Education Associations

When students are in college preparing for a teaching career, their teachers often encourage them to join professional organizations. They point out the value of seeing yourself as a professional, part of something larger than yourself. They emphasize the value of having a network of other teaching professionals, some with more experience than you have. They point out the value of sharing ideas and job leads, of staying abreast of the latest technologies and trends.

Education associations are groups of educators that have come together to advance their specific aims. They come together for mutual encouragement and support, to share experiences, suggestions, and resources. They come together for the strength provided by numbers in advocating for their profession and for their students, in purchasing power for materials, malpractice insurance, and in responding to lawsuits, hosting conferences, and publishing journals that inform their membership about new legislation and changes in the profession.


Examples are:

The National Education Association (NEA) is a labor union dedicated to advancing public education. It is made up of teachers, secretaries, and other education personnel and publishes magazines for members in general and for specific constituencies. It offers news, information, and resources to its members.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)promotes excellence in early childhood education and supplies information for educators and parents about conferences. It is dedicated to the well-being of young children, with a focus on the education and development of children from birth to age eight.

Founded in 1926, it has an open membership and advocates for a high-quality and well-compensated early childhood workforce, a developmentally appropriate continuum of learning, collaboration, and expanded access.

The American College Personnel Association is the leading comprehensive student affairs association. It advances student affairs and engages students for a lifetime of learning and discovery. It promotes competence in advising and helping; assessment, evaluation, and research; equity, diversity, and inclusion; ethical professional practice; history, philosophy, and values; human and organization resources; law, policy, and governance; leadership and personal foundations; and student learning and development.

  • Subject-specific organizations include the Modern Language Association (MLA), Computer Using Educators (CUE), and the National Council for the Social Sciences (NCSS).
  • There are also state teachers’ organizations and organizations for specific education careers, like the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
  • Such associations hold annual conferences, which present opportunities for networking. They publish journals that spread current scholarship. They advocate for the profession and the students the profession serves. They spread news about developments in the field, new technologies, and job openings. And they provide opportunities, as well as scholarships, for professional development.
  • Associations of subject-specific teachers publish websites with information on membership, membership services, awards, announcements, books and journals, links to other websites, conventions and meetings, standards, resources, career opportunities, grants, lesson plans, and professional development. They also have sections for various grade levels, such as elementary, secondary, and college.

For a list of 37 such groups, go to ED.gov, the U. S. Department of Education website, and look under About ED—Education Associations and Organizations. There you can find hypertext links or pointers to information on organizations like the following:

  • Achieve is a resource for governors, business leaders, and others seeking to improve student achievement and raise standards.
  • The College Board facilitates access to higher education.
  • The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries provides grants for school libraries to purchase books.
  • The National Center on Education and the Economy supports standards-based reform.

The links are provided for the user’s convenience. The U. S. Department of Education does not control or guarantee their accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness, as they are created and maintained by other sources.