Educator Certificates


Combine Multiple Courses to Earn a Certificate Demonstrating Mastery of Key Teaching Skills and Subject Areas 

USD’s online educator certificate programs offer targeted, results-orientated courses designed especially for busy working teachers. A certificate is a rigorous, multi-course program of study that demonstrates a progression of learning and the mastery of a specific body of knowledge. From Bullying Prevention and Classroom Management to Teacher Leadership and more, you’ll develop critical workplace knowledge, skills and tools that you can apply immediately. Completing an educator certificate program offers multiple benefits for teachers and can be an excellent way to:

  • Earn professional development credits 
  • Position yourself for salary advancement 
  • Gain Expertise that will enhance your classroom and school campus

What is an Educator Certificate 

Certificates at USD are a minimum of 8 semester units of coursework, and have gone through extensive community reviews, curricular oversight, and university approvals before they are offered for continuing education or professional development.

You will take multiple courses in an area of interest and, upon completion of your program, receive a certificate that is recorded on your transcript along with a printed certificate that is suitable for framing.

Our courses and certificates can in many cases be applied toward school district salary advancement programs. However, it is important to check with your district to confirm that the courses you select will satisfy their requirements. For more information, please visit our “What is a Certificate?” page.

Types of Educator Certificates 

The University of San Diego offers a wide variety of certificate programs. Popular programs include:

Teacher Leadership Certificate — If you are interested in educational leadership, this program empowers teachers to become effective leaders in their current and future schools and/or districts.  The curriculum focuses on developing leadership skills to contribute to teacher/student/school success.

Mental Health First Response Certificate -- This program focuses on saving lives by recognizing the emotional distress, depression and other issues that impact students.  Learn how to make appropriate referrals and respond to mental health issues within the school setting.

Love of Language Certificate — These courses are for educators who are passionate about the beauty and power of language. Select individual language or literature courses, ranging from writing and grammar (yes, grammar!) to literature and poetry genres or significant authors. Available in independent study format.

Bullying Prevention in Our Schools Certificate — Bullying is one of the most concerning issues facing school communities today. This program covers effective early identification, prevention, victim support, cyber-bullying awareness and school culture changes that provide real solutions.

Effective Classroom Management Solutions Certificate — Good classroom management is necessary to create an effective learning environment for your students. This program helps new teachers develop a classroom management approach and experienced teachers improve their existing practices.

Coaching Today’s Student Athletes Certificate — Created by coaches for current and aspiring coaches, this program of courses helps you understand how to communicate with and motivate your athletes, and how to model leadership, teamwork, sportsmanship and other important character traits.


Banner: Reasons Why Education Matters


How Does the Educator Certificate Work?

Of course, you can always take our educator courses individually. When taking multiple courses as part of a certificate program, you can start by simply enrolling in one of the courses listed in the certificate program curriculum.

Just click on the course listing and you will see the Course Description page, which offers detailed information about the course including the format (online, onsite, independent study) and tuition cost. From here you can add the course to your shopping cart.

In addition to the tuition cost, you will pay a nominal, one-time fee to become a certificate candidate. Once you begin, you will have 5 years to meet all of the requirements for completing your certificate program; there is also flexibility to expedite the process and complete your program quickly. Most certificate courses need not be taken in order.

Why Get an Educator Certificate 

Whether you are interested in professional development, improving existing skills and knowledge, or are preparing for a career change, the University of San Diego offers certificate programs and courses designed to help you achieve your goals.

History has shown that salary advancement is a key motivator for many of our students. USD offers opportunities to help meet district requirements while studying a topic that holds special interest and fulfills potential skills gaps.

Who Should Get an Educator Certificate 

Are you looking for a stimulating way to fulfill professional development or salary advancement requirements? Do you want in-depth training in a specific area of interest to boost your effectiveness in your current role or to position yourself for your next career step within education? These are among the scenarios in which enrolling in an educator certificate program can help you fulfill your goals.

More specifically, one’s reasons for earning, say, a Bullying Prevention or Classroom Management certificate could range from the personal to professional to a combination of both. For example:

  • You are aware of a specific instance of bullying and want to develop strategies and best practices for resolving the problem. 
  • You are motivated to become a school leader in bullying prevention and need the training to demonstrate your commitment to and understanding of such a role. 
  • A performance evaluation may have identified a need to enhance your skills in a particular area; or example, classroom management. 
  • You want to fulfill professional development requirements by earning credits in a specific area of interest. 
  • The same might be true of an opportunity to earn credits toward a district-administered salary advancement program. 

Certificate programs are geared to the K-12 education professional, and some can also be relevant for the community college-level instructor. 

Awarding Certificates

All credit courses within the certificate program must be completed with a "C" or higher grade. The final GPA should be 2.5 (out of 4) or higher, based only on credit courses taken from the USD Division of Professional and Continuing Education.

Cost of Getting an Educator Certificate 

The cost of earning your educator certificate is easily calculated by simply totaling the cost of each individual course and adding a one-time, $45 fee to become a certificate candidate.

Online Teaching Courses

In addition to our online educator certificate programs, the University of San Diego offers more than 500 high-quality online teaching courses that can be taken individually. Whether taken individually or as part of an educator certificate program, each of our continuing education courses — created by educators for educators — is designed to motivate teachers, enhance instruction and stimulate student learning.

Online Teaching Program

From an overall perspective, the online teaching programs at USD are focused on providing an affordable, high-quality learning experience for participating educators — offering convenient, academically rigorous online continuing education options extends our program’s reach across the nation and beyond.

Learn on Your Schedule with Self-Paced Courses

Designed to accommodate the varied needs of busy working professionals, our teacher courses and educator certificate programs are offered in a number of convenient formats:

Classroom Courses — Courses are offered in traditional classroom settings in San Diego and Los Angeles to facilitate immediate feedback and to foster interaction with the instructor and classmates.

