National Geographic Educator Certification is a free professional development program that recognizes pre-K through 12 formal and informal educators committed to inspiring the next generation of explorers, conservationists, and changemakers. These educators are part of a powerful movement to make the world a better place by empowering students to be informed decision-makers equipped to solve meaningful challenges in their communities and beyond. Don’t just teach students about the world—teach them how to change it.
Our next available cohort will be in autumn 2019. To be notified when enrollment opens, sign up below.
Note: This course was primarily designed for educators in the U.S. and Canada who teach students in grades pre-K through 12, so it is grounded in education standards and cultural norms relevant to that context. If you teach outside of the U.S. or Canada, or if you work with learners outside this grade range, you are welcome to participate but some adaptations may be necessary.
This professional development program builds educators’ skills in generating classroom activities that are interdisciplinary and centered around real-world problems at local, regional, and global scales. Participants also gain an understanding of the National Geographic Learning Framework, a standards-aligned tool designed to develop an explorer’s mindset in students of any age. Certified educators receive a certificate and digital badge, and National Geographic notifies their administrators of the achievement.
Certified educators join an exclusive community of educators committed to supporting each other’s continuous growth. Members of this community teach in a wide variety of professional settings at various grade levels and across all subject areas. What unites them is the desire to innovate across discipline and empower students to take action to make the world a better place. Members of this unique group say participation has reinvigorated their teaching practice.
Certified educators are re-inventing education, and National Geographic wants to follow their lead. This group is uniquely qualified for volunteer and paid professional opportunities to advise on content and programming, lead National Geographic trainings, and serve as mentors to other educators. They receive early access to new National Geographic programs—including classroom connections with National Geographic Explorers—and they are eligible to apply for the annual Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship.
National Geographic Certified Educators teach in a huge variety of contexts—from pre-K through 12 across all subject areas—in classrooms as well as in informal settings. Meet a few of our certified educators below.
As a young girl, Kristi Barnes always wanted to be a teacher. What she did not know was that she would grow up to eventually teach at the same middle school she attended as a child—Seneca Middle School in Seneca, South Carolina. Kristi is passionate about learning and teaching about cultures from around the world. She is the founder of and a mentor for a multicultural support group for bilingual students called the “Bilingual Squad.” She is dedicated to inspiring her students to travel and be globally competent lifelong learners. One way Kristi shares this passion with her students is by informing and including them in her application processes for international professional development opportunities. She hopes this will inspire them to achieve their dreams as well.
As a 2013 Teacher for Global Classrooms fellow, she was able to travel to Brazil to learn about the educational system, culture, and teach professional development workshops to English teachers. As a 2018 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow with National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions, Kristi was able to travel to the Arctic countries of Norway, Greenland, and Iceland. While on expedition, she became inspired to learn more about wildlife preservation and conservation.Back
Peter Cameron has 24 years of elementary school level teaching experience and is a proven leader in the integration of technology in the classroom. Peter is passionate about sharing best practices, ideas, resources, lessons and student exemplars with teachers and administrators throughout the world. He believes in the power of connections and the profound ability that we all have to make a difference.
His work in the classroom has been featured by Google Earth Education, National Geographic, CBC News, As It Happens, and Owl Magazine. Peter has presented workshops from the local to international level. In 2017 and 2018, Peter served as an ambassador for National Geographic Educator Certification, supporting the program’s development and ability to scale as well as mentoring educators through it. He is also a Google Earth Education Expert, Apple Distinguished Educator, SMART Exemplary Educator, and Google Educator. Peter is the co-founder of #MADPD, a virtual education conference, and co-author of the educational resource Blue Gold.Back
For two decades as a public high school teacher, Kavita Gupta has worked tirelessly to bring access and relevance to science education nationwide alongside policy makers and educators. As a strand leader for the National Science Teachers Association’s national conferences, an advocate for science education funding at the Silicon Valley March for Science, one of the five National Geographic Education Fellows nationwide, and an author of publications such as Reaction Prediction: Made Easy, Kavita has impacted students, fellow educators, and the community at large toward science education.
Kavita teaches chemistry in a suburban public high school in the heart of Silicon Valley. She strives to teach the human before the student by assigning as much value to how students feel about the learning as to the learning itself. As a member of inaugural class of National Geographic Education fellows, Kavita has challenged students to learn holistically, contextually, and analytically so that they become curious learners and problem-solvers of tomorrow. Kavita has been recognized for her exceptional teaching by the City of Cupertino and by the higher education institutions such as Stanford, MIT, and the University of California. Kavita has also been featured in the Mercury News, the marquee Silicon Valley newspaper.Back
Susan Dorsey graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art and is a Master’s student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in the Global Field Program. She works as a museum educator at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland where she develops and facilitates classroom presentations, museum tours, and art workshops for students across the state. In 2017, Susan received the Maryland Art Museum Educator of the Year Award. She was also selected as an Artist-in-Residence with the National Park Service and received an education grant from NASA to develop a STEAM program for middle school students.
