The Advanced Placement program from the College Board allows students to take higher-level courses with a chance to earn college credit. While there are no formal requirements to be an AP teacher, a teacher must teach students at a high level and prepare them to pass the AP exam. The College Board outlines the qualities an AP teacher should possess.
The College Board recommends that AP teachers hold a bachelor's degree or higher in the area they teach or in a related field. For example, in addition to a teaching degree, an AP biology teacher would also hold a bachelor's degree in biology or another scientific field. Because AP classes should expose students to college-level curriculum and higher-level questions, the College Board also suggests that AP teachers hold an advanced degree, just as a college professor would.
Based on the College Board guide for AP teachers, an AP teacher should have at least three years of teaching experience. Teachers with at least three years of experience have typically adjusted to the classroom and have learned which teaching strategies work better than others. To help students be successful on an AP exam, teachers should also demonstrate a familiarity with the AP exam for the subject they will teach. Becoming familiar with the exam involves talking with fellow AP teachers, taking AP-related courses through the College Board and reviewing copies of past AP exams.
Because the College Board recommends AP teachers have at least three years of experience, an AP teacher should meet highly qualified status and hold a professional teaching license in a field related to the course. In addition to a state teaching license, the College Board recommends that AP teachers be certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The standards required for National Board certification align with the standards the College Board desires in an AP teacher.
In addition to certification, experience and education requirements, the College Board outlines the attitude that an AP teacher should have. A successful AP teacher will have the desire to seek out professional development activities related to the latest instructional strategies and student achievement. AP teachers will also engage in regular analysis and reflection, which will help inform their teaching practices and assessments to ensure student success. The College Board offers AP Summer Institutes, training courses and online forums to help teachers collaborate with other AP teachers and learn more about the program.