A Ten-Year Journey: Permanent Professional Certification

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A couple weeks ago I received a special envelope in the mail. You could say I’ve been waiting for this piece of paper for the last ten years. 

It’s true!

Ten years ago I started a professional certification process through the oldest and foremost teaching organizations, the MTNA or Music Teachers National Association. It’s a process that authenticates a music teacher’s qualifications for a particular area of professional practice.

MTNA Professional Certification is for teachers in any musical field who work with students of any age, both in group and individual lessons. The process of certification involves standards of competency which involve both an application and written test. It (more importantly) involves a commitment to continuing professional education and development. Nationally Certified teachers must meet annual professional continuing education requirements. These points must be documented and submitted to the board in the Spring of every year in order to remain in good standing. 

Teachers who are certified carry a professional credential of NCTM or Nationally Certified Teacher of Music. If a Professionally Certified teacher remains in good standing for ten consecutive years, they are awarded a Permanent Professional Certification. 

Fast forward to ten years after the arrival of my first certificate. Two weeks ago my TENTH certificate arrived! It reads “Having given evidence of competency and demonstration of required knowledge and skills and having met all criteria in accordance with all approved standards and procedures established by Music Teachers National Association hereby confers and authorizes the use of the designated credential of….Permanent Professional Certified Teacher of Music in Piano.”


Wait a second. Does this mean I’ll stop thinking about teaching and studying my field? Will I stop being that nerdy teacher that geeks out about music theory and improv? Will I stop realizing late at night that I could have introduced a concept in a different way and it might have been clearer…better for my students? 

Nah. Every lesson is an adventure. It’s a learning opportunity for my students AND for me. My students have taught me more than I will ever teach them. 

A big THANK YOU to all my students. I could not have made it through ten years of National certification without you.