Professional Teacher Organizations

Teachers require support from multiple areas in order to effectively grow, teach, and perform to the best of their abilities. One of the best ways of obtaining the support you need is by joining a professional teaching organization.

There are hundreds of teaching organizations across the country, from small, local organizations, to large, national ones. Joining one or more organizations will help you to interact with fellow teachers and stay up-to-date on new topics in your chosen field.

Because there are so many organizations available to join, we’ve shortened the list to some of the major ones, and split up the various organizations by subject area to help you find the best organization for you.

General Teaching Organizations

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

What is it?

You Should Know…

Each and every teacher organization touts a characteristic “aid”. However, it is good to see through the nuances of each organization to understand what lies at their core, and that is support. Most organizations will provide more elements of support than those gracing the covers organizations’ pamphlets.

The ASCD is a nonprofit organization representing roughly 150,000 educators around the world. Its members include teachers, administrators, and other professionals in the Field of Education.

Why join?

Members of the ASCD receive a variety of benefits and professional development opportunities. Basic membership includes a subscription to Educational Leadership, a magazine devoted to reporting on the latest facts, techniques, and information regarding the education of students.

Additionally, membership with the ASCD gives you access to conferences and professional development workshops, allowing you to hone your teaching techniques and learn about new breakthroughs in the field. Membership with the ASCD also provides networking opportunities for teachers, allowing them to meet and interact with fellow constituents.

Association of American Educators

What is it?

Founded in 1994, the AAE is a national non-union organization dedicated to teacher advocacy and professional development. The AAE was founded with a strong focus on providing the best educational environment possible for students, endorsing more parental involvement, more local control, and higher standards of excellence in the field.

Why join?

Members of the AAE have access to liability insurance, legal protection, and professional development opportunities. The AAE also provides scholarships and grants to teachers designed to improve classroom achievement. This includes up to $500 for books, classroom materials, travel expenses, and workshops.

Membership also includes a subscription to Education Matters, a newsletter focused on proven teaching techniques, national policy issues, and issues pertinent to teachers. Teachers who are part of the AAE will have access to membership surveys which help policy makers in Washington draft laws to improve educational standards in the country.

Association for Middle Level Education

What is it?

An organization devoted to providing information and professional development for middle school teachers, the AMLE consists of over 30,000 members including principals, teachers, parents, and community leaders.

Why join?

In addition to advocating for middle school teachers across the country, the AMLE provides a number of benefits to its members. Members receive subscriptions to The Middle School Journal, which features current research and trends in the middle school education field. Additionally, three other publications are offered to members, allowing teachers to stay on top of various developments in the field.

If teachers are interested in more structured professional development, the AMLE also holds various events and workshops to improve teaching methods, gain insight into childhood development, and network with other professionals.

National Education Association

What is it?

The NEA is a 3.2 million member professional teacher organization working at every level of education. The association seeks to expand access to quality education in the United States, while advocating for teachers at a state and national level.

Why join?

Members of the NEA have access to insurance and legal support, in addition to workshops and professional development events. Each state has a separate NEA chapter, allowing you to join a group with greater focus on the issues and concerns of teachers in your state.

The NEA also has grants and scholarships for teachers to help provide for class materials and learning support services. For example, one grant focuses on providing teachers with donated books, funding, and facility improvement for school and classroom libraries.

The NEA conducts research on the leading issues in education today, giving members an inside look into addressing and meeting challenges in the workplace. Teachers complete online courses through the NEA that help them deal with bullying, early childhood literacy, and increasing student achievement.

Science Teacher Organizations

National Association of Biology Teachers

What is it?

The NABT helps to advocate for biology teachers across the country. Since 1983, the NABT has provided members with opportunities to expand their knowledge in the field, and given teachers a chance to network with other professionals.

Why join?

If you’re a biology teacher looking to grow professionally, the NABT features numerous conferences and workshops throughout the year to provide teachers with expert speakers, hands-on experiences, and informative sessions about the field.

Members of the NABT also have access to American Biology Teacher, and award-winning journal focusing on biology teachers from the kindergarten level through college. With access to American Biology Teacher, members of the NABT use research to help drive lesson plans and classroom science experiments. Through the NABT website, teachers also can view free teaching materials to help set classroom goals and improve teaching skills.

National Science Teachers Association

What is it?

The NSTA is a 60,000 member organization focused on publishing articles, books, and research material for science teachers in the United States. The NSTA seeks to “promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.”

Why join?

The NSTA provides members with access to four different peer-reviewed journals focused on different grade levels. This allows teachers to customize their membership experience based on their professional area of education. All of the journals provide members with insight into scientific research, and tips for conducting classroom experiments.

Teachers wishing to participate in professional development will have access to online courses and personalized learning websites to help them grow in their specific scientific areas. The NSTA offers courses in teaching biology, earth science, and physical science from the kindergarten to college level.

