Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Frank R. Kemerer, PhD; Lea A. Hubbard, PhD; George E. Reed, PhD


comparison case study, control, cultural norms, higher education, knowledge, Leadership studies, jurisdiction, public schools, professionalization, teacher credentialing programs, universities


Educational commentators have long debated whether or not public school teaching is a profession. The definition of a profession is commonly anchored in Andrew Abbott's criteria, which include knowledge (specialized and academic), jurisdiction (diagnosis, treatment, professional inference), and control (ethics, professional organizations, licensure). Teachers in most states need to complete credentialing programs to be licensed. The purpose of this study was to explore what teacher credentialing programs at three diverse universities are doing to build teaching as a profession. The guiding research questions were: (1) What is the relationship between teacher credentialing programs and the professionalization of teaching? (2) What types of knowledge, skills, and dispositions are teacher credentialing programs instructing candidate teachers and do they promote the professionalization of teaching? (3) What are the factors that support or challenge the professionalization of teacher candidates in contemporary teacher credentialing programs? (4) In what ways are teacher credentialing programs convergent or divergent in the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are perceived necessary for the preparation of teacher candidates? Methods used in this study included interviews with teacher credentialing program faculty members and a document analysis of university published materials. The research findings show that the three universities converge in their values but diverge in the language they use to describe those values. Credentialing programs provide licenses and formal schooling but lack established cultural norms; this compromises teaching as a profession. Additionally, there is a divergence of values and knowledge between the credentialing programs and school districts where teachers go to teach. Finally, at all three universities there is an absence of training teachers to conduct research to further the empirical knowledge of education as a profession. Based on Abbott's criteria, the findings suggest teaching is a semi-profession in growth. If teaching is to become a recognized profession, credentialing programs will need to establish cultural norms. Teachers will need to conduct research that informs practice in the classroom and contribute to education's body of knowledge. Future research includes studying how effective traditional and non-traditional credentialing programs are in advancing teaching as a profession how they compare to each other.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies