For those of you living in states with a "middle grades" or "middle level" certification, is it useful in any way? I am confused because it certifies teachers to teach a single subject, usually in grades 4-6 ... but where will these teachers be hired? I've never heard of an elementary school hiring single-subject teachers.

Middle grades certification here is typically grades five through nine with two areas of emphasis. Mine is English & Communications and Social Studies. Useful? Well, yeah, if you want to teach middle grades. That 's because most elementary certifications here are now K through five and secondary is nine through twelve. It varies some...I'm just speaking in general here. If you want to teach elementary, I guess I'd just get regular elementary certification. Although I will say, it's catching on around here to have elementary teachers rotate like middle school...

My school offers 4-9 and you must be certified in two areas. I would agree that a single subject cert for grades 4-6 does seem very restrictive. I would research other schools and their offerings if you can.

Most schools I know of switch classes for grades 4-6 nowadays. I am certified for grades 4-9 in social studies and language arts. Schools around my area at least switch teachers once during the day for grades 4-6. For example one teacher has English and social studies and the other has math and science.

In my state, if an elem ed teacher has a certification in a single subject they are considered "highly qualified" and will be considered before other elem teachers for a single subject assignment.

In PA the certs used to be K-6, 7-9, and 9-12, with a handful of K-12 for things like art, music, phys ed and such. Now PA is K-4, 4-8 with certs in ELA, math, Science and SS, and 9-12. So, a middle years cert is done to be able to teach a specific subject in middle school. I'm certified to teach K-6, middle years math and ELA, and FCS and ESL for any grade. I'm personally curious as to how the new certs will affect the elementary schools in PA. A new grad with a 4-8 cert has a specialty in two areas, but not all 4. As a 5th grade teacher in an elementary school I teach math, ELA, science and social studies. Eventually all the K-6 teachers will retire/leave teaching and all teachers will be K-4 or 4-8. The K-4 are generalists so can teach all subjects. So, I really don't know what will happen with 5th grade teachers. Maybe the goal in PA is to treat 5th grade like a middle school as far as teacher teaching just one subject area, even if it's housed in an elementary school. As far as your question of it's usefulness - if you want to teach middle school in PA you need to have a middle years certification.

New college grads in PA must have a middle level cert to teach middle school. It will be interesting to see how 5th grades in an elementary setting adjust.

Our middle grades certification allows for 5-9 certification in two subjects. Elementary is K-4, all subjects & self-contained 5-6. Secondary is 9-12, one subject & 7-8 departmentalized. I teach 7th grade language arts with my secondary English certification. I'm a bear to the schedule, though, because I can only teach language arts in 7 & 8, but we are. 6-8 school, and most others have two subjects.

I am currently majoring in math and science for middle school certification. In my state you have to have 18 credit hours in each subject, plus the teacher subject training for grades 2-8 in those subjects. I actually find it more useful than a primary or secondary certification. If I was in a college that didn't offer a program, I would have to get a degree in primary grades, plus take the additional credit hours for the certification, and instead I just will have a certification specifically for middle school. The only down side is you can't find an elementary school job if there are no middle school jobs available unless you have a dual certification.

You're right, sorry, thought it was 9-12, but it's 7-12, so that of course covers middle school. Can't believe I forgot that considering my own husband taught middle school for 3 years with his math and science certs which are grades 7-12. I was just thinking of my own add-on certs which are 7-9.

The middle grades, middle childhood, middle level, etc. 4-9 or 5-9 two-subject certification is certainly useful in schools where students change classes for all subjects or in schools where there is team teaching (one teacher teaches two core subjects, the other teaches the other two). I have seen both of these configurations occur in schools where I've observed or substituted. As others have stated, the middle level certification varies from state to state, so usefulness is subjective. I have never heard of a 4-6 single certification before, and I am not sure how that would work out in schools where I live.

So do I. My 7-12 certification allows me teach any of those grades. I've also taught 6th grade a few times since I was also teaching 7th grade the same year. In my state, the certifications issued are K-6, 7-12 or PK-3 (I believe). I don't think my state even issues a middle grades certification.

The problem with having a 7-12 certification is you have to have a degree in the subject you want to teach. In a middle school degree, you have have to have a concentration of 18 credit hours in that subject. If I wanted to teach high school math, I'd have to get a math degree which is unnecessary for middle school math.

This is not exactly true for all states. Where I live, the 7-12 license traditionally requires at least a B.S.Ed. with a concentration in one of the four major content areas: integrated language arts, integrated social studies, integrated math, or integrated sciences. Therefore, a math teacher in my state doesn't necessary have a B.S. or B.A. in math. Someone who has a very specialized degree (B.S. or B.A. in English, mathematics, chemistry, physics, etc.) could probably get a teaching license in their area of specialty without having done an education program, but I have never personally seen that happen. It just depends on the state you live in!

(Going with New York because I'm most familiar with them) Getting a certificate in any of the content areas without an ed degree still requires several education classes and 40 days of student teaching.

I think a 7-12 or K-6 certification is more useful because it allows you to teach a wider range of grades; thus, more job opportunities in the future. My 7-12 certification allows me to teach anywhere that my grades 6-12 school needs me (including 6th grade). When I apply to schools, they know I can teach MS or HS, whatever they need/prefer.

I think the value of the certificate would be strictly if you KNOW you don't want to teach high school, or if for whatever reason you aren't comfortable with the higher level material. It might lower your chances of being hired, but helps keep you out of teaching situations you won't be comfortable with.