What Are the Instructional Coaching Requirements?


What Are the Instructional Coaching Requirements?

What are the instructional coaching requirements?

Depending on what type of instructional coaching you want to do and the requirements of your district or school, the definition and qualifications for becoming an instructional coach can be different. Let’s talk about what degree you need in order to become an instructional coach, as well as any certifications or experiences you can add to your resume.

What to look for in this post:
Instructional coaching titles and responsibilities
What degree do instructional coaches need?
Instructional coaching certification programs

If you prefer to hear me talk through this, here is a video featuring all of this content:

[0:29] Instructional coaching titles and responsibilities

First, let me say that the title of “instructional coach” can cover a variety of actual job responsibilities. Sometimes a different title may be used, such as “literacy coach”, “math coach”, or “instructional specialist”. You may need to research different districts in your area or regions where you want to work to determine the titles they use.

I would also recommend looking into whether the position is a school-based or a district-based instructional coaching job. You might be focused at one or two schools within the district, or you may be the coordinator for all of the schools within a district in a certain subject area, content area, or grade level.

[1:55] What degree do instructional coaches need?

In addition to the job titles and descriptions, the degrees required for instructional coaching can vary. Sometimes an instructional coach only requires a bachelor’s degree in education. Other positions require a master’s degree in instructional coaching or a special certification for instructional coaching.

In my position as an instructional coach, I have to have a bachelor’s degree and a valid teaching certificate in the state where I live. Before you run out and spend thousands of dollars on an instructional coaching degree, I want to share some valuable advice with you that was given to me by one of my college professors. She encouraged me to be sure that whatever endorsement, certification, or degree I seek, it adds value and opens up new doors. If you’re going to be spending so much money and time, you want to be sure it gives you a leg up compared to where you were before.

I have a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, which is a fancy way of saying elementary education. I am certified to teach kindergarten through eighth grade, and my master’s degree is in Education Administration. That opens the door for me to become a principal, if I choose to do so. My third degree is an educational specialist degree (the degree between a master’s degree and a doctorate - about two years extra after a master’s) in Education. Now, I know it sounds like I’m breaking my own rule there. BUT, adding an Ed.S. allows me to become a professor for education and it opens the door for me to start at the community college level.

You can certainly get a degree in instructional coaching. If your dream is to be an instructional coach, and you need that degree where you live, then guess what? You need to get that degree in instructional coaching! There might, however, be other degrees that make more sense for you in the long run. You may want to get a degree in Administration. Even though I have no desire in my heart to be a principal at this time, it will be an option in the future. Maybe you want to add an endorsement or certification. You could seek a master’s or other additional degree in Special Education, because that would open doors for sure. It would give you a specialty area.

My primary advice here is to make sure you are adding something new to your resume with the next degree. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, I would not advise you to also get a master’s degree in elementary education. Carve out a niche or a specialty area for yourself.

[7:20] Instructional coaching certification programs

There are some schools that offer instructional coaching certifications. They are typically between nine to twelve credit hours, so you can take three or four classes and walk away with that endorsement. It isn’t another master’s degree, but it is a certification that you may need in order to become an instructional coach in certain schools or districts. There are several different paths that instructional coaches can take to get to that point, so take some time to figure out the requirements in your area.

Looking for more instructional coaching resources?

You can join our monthly instructional coaching email list for free resources and tips.
My Instructional Coaching Time Tracking Tool is available on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Check out these related posts:
Instructional Coach Interview Tips
7 Tips for Becoming an Instructional Coach
Instructional Coaching in 5 Words
4 Tips for a New Instructional Coach

Check out these related YouTube videos:
How to Become an Instructional Coach: Definition & Qualifications
7 Tips for How to Become an Instructional Coach
Suggested Reading to Prepare for Instructional Coaching
Instructional Coaching Video Playlist

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