when they do have bills to pay and money to manage.

Teachers of business education fill this role. Few classroom subjects will prepare students for the real world to the same extent as the subject of business. It sets the stage for students to be prepared for their working life as well as their grown-up personal life.

Business education teachers help students reach their full potential as consumers, savers, investors, and working professionals by exposing them to economics, management principles, personal and corporate finance, and technology. Without this exposure, students may get a delayed start on understanding how to manage their finances, how to act in a professional manner, and how to work well with others.

For these reasons, business education teachers hold a gratifying position. They educate students on preparing for their future roles as employees and managers and even executives or entrepreneurs. Perhaps most importantly, they are giving students an understanding they may not get at home, such as the true value of a dollar, the importance of having strong credit, how to budget their finances, and how interest rates work. This schooling will help students prepare for the open job market and increase the chances they won’t let themselves become saddled with money management problems.

To enter this rewarding profession, potential business education teachers need to become certified.

What is Certification?

Certification gives teachers validity and shows they have a well-rounded education to do their job at the level parents and administrators would expect.

Credits and Debits

In 2007, Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy outlined the skills students should possess by the time they leave high school. Among the organization’s suggestions were the following standards that students should be able to achieve so that they can, as adults, maintain their creditworthiness and manage their debt:

  • Identify the costs and benefits of various types of credit
  • Explain the purpose of a credit record and identify borrowers’ credit report rights.
  • Describe ways to avoid or correct debt problems.
  • Summarize major consumer credit laws.

Certified teachers have met a set of standards and have received adequate training to educate students on a particular subject. Business education teacher certification, which is typically applied in secondary schools, reaffirms that teachers are prepared to share their tested knowledge with students. Explore your state requirements for teacher certification here.

In addition to acting as proof that teachers are competent in their field, certification shows teachers are serious enough about a subject area that they have made a commitment to keep themselves updated on a regular basis. Certified teachers’ willingness to continue educating themselves is particularly important when teaching students about business matters, since business trends and developments change every day, outside of school walls.

What do Business Teachers Need to Know?

Certified business teachers need to understand how businesses are run. They have a mix of subjects under their belt, including accounting, management, professional development, technology, communications, and marketing.

They need to keep up-to-date with the latest business news and shifts in technology, such as the ubiquity of social media, to keep their curriculum relevant and engaging.

Collaboration and Professionalism

Business education teachers who enjoy their subject often have fun in their classrooms. They have flexibility in how they teach, and the subject matter is always evolving. They can incorporate current events and introduce activities that reinforce their lectures and make their teachings more tangible for students.

Testing Business Smarts

Certification exams for business education see whether business educators have knowledge in these areas:

  • U.S. economic systems
  • Money management
  • Work standards
  • Ethics and human relations
  • Technology
  • Office procedures and management
  • Employability
  • Accounting and marketing

Students learn by doing. Projects based on real-world examples can expose them to the art of collaboration they will face in the workplace. Teachers can split the class into teams made up of executives, middle managers, and rank-and-file positions. This role-playing lets students experience firsthand the dynamics between managers and employees, and between coworkers.

By spelling out responsibilities in this way, students will practice how to act professionally and be respectful of their peers and superiors. Using case studies of real businesses allows teachers to guide their students through realistic scenarios and explore what they would do in a given situation to consider the best outcome for a company.

Teaching Technology

Since computer literacy is often lumped into the business education curriculum, potential business teachers should also be up-to-date on the latest advances in technology. Students have an ever-increasing need to be aware of changes since technology permeates our everyday lives, particularly in the workplace.

As a result, teachers should have knowledge of keyboarding, desktop publishing, web design, hardware, and software. Business teachers, for example, may have students create their own company website using a basic software program.

Social networking, which is becoming more popular (particularly for high school students who use Twitter, Facebook, and similar programs), can serve as a learning tool as well. Teachers can use blog programs or create their own social network for students to use for a joint project, which could last the entire school year. These tools could also be discussed for explaining to students the perils of computer security and the importance of maintaining privacy of their personal information.

More Memorable Lessons

The most effective business teachers have relationships with outside businesses so that they can stay informed about changes in the business world. More importantly, through these partnerships, teachers can offer their students unique opportunities, such as guest speakers and internships.

By hearing from businesspeople or going through a test run by working for a company – even if it’s just a one-day exercise – students will make a connection between what they hear in the classroom and what they will need to do in the workplace. They will be more likely to remember the important principles that their teachers tell them. These experiences help them make choices on what career to pursue by informing them about what daily working life is truly like.

Teachers can expose students to real-world experiences within the classroom walls as well. A great exercise is to break students into groups and have them create business plans, for example. Such an exercise teaches role-playing, problem-solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. Students will have to work together to think of an idea, conduct market research on their concept, and decide whether their plan would be viable in the marketplace.

Gaining Certification

While certification of business education teachers vary by state, in general, these teachers have a bachelor’s degree and have taken economics and finance classes in addition to education courses. Teachers may have a specialty or they may have more general knowledge about business and finance topics.

Certificate programs typically include classes on basic accounting principles, macroeconomics, international business, and business law, among other relevant topics.
The certification process ends with a test of multiple-choice questions. These exams require teachers to demonstrate their knowledge of business and finance topics, and the results indicate whether they can accurately interpret business terms.

To learn about your state’s certification process, choose your state from the map of state teaching certification requirements here.

The Need for Financial Literacy

Young adults could face a shock if they are not ready to manage their money by the time they leave high school. Despite the fact that money can be a source of stress on many families, it is a topic that is not addressed in every school. Only 13 states require students to take a personal finance course before they graduate, according to a 2011 report by the Council for Economic Education.

Ironically, unlike teachers who specialize in other topics, educators of business and finance today likely weren’t schooled on the subjects in their high schools and had to learn about it later in life, through personal experiences and their genuine interest in the topic.

Fortunately for those teachers, schools are more likely to have an economics course than they did when the Council for Economic Education began surveying states about their education policies in 1998. However, the advocacy group says, momentum has slowed. While students have to take an economics course in order to graduate from high school in 22 states (an increase of one state compared to 2009), only 16 states require that students be tested in their knowledge of economics, which is a decline from 19 states that had this requirement in 2009.

The Council believes economic and personal finance education should be a priority for schools to help young people succeed in their roles as consumers and savers. In its 2011 report, it cited a troubling figure: only half of adults in the United States can define “budget deficit.”

To give today’s students more of a head start on the responsibility they will have over their own and their family’s finances down the road, the Council offers a free online game for teachers to use in their classroom. Called Gen i Revolution, the game teaches players about wealth generation, budgeting, risk and return, and the stock market.