Credentials, or do I really need that certification? (Part 2: Getting started as a local needlecrafts teacher)

Now you’ve asked yourself some basic questions and you’ve decided you want to teach needlecrafts.  You may be wondering if you should get some sort of certification.

Getting Started as a Local Needlecrafts Teacher, Part 2: Credentials, or do I really need that certification? on Underground CrafterUpdate: This series is a great introduction to teaching, but since I originally wrote it in 2011, it has become outdated. If you’re looking for a more robust (and updated) approach to teaching, check out my book, Make Money Teaching Crochet: Launch Your Business, Increase Your Side Income, Reach More Students.

FULL DISCLOSURE ALERT!  I am a Craft Yarn Council (CYC) certified crochet and knitting instructor (level I) and certified crochet teacher (level II).

There are several reasons you might get a teaching certification.

  • Some employers require certification. This is particularly true of national chain stores (e.g., Michaels, Joanns).
  • Some organizations prefer certification. While your local yarn shop, continuing education program, or regional needlearts conference probably don’t require you to be certified, having a credential may give you a boost over another interested teacher.  This could be particularly true if you don’t have other credentials in needlecrafts.  If you have other experience or education, the credential may not be as valuable.
  • You aren’t confident about your teaching abilities. Teaching certification programs focus on how to teach the craft.  If you don’t know how to explain things, or why something should be done a certain way, the certification program can help you prepare to teach.
  • Some certification programs provide exposure opportunities for their graduates. For example, the Embroiderer’s Guild of America includes the list of Graduate Certified Teachers on its website with contact information.  If you don’t have your own website or storefront, this extra publicity can help you find students.
  • You need a head start on developing your teaching resources. Many certification programs include materials in their training which you can adapt for use with your students.  Others include tips on publicizing your classes.
  • It just sounds cool. When I tell students about what I had to do to complete my certification, it often puts them at ease and makes them feel more comfortable about taking a class with me.

There are also reasons why you might not get certification.

  • It costs money. These programs are not cheap.  Most teacher certification programs cost at least $100 for a correspondence program.  Attending an on-site program can be very costly if you need to travel to the location.
  • It takes time. On-site programs generally have a minimum number of hours to participate.  Correspondence programs often have many tasks you must complete to show your mastery of the craft.  Many certification programs require you to teach a certain number of hours before granting certification.
  • It isn’t necessary because of your existing experience or education in needlecrafts. ‘Nuff said.
  • There isn’t much competition in your local area, so the certification provides no advantage. I live in New York City, and everyone and their mother wants to teach knitting and crocheting.  But perhaps where you live, you are the only game in town :).

If you do decide to seek certification, what are your options in the needlecrafts?  Here is a list I’ve compiled.  This is based only on a preliminary Google search.  I am not affiliated with any of these programs (other than being a CYC graduate and student as already mentioned).  This is not an endorsement of any of these programs, so don’t be mad at me if you don’t like them :).

Crochet:

Embroidery and Needlepoint:

Knitting:

Patchwork and Quilting:

Rug Hooking:

Sewing:

Another alternative to teaching certification is to become a master (insert needlecraft here).  While these programs do not specifically prepare you to teach, they provide advanced technical training and an assessment of your skills.  This can also be helpful from a “look, I have a cool credential” point of view as well as by providing you with additional skill development.

Some examples:

A less expensive and time consuming option is to buy a book on teaching or a teaching resource package from an existing organization.  This won’t provide the same level of preparation, but can be a great option if you are short on time and are confident in your teaching skills.  Here are some examples:

This list is by no means exhaustive.  I’d be interested in hearing from other teachers about their experiences related to certification.

5 thoughts on “Credentials, or do I really need that certification? (Part 2: Getting started as a local needlecrafts teacher)”

  1. Hi! I’m a public school teacher and newbie crocheter. I’m just looking down the road (so many people tell me they want to learn to crochet). I’m curious how the student teaching portion of the CYC instructional program works.

    1. Thanks for asking, Sarah. You can probably get more up-to-date information through the Craft Yarn Council, but when I was a student in the program, you arranged your own teaching hours and used CYC sign in sheets to document your hours. Once you completed all the hours, you forwarded the sign in sheets to the CYC. If you do decide to pursue teaching crochet, you may enjoy my book, Make Money Teaching Crochet.

  2. First thank you for taking the time out to put your research on craft certification into play. Very informative and helpful. I have been crocheting since I was in High school, as it was a craft I watched my grandmother and aunt do, but neither had the patients to teach as a child. I too live in NYC, I haven’t seen any crochet classes in my area, most are listed in Manhattan or Brooklyn. I have a handful of people who want to learn, but don’t want to commute far. After reading your article, I find myself leaning towards the certification. Thank you!

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