There are few jobs more noble and rewarding than that of an educator. But whether you’re new to the field of education or interested in making a career change, you might wonder how you become a Montessori school teacher.
Montessori educators, also known as guides, need special training and often certification to secure a job in a Montessori school. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you can complete Montessori certification at a designated training center. The training centers around the country offer in-person and online certification.
Montessori education is based on the methods and philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori and has been implemented in schools for over a hundred years. If you’re considering becoming a Montessori School teacher, keep reading. We’ll walk you through the steps to certification and what it takes to become a successful and qualified teacher in your field.
How Do You Become a Montessori School Teacher?
Becoming a Montessori school teacher can be incredibly rewarding, no matter what your background is. Some educators pursue their Montessori certification in a college program, while others who are making a career change might look for a freestanding Montessori certification program.
If you want to become a Montessori teacher, your first step is becoming a certified Montessori educator. Once you have a bachelor’s degree, the process is pretty straightforward. Becoming Montessori certified typically takes one to two years, depending on your education and the program you choose.
Simply put, the steps to becoming a Montessori school teacher are:
- Complete a bachelor’s program
- Find a Montessori training center
- Choose your level of certification
- Complete your teacher training
No matter what your previous experience is, most Montessori schools look for educators who have specific Montessori training or certification.
Do You Need Certification to Become a Montessori Teacher?
You may wonder if Montessori certification is necessary to become a Montessori school teacher. This depends on what type of role you’re looking for. To be an authentic lead teacher who is experienced in the Montessori method, certification is necessary.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t begin your journey in Montessori education until after you finish your certification. In many Montessori schools, assistant teachers are hired while they’re working on their Montessori training. Some schools even have their own Montessori training programs that teachers can participate in to further their understanding of the Montessori method. The requirements for experience and certification will vary by school. What your specific path looks like will depend on your college education and what experience you have as an educator.
How Long Does It Take To Get Montessori Certified?
In most cases, the training program to become Montessori certified takes between one to two years to finish. You might be taking classes while also getting hands-on experience in a Montessori classroom.
The length of the process will depend on your experience and the training you choose. There are training centers all across the country and even programs that are available online. During the process of working towards your Montessori certification, you may:
- Take courses on Montessori teaching
- Read Montessori books and training materials
- Observe Montessori classes
- Work as an assistant teacher or intern
Getting a Montessori certificate or diploma is the first step toward starting a fulfilling career as a Montessori teacher.
What Are the Best Montessori Training Programs?
Once you’re ready to start a Montessori training program, it’s time to determine which program is right for you. There are many different Montessori training centers out there, and there isn’t one right answer for which organization offers the best Montessori training program.
In fact, which training center you choose might vary based on your individual needs. When choosing a training center, here are some things to consider:
- Will you be taking in-person, online, or hybrid classes?
- Do you have a specific school in mind you would like to work at?
- How much time can you dedicate to courses or lectures?
- What age group would you like to specialize in?
Much like each training center has different requirements for certification, each Montessori school may have different requirements for who they hire. If there’s a specific Montessori school you want to apply to, it will benefit you to check their requirements before choosing a program.
Let’s look at several of the top Montessori training programs.
American Montessori Society (AMS)
They have AMS-affiliated teacher education programs across the country that offer courses to prepare you to become a highly qualified Montessori educator. You can either choose a college/university program or a free-standing program.
At a college/university program, you can earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree. On the other hand, freestanding programs allow you to earn credits towards a degree through their partnership with a university.
If you already hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, you will receive AMS Montessori credentials upon graduating from the program. If you only have a high school diploma, you can complete the program to receive an associate credential. Keep in mind most Montessori schools will require you to have a bachelor’s degree, but sometimes roles such as teaching assistant might only require Montessori training.
Association Montessori Internationale (AMI)
The Association Montessori Internationale aims to support children’s natural development from birth to their transition to adulthood. Part of their mission is to continue the legacy of Dr. Maria Montessori using the Montessori method in classrooms around the world. Courses for the AMI teacher training program are offered over one school year, during the summer, or in different study modules.
The AMI certification is widely recognized since the Association Montessori International is the original organization Dr. Maria Montessori founded. Each course in the program combines lectures, reading, and observation of teaching practices.
There are 15 AMI training centers in the US and at least one training center in over 40 countries. The courses at all AMI centers are taught by qualified AMI trainers and prepare you to work with a range of students in a Montessori setting.
International Montessori Council (IMC)
The International Montessori Council was founded in 1998 as part of the Montessori Foundation. Although IMC didn’t originally include teacher training in its mission, they now offer an IMC-affiliated Montessori Teacher Education Program for aspiring Montessori educators.
To meet the needs of various teachers, they offer a hybrid training program. This flexible program is offered through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies. While the courses are online through recorded video, you’re able to learn with other future educators as part of a learning cohort.
During your time as an adult learner, an instructional guide works with your group to ensure mastery of the Montessori concepts. The Montessori certification program through IMC includes a year-long practicum or supervised student teaching, and short-term face-to-face training. The entire process for certification takes about 18 months.
Can You Get Montessori Certification Online?
Yes, there are Montessori certification programs that are fully online. The accredited training program through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies offers a low residency, hybrid program that’s flexible enough to fit your lifestyle.
There are other online Montessori programs, such as the Prepared Montessori Institute and Montessori Live. Since each Montessori school has different requirements for educators, it’s important to look into the schools near you before choosing a program. Many of the training programs also have a place for you to search for schools that accept their certification.
Teaching at a Montessori School
If you’re considering starting your certification to become a Montessori school teacher, it’s important to know this is what you want to do before investing time and money. So what is it actually like teaching at a Montessori school?
You’re probably already familiar with many aspects of the Montessori method and understand the differences between Montessori education and a traditional school. One difference is Montessori educators are seen often as guides or facilitators. Unlike a traditional classroom environment where the teacher is the center of the classroom, in a Montessori environment, the classroom is student-led and student-centered.
However, this doesn’t mean your role as a teacher isn’t important. In fact, it’s just the opposite. When you become a Montessori educator, your role within the classroom environment is essential for the children to feel safe, comfortable, and empowered to learn and reach their full potential.
No matter what your goals are for your future career, Montessori certification is an essential part of becoming a Montessori teacher. While each training program is different, you’ll be able to start most programs with just a bachelor’s degree. There are plenty of Montessori training programs all over the world for aspiring educators who have a passion for the Montessori method.
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