Montessori teachers are in high demand and are a great alternative to the standard teaching in many public and private schools. The Montessori approach to teaching focuses on guiding a child through their development with relatively independent hands-on learning.
Becoming a Montessori teacher is simple and requires a short certification process. Montessori teachers must have a bachelor’s degree and complete the training process at a certified training center. There are training centers worldwide, so no matter the location, there is most likely a Montessori training school nearby.
There are a few things to consider when becoming a Montessori certified teacher. Read on to find out how to get your Montessori certification, if this teaching style is right for you, and where you should get your certification.
How Do I Get My Montessori Certification?
Getting your Montessori certification is a very straight forward process. After you have graduated with your bachelor’s degree, you need about one or two more years of training, and then you can teach in a Montessori school. This is a major time commitment, especially after completing four years of higher education. Therefore, it is important to make sure the certification process and Montessori teaching are right for you.
Here are the steps you will take to get your Montessori teaching certification:
- Get your bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
- Find an accredited Montessori training center. The Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) has a comprehensive list of accredited training in the United States.
- Determine which level of certification is right for you. Your training program may offer more or fewer levels depending on their specialty.
- Enroll and complete a Montessori teacher training.
When Can I Expect to Finish My Montessori Teaching Credentials?
Generally, a Montessori teacher certification takes one or two years to complete. There are quite a few ways you will be learning, and the certification may include both in-person classes and online seminars. Most Montessori teachers in training spend 1,200 hours working on their certification.
Here is what you can expect during your Montessori teacher certification process:
- Listening to lectures
- Creating teaching manuals
- Reading books and journal articles
- Writing reports
- Observing students in different Montessori programs
- Developing a yearlong project
- Completing a practicum, at least one year long
Which Montessori Training Is the Best?
There are great reviews for the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI), the American Montessori Society (AMS), and the International Montessori Council (IMC). All three offer superior Montessori teacher education and certification.
However, the Association Montessori Internationale is considered the best because it was the first Montessori organization. It has a consistent training program, which means many Montessori schools recognize and accept this association’s diploma.
The Association Montessori Internationale was founded in 1929. It is the original organization founded by Dr. Maria Montessori. Dr. Montessori pioneered her pedagogy and established this organization to develop her teaching worldwide.
|Limited use of technology||Some schools may not look for or recognize AMI diplomas|
|17 training centers in the United States|
|Diploma would be recognized at most all Montessori schools|
Known for its consistency
The American Montessori Society was founded in 1960. Dr. Nancy Rambusch organized this society as a United States-based organization. Dr. Rambusch worked for the AMI before establishing the AMS. There are currently 92 training centers globally.
|Modern approach to classroom teaching and uses of technology||Diploma will not be accepted for lead teacher positions in AMI schools|
|Largest United States Montessori organization||Requires more research based on the school you plan to teach|
|Most likely to find a training center within driving distance|
The International Montessori Council was founded in 1998. It started as a membership organization created by Montessori Foundation. The Center for Guided Montessori Studies is housed in this organization. In addition to membership, the IMC offers teacher training through the Center for Guided Montessori Studies.
|Offers online training||Internship required, not necessarily paid|
|Costs less because of the online platform||No in-person training|
|500 affiliated schools|
|Thorough and accessible program|
|One of the few accredited online training programs|
Can You Get Montessori Certified Online?
Yes, some programs for Montessori training are offered completely online. The Center for Guided Montessori Studies, which is part of the International Montessori Council (IMC), holds one of very few accredited online Montessori teacher training programs. Its online program is well-rounded and costs less than other more traditional training programs.
In addition to the above three schools, there are many other Montessori schools and organizations. These range from membership groups to resource centers for different parts of the world. Since they were all established at different times, the teaching philosophy may vary slightly from Dr. Montessori’s original idea.
Here are a few more Montessori organizations that can help you find accredited teachers, schools, and training opportunities:
|Other Montessori Organizations and Associations||Quick facts|
|International Association of Progressive Montessorians (IAPM)||Founded in 1961|
Organized by Sister Angela Martin Aguilera
Three United States training centers
Five international training centers
|Montessori Educational Programs International (MEPI)||Founded 1995|
United States and globally established
|Pan American Montessori Society (PAMS)||Founded in 1973|
Organized by Dr. Elisabeth Caspari and Kennesaw State University
Should I Teach at a Montessori School?
Teaching at a Montessori school is based on child development and not focused on the same learning objectives and outcomes found in regular public schools. The American Montessori Society summarizes the requirements of becoming a certified Montessori teacher. You should teach at a Montessori school if you can fully commit to the philosophy first set out by Dr. Maria Montessori.
The following are some of the goals you set out to achieve as a Montessori teacher:
- Bring creativity and compassion to the classroom
- Structure the classroom for students to explore learning in different ways
- Encourage students to be knowledgeable, kind, and joyous in the classroom
- Design opportunities for independence, citizenship, and accountability
- Empower students through trusting relationships
- Create areas for students to develop and practice responsibility
The goals of a Montessori teacher are at the core of the training’s purpose to lead an educational transformation. The following are only a handful of the outcomes you aim to experience as a Montessori teacher.
Some reasons you should become a certified Montessori teacher are:
- Providing a flexible learning environment
- Focusing on hands-on learning
- Seeing the joy children experience learning independently
- Promoting engagement from all students at different levels
Another consideration to make when you are thinking about becoming a Montessori certified teacher is the age of your future students. Montessori teaching focuses on early childhood education and will only certify you to teach children up to 12 years old.
Seven levels of certification allow you to teach children different age ranges:
- 0 to 3 years old – Infant and toddler certification
- 2 and a half to 6 years old – Early childhood certification
- 6 to 9 years old – Elementary I certification
- 9 to 12 years old – Elementary II certification
- 6 to 12 years old – Elementary I and II certification
- 12 to 15 years old – Secondary I certification
- 12 to 18 years old – Secondary I and II certification
One nice thing about the certification levels is that for the first two age groups – birth to 3 years old and 2.5 to 6 years old – you do not need a bachelor’s degree to be certified. These two certification levels are also offered as an Associate credential, instead of the Full credential, in some training programs.
Can Montessori Teachers Teach in Primary Schools?
Montessori teachers are not able to teach in an average primary school. Primary schools often require teacher licensure that is regulated by each individual state with some federal guidelines. For this reason, a Montessori teacher could not teach in public primary schools with only a Montessori certification.
Becoming a Montessori-certified teacher is easy. It does require you to have a four-year degree for most programs. However, there are some exceptions, and you should consult with the training center if you have questions or concerns. The process is the same at most training centers and takes about one to two years to become certified.
There is a significant advantage to teaching children as they grow developmentally and at a pace that suits them. It creates lasting bonds and allows you to know your students better. If you have been considering becoming a Montessori teacher, now is the time to do so!
Check out our full article to learn more about how much Montessori teachers, assistants, and directors make.
For more information about the Montessori Method, click here.