Susan is passionate about connecting students to cultures and objects from around the world through inquiry, critical thinking, hands-on, and interdisciplinary learning. She strives to nurture and inspire creativity. After becoming a National Geographic Certified Educator, Susan had the opportunity to test out and advise on a fledgling National Geographic Education program that paired National Geographic Explorers with educators to collaborate throughout the school year. Susan was paired with Paleontologist Harimalala Tsiory Andrianavalona, PhD, to develop innovative educational experiences for students. Learn more about this collaboration on Susan’s blog, Exploring through Education.Back
The Educator Certification program consists of three phases:
Photograph by Rebecca Hale
Participate in an in-person or online workshop to hone your skills in National Geographic’s educational mission: We teach kids about the world and how it works, empowering them to succeed and to make it a better place.
Photograph by Rebecca Hale
Develop and implement two activities that apply the skills gained in Phase 1 and incorporate a National Geographic resource.
Photograph by Rebecca Hale
Craft a capstone project that tells the story of student learning, demonstrates professional growth, and inspires other educators.
Our program is primarily designed for pre-K–12 educators who work in formal or informal settings in the United States and Canada. However, it is open to interested participants worldwide. Please note that all certification materials and deliverables are in English at this time.
There is no cost to participate in this program.
Certification can be done fully online. At times, the phase 1 workshop is offered in person (i.e. at conferences), in which case participants can sign up for the next cohort and pick up online at phase 2.
To enroll in the workshop and complete the capstone you need a computer or mobile device and internet connection. You will be expected to navigate and interact in an online course platform and produce a short video. Don’t let that intimidate you—many participants produce a video for the first time as part of certification.
Certification in total takes around 20 hours spaced out over three months. Once you enroll, we will provide recommendations for deadlines, but you are welcome to complete the program at your own pace.
While we don’t offer CEUs at this time, many districts provide credit hours for online professional development programs. The hours allotted for certification are 20. If you need us to sign a form, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certification is open for three cohorts each year—one beginning in the fall (typically September), one beginning in the winter (typically January), and one beginning in the spring (typically April).
You are welcome to collaborate, share ideas, or provide feedback for any part of certification, but the work you submit must be done on your own and be unique from one another. For example, if you and a colleague decide to collaborate to implement the classroom activities in Phase 2, you can plan and implement together but must write your own reflections and produce your own video. It might be a good idea to take the lead on different parts of the implementation or to work with a colleague who typically works in a different subject or grade so your experiences and expertise can complement one another. If you collaborate with a partner on lesson planning and implementation, it is acceptable to submit similar lesson plans.
In Phase 2 of certification you are asked to implement two activities with Pre-K through 12 learners. If you are an education professional or pre-service teacher and do not have your own class, see if you can co-teach or guest teach a lesson, or find an informal educational setting (i.e. afterschool program) where you would be able to work with students. It is fine if your two lessons are taught to two different groups of students or happen in different teaching settings, as well.
If you do not teach in the Pre-K through 12 range but are a formal or informal educator, you can still participate but will likely have to adapt the resources and materials to fit your needs as they were designed with the Pre-K through 12 educator and learner in mind.
You may join the course and participate, but note that your work might not be evaluated and you are not eligible to be a National Geographic Certified Educator. You will also not be eligible to work with a Certification Mentor as we prioritize educators for these limited opportunities. Additionally, you would not be eligible for our leadership opportunities after certification, such as the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, becoming a course Mentor or TA, being on a steering committee, or other similar positions.
Click the yellow sign-up button above to register through our course enrollment page.
If you wish to express interest in a future cohort that is not open for enrollment at this time (winter, spring, or fall), or need to unenroll, please email email@example.com. Any work you’ve completed in a previous cohort will not automatically transfer, so we recommend copying it to a personal document to save your work. There is no penalty for not completing certification in your original cohort and we encourage you to enroll in a later cohort.
Check your enrollment confirmation/welcome email for the course homepage, and be sure to bookmark that page so you can easily access the course. You can also find any course in which you are enrolled through your NGS account.
Keep an eye on the Certified Educator Community to find exclusive opportunities for National Geographic Certified Educators. They will be posted periodically throughout the year. You are also eligible to apply for the annual Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship, and we recommend you apply for an education grant.
International participants or participants who work with learners outside of the pre-K through 12 range may not be eligible to apply for all opportunities for which certification is a prerequisite.
No, your certification status will remain intact. Thank you for being among the first National Geographic Certified Educators and helping us to shape the program!
The beta experience of certification is no longer available as of summer of 2018. Please sign up to join a the next certification cohort at the top of this page.