Alternative Certification Program Overviews

Alternative certification programs teach students to become teachers without having completed a degree program in teaching. These programs allow students with bachelor's degrees to work full-time while taking courses and completing their teacher certification.

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Alternative certification programs prepare aspiring teachers to provide instruction in specific subjects, even if they have no previous experience within the field of education. Upon completion, graduates are prepared to earn their teaching licenses.

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Alternative Certification Programs

Adults wishing to transfer into an education career may want to consider an alternative certification program that will enable them to become a primary, middle, or secondary schoolteacher. These programs, typically offered in collaboration with universities, local school districts and state licensing authorities, provide the necessary coursework and field experience that the state requires of adults seeking a teaching license. In other words, obtaining alternative certification is not a sufficient credential to begin teaching, but, rather, provides the necessary training and credential to sit for a teaching licensure exam.

Admissions Requirements

There are only a few admissions requirements for individuals interested in alternative certification programs. These usually include:

  • Bachelor's degree (any major, not necessarily education)
  • Official transcript from accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA

At some schools, it may even be possible for college seniors to begin a program during the last semester of their degree.

Typical Coursework

In these programs, all aspiring teachers learn about education-related topics. Students also take courses that are specific to the subject that they wish to teach. Examples of possible course topics include:

  • Learning theories
  • Curriculum design
  • Special education
  • English
  • Health
  • Social studies
  • Math
  • Science

How to Earn Certification

In these programs, students work on completing their certification while teaching full-time. Upon completion of their certification requirements, students must pass state-issued certification exams and a series of interviews in order to receive their teaching license. The certification exams are state-specific, so an alternative graduate student must take the tests in the state where he or she wishes to teach. The tests that teachers must pass also vary depending on their subject of interest and the grade level at which they intend to teach.

After completing an alternative certification program, aspiring teachers have the educational experience they need to earn a teaching license, even if their undergraduate major was in a different subject.

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