How to Get Certified to Teach AP Courses

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Advanced Placement (AP) courses allow students to enroll in college level courses and earn college credit while still in high school. According to the College Board, as of 2008, AP students had a better college graduation rate than individuals who didn’t take these courses. There isn’t a national certification for teachers interested in teaching AP courses; however, some states may require certification. At a minimum, teachers interested in teaching these courses should attend educational events sponsored by the College Board to learn how to develop an AP course.

Enroll in College Board Workshops. Teachers who haven’t previously taught AP courses should consider enrolling in College Board workshops. These workshops are course specific and help teachers develop a curriculum and syllabus that is appropriate for an AP level class. These workshops range in length from one day to several days.

Consider enrolling in a Summer Institute. Summer institutes are hosted by universities and colleges, and provide courses that span over a few weeks. These courses prepare teachers to teach AP classes.

Attend the College Board annual conference. This conference is held once a year for AP teachers. It offers panel discussions and lectures to learn more about successfully teaching AP courses.

Check your local requirements. There currently isn’t a national set criteria determining who can teach these courses. However, your state department of education or school district may have its own certification process. Contact your state department of education and partner with your school’s principal to meet local certification requirements.

Submit your course’s syllabus. After getting the necessary training and your school’s approval to offer AP courses, you’ll need to get the College Board approval on the curriculum. Submit your complete syllabus to the College Board. This will allow the school to list your course as “AP” on high school transcripts (and award college credit to students).


After taking the initial education courses, continue to take new courses every year. This will allow you to improve your course curriculum and share your best practices with other AP educators.


If you don’t get syllabus approval from the College Board, students won’t receive college credit and the course can’t be listed as “AP” on the student’s transcript.