Networking and career opportunities are available at multiple conferences the NSTA hosts each year, allowing teachers to explore key scientific concepts.

American Chemical Society

What is it?

The ACS is the largest scientific organization in the world, made up of over 164,000 scientific professionals. Chemists, teachers, and other scientific professionals intermingle in the group, allowing educators a first-hand look at the chemistry field today.

Why join?

Membership with the ACS provides benefits such as insurance, personal financial assistance, and travel compensation. The ACS also helps to promote the agendas of chemists and chemistry teachers in the United States by providing educational seminars and conferences.

Teachers who join the ACS will have access to peer-reviewed journals such as ACS Chemical Biology that give them insight into how research in the field will shape chemistry education for years to come. Additionally, the ACS provides teachers with classroom resources for all grade levels to ensure teachers are prepared to teach this complicated subject area.

American Association of Physics Teachers

What is it?

The AAPT was founded with the goal of “ensuring the dissemination of knowledge of physics, particularly by way of teaching.” Today, the AAPT is made up of 10,000 members devoted to ensuring this goal is met.

Why join?

Physics teachers interested in joining a professional organization will find that the AAPT provides quality educational opportunities, informative reports on the field, and journals to help guide curriculum development.

The AAPT publishes two journals throughout the year, The American Journal of Physics and The Physics Teacher, which are included with membership to the AAPT. The American Journal of Physics is mostly geared toward teaching college-aged students, while The Physics Teacher is devoted to articles focusing on introductory physics.

Members also have access to insurance, career advice centers, and networking opportunities through workshops, conferences, and online discussion boards.

National Earth Science Teachers Association

What is it?

Focused on advancing the quality of education earth science students receive, the NESTA works with federal agencies and organizations to create an informed public.

Why join?

The NESTA helps support its members through professional development opportunities and informative conferences featuring lecturers from the field. Teachers will be able to meet with other teachers, share classroom ideas, and gain a better understanding of advancements in Earth science research.

Members also receive a subscription to The Earth Scientist, a quarterly journal that provides classroom activities, and scientific information and news about Earth.

Mathematics Teacher Organizations

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

What is it?

The NCTM strives to support math teachers ensure the highest quality of education reaches the greatest number of math students. The NCTM helps to provide teachers with resources to successfully train their students to become the mathematicians of the future.

Why join?

Mathematics teachers interested in joining the NCTM will have access to professional development workshops, publications, and networking opportunities to ensure they remain at the top of their fields. The NCTM holds annual meetings across the country featuring over 700 presentations, including workshops about using technology in the math classroom.

NCTM members also receive classroom-ready activities, online teaching resources, and special offers on insurance plans through the organization. Additionally, members have access to five different journals focusing on math teachers, research in math education, and teaching mathematics to children.

American Statistical Association

What is it?

The ASA is the second oldest professional association in the country, and the largest devoted to statisticians. By expanding knowledge about statistics and mathematics in the country, the organization hopes to promote the study of statistics in academia.

Why join?

Membership with the ASA gives teachers free access to journals such as The American Statistician, and The Journal of the American Statistical Association. In these publications, teachers will find discover new research and initiatives in the Field of Statistics that will help them to develop new lesson plans and classroom activities to engage their students.

The ASA also has a number of regional chapters allowing teachers to network with other professionals in the field. Joining the ASA will help you find more career opportunities and connect with the community.

Interacting with the community also helps teachers explore workshops and events to help improve their teaching skills. The ASA hosts a number of conferences throughout the year, ensuring teachers will have plenty of opportunities to hone their skills.

American Mathematical Society

What is it?

The AMS works with mathematicians, educators, and policy makers to ensure quality math education at all school levels.

Why join?

Joining the AMS gives teachers a variety of benefits, including access to insurance, and career and employment networking. Teachers are able to post their resumes through the AMS, meet with fellow teachers, and learn about new job openings.

The AMS holds annual meetings featuring mathematics competitions, awards, and lectures from leading mathematicians. Math educators looking to introduce new ideas in the classroom will also discover classroom activities, monthly problems to ask students, and interesting breakthroughs in mathematics through the organization.

English/Reading Teacher Organizations

National Council of Teachers of English

What is it?

The NCTE mission statement notes that the organization is dedicated to promoting “the development of literacy, the use of language to construct personal and public worlds, and achieving full participation in society through the learning and teaching of English.”

The NCTE serves English teachers of all grade levels and pushes them to advance the English language.

Why join?

Membership with the NCTE provides teachers with a number of journals focusing on research in teaching English. Teachers might examine differences in teaching English between rural and urban classrooms, or gain access to evidence-proven classroom activities to use in class.

Additionally, the NCTW offers programs aimed at helping English teachers grow professionally. This includes the Pathways Professional Development Program, which focuses on issues in adolescent literacy, and complications in reading comprehension. The organization also hosts a number of web seminars and workshops focused on increasing the skills and knowledge of English teachers.

International Reading Association

What is it?

The IRA is a 70,000 member nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding literacy worldwide. Members of the IRA seek to expand the quality of reading education, investigate research on literacy, and encourage reading at all grade levels.

Why join?

Teachers seeking advocacy, increased knowledge, and access to conferences and publications about literacy should consider joining the IRA. The IRA’s annual convention features networking opportunities, and research presentations regarding literacy education.

IRA members also gain subscriptions to leading literacy journals, including The Reading Teacher, which focuses on providing evidence-based teaching ideas to readers.

Social Studies Teacher Organizations

National Council for the Social Studies

What is it?

The NCSS is the largest professional organization devoted to social studies education in the United States. By focusing on culture, time, people, place, power, and past events, the NCSS hopes to improve social studies education across the country.

Why join?

Joining the NCSS gives members opportunities to improve their social studies teaching skills. The NCSS provides members with access to several professional journals, including The Social Educator, which contains ideas for classroom activities on significant social studies topics.

Members may also view the U.S History Collection through the NCSS. The collection includes a variety of lesson plan ideas and classroom activities from various sources. Teachers will find the resources available to them through membership with the NCSS to improve their classroom atmosphere and educational outcomes.

Membership with the NCSS also allows teachers to participate in career building and professional development events, such as conferences and workshops featuring well-known teachers and professors. Annual state, local, and national conferences are held to help teachers network and explore new topics in social studies education.

National Council for History Education

What is it?

The NCHE seeks to ensure not only that history is being taught in America’s schools, but that it is taught well and efficiently. The organization also advocates on behalf of history educators throughout the country, providing them with the resources needed to accomplish their goal of quality history education.

Why join?

Joining the NCHE gives history teachers the chance to grow professionally, as they attend workshops and conferences to gain insight into effective history teaching. Each year the NCHE holds a conference that parallels the place and date of an important event in history, allowing historians to meet and greet fellow teachers and discuss the importance of past events.

Teachers also gain access to CDs and documents containing tips on classroom activities, lessons, and insightful articles about teaching history today.

Association of American Geographers

What is it?

Started over 100 years ago, the AAG caters to geographers and educators committed to the theory, methods, and practice of geography.

Why join?

In joining the AAG, teachers surround themselves with similarly-minded individuals all interacting in the geography community. Members find networking opportunities and news in the world of geography at the various conferences and workshops the AAG hosts throughout the year.

Teachers looking to improve their classroom environments may also apply for grants through the AAG, allowing them to incorporate new research from the geography field in their classrooms.

Publications such as The Professional Geographer are also available to members, giving teachers classroom activity ideas and new topics to introduce to students.

American Historical Association

What is it?

Made up of over 14,000 history lovers, the AHA specializes in advocating for historians and teachers of history, and providing professional growth opportunities for members.

Why join?

Teachers wishing to learn more about research in history, and different ways of introducing history topics to students, will find the AHA’s publication American Historical View to be an informative and accessible source of news in the field.

The AHA also gives members learning and networking opportunities at its annual meeting, featuring up to 200 sessions that address topics in history from scholarly research to approaches to teaching.

Special Education Teacher Organizations

Council for Exceptional Children

What is it?

The CEC dedicates itself to improving the educational outcomes of students with special needs.

Why join?

Special education teachers need multiple sources of support to effectively teach exceptional children, and the CEC strives to provide that support. As a member of the CEC, teachers gain access to publications such as Teaching Exceptional Children, which contain useful articles for teaching looking to introduce programs for special needs students.

The CEC also helps teachers who wish to continue their educations. The CEC’s annual exhibition and conference provides members with new research in special education, training programs, and materials to introduce into the classroom.

Members of the CEC are eligible for insurance programs by joining the organization, in addition to a host of other services such as identity theft protection and retirement planning.

National Association of Special Education Teachers

What is it?

The NASET supports special education teachers around the country by providing resources that help teachers stay on top of new research and developments in the field.

Why join?

Providing members with over 50 comprehensive professional development courses, the NASET ensures special education teachers are performing to the best of their abilities. In addition to professional development courses, teachers also gain information on new practices and activities in The Practical Teacher, a monthly education resource.

Membership with the NASET also gives teachers access to home, auto, and health insurance to ensure they are adequately covered.

National Association for Gifted Children

What is it?

The NAGC seeks to raise awareness about gifted children around the country, in addition to training teachers on how to develop and support students with special needs.

Why join?

Membership with the NAGC provides teachers will access to the journal Gifted Children Quarterly, offering information about gifted child development in the context of school and home.

The NAGC also gives teachers the chance to focus on their particular special education specialization through “networks.” The different networks include areas such as arts, creativity, counseling, research, and early childhood education.

Each year, the NAGC hosts the largest conference devoted to gifted learners. At the annual convention, members network and introduce themselves to other professionals in the field, trading teaching tips, and learning about new research in special education.


Teaching and Learning