Online Fixed-Date Courses — Complete all of your studying and assignments online, on your schedule, meeting deadlines as you go, with beginning and end dates that are helpful for planning your calendar. Enhance your learning experience by engaging in meaningful interaction with your instructor and your peers every step of the way.

Online Self-Paced Courses — In our online self-paced classes, you’ll connect to your coursework through an easy-to-use online learning portal. In this format, you’ll have up to 6 months to complete your coursework, receiving quality feedback from your instructor along your learning journey.

Independent Study Self-Paced Courses Working independently, you’ll have up to 9 months to complete your work; along with ongoing support from your instructor, who’ll be available to answer questions and offer feedback to assist in your learning. Many of our students take advantage of this option to accelerate their studies and complete the course more quickly.

If you have questions about any of our course format options, just contact Enrollment and Student Services for more information. 

Why Choose the University of San Diego

At USD, our commitment to providing educators with valuable, affordable opportunities for professional growth dates back decades. Among the many reasons to choose the University of San Diego for educator courses and certificate programs:

  • USD is a nationally ranked academic institution with a strong reputation.
  • Choose from multiple course formats — on campus, online, independent study.
  • On-site students will enjoy our sunny campus and stunning, panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Online students will benefit from a program that was one of the first to offer professional growth courses in online or distance learning format.
  • Learn from dedicated, experienced, engaging instructors

Our Mission

Founded in 1949, the University of San Diego is committed to advancing academic excellence, expanding liberal and professional knowledge, creating a diverse and inclusive community, and preparing leaders dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service. The Division of Professional and Continuing Education shares this mission through academic outreach to adult and professional students.

National Rankings

The University of San Diego is recognized as a Community Engagement Institution by the Carnegie Foundation and as a member of the Ashoka Changemaker Campus Consortium.

USD has also earned citations and rankings from U.S. News & World Report (including #91 among National Universities and #66 for Best Value Schools) and the Princeton Review (including #3 for Most Beautiful Campus and #12 for Best-run Colleges), as well as many other publications including Bloomberg, The Financial Times, Kiplinger, Business Insider, Military Times and the Hollywood Reporter.

Here is a list of notable USD rankings.


The University of San Diego is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).


Students in our educator courses and certificate programs receive a complimentary transcript.

If you are not currently enrolled or need the transcript sent to a different location than the address on file, you will need to login to your account on our website

If you do not remember your login information, please do not create a new account; instead, please call Enrollment and Student Services at 888-321-6658 for assistance obtaining your login information. 

Please send all written requests to:
University of San Diego
Professional and Continuing Education
5998 Alcala Park San Diego CA 92110-2492

Transcripts are mailed via USPS within 3 business days of receipt of the request.

The credit earned is considered Graduate Level Extension Credit, in semester hours, meaning that the credit earned is usually good toward salary advancement and is not usually good toward a degree. Prior district approval is highly recommended and the responsibility of the student if using the units toward salary advancement.

Courses in the X700-X799 series are professional, graduate level (post-baccalaureate) extension credit in semester hours in the field of education (prior to 2014, 500 and 700 series numbers were used). Courses are specifically designed to meet the needs of beginning, veteran and prospective teachers (K-12) in both public and private school systems, with some courses also applicable to community college-level instructors. Areas of emphasis include pedagogy, curriculum design, teaching methods and development of materials. Course credit fulfills requirements for professional growth, in-service and salary-step requirements. Course credit is recorded on an official university transcript and becomes part of the student's permanent record at USD.

For additional information regarding any of our courses or programs, please complete the Contact Us form or call our office during business hours (M-F, 8:30 am – 5 pm, PST) at 619-547-0172 or toll free at 888-321-6658.

Search for your course name or number using Search Courses*, fill out as much information about your course as you know and click search. If you cannot find the course you are looking for, please Contact Us.

*You can also find Search Courses at the bottom of the Programs Menu.

Online Fixed-Date courses offer a convenient, yet rigorous style of learning that allows you to structure your education to suit your schedule while staying on pace toward achieving your educational goals. Online Fixed-Date courses have fixed start and finish dates similar to classroom courses, but as an online student you will have access to your classroom at any time and can view your assignments, syllabus and course resources from any computer with internet capability.

Online Fix-Date courses offer the same high-quality content and expert instruction as the courses held on-ground at the University of San Diego. Instructors facilitate courses through engaging multimedia presentations and provide prompt feedback to questions within a 24–48 hour time frame. This online format allows students to interact with classmates worldwide and replicate in-classroom interactions through weekly discussion forums, chats and email communication.

Online Self-Paced courses are a perfect blend of accessibility, convenience and flexibility for you to control your learning pace. You will use course textbooks, manuals, assignments and exams to learn and earn credit. Depending on the course, you may also use streaming audio and video, CD-ROM and downloaded materials. Communication with your instructor will take place online through your course site. Your instructor will provide feedback via written responses on your assignments and exams. Grades are based on completed projects, assignments and exams. You can register at any time and you will have six months from the time of registration to complete your course.

The addresses for classroom courses are provided at the section level detail on the course page. Once you know the address, we recommend you visit our campus map at Otherwise, please contact the Enrollment and Student Services during business hours (M-F, 8:30 am – 5 pm, PST) at 619-547-0172 or toll free at 888-321-6658.

USD Professional and Continuing Education allows for a maximum of 18 units to be completed during any one semester: FALL (September - December), SPRING (January - April) and SUMMER (May - August).

Yes, you can do this by clicking on Join our Mailing list.

Yes, on the course page click on Request Information and you will be notified by email when enrollment is open for the course, or you can complete the Course Inquiry form.


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