Top Teaching Degree Programs in Grand Rapids, MI

Jan 02, 2019

Few schools in the Grand Rapids area have top ranking teacher education programs. Read on to find out more about what these top schools have to offer for teacher education, as well as tuition and degree information.

School and Ranking Information

There are about seven schools with teaching degree programs in the Grand Rapids area. The top three schools in the area have been ranked based on program offerings and rankings. To obtain a provisional teaching certificate in Michigan, candidates need to complete a teacher preparation program, pass a basic skills test, and complete other certification exams. All three schools have programs that are approved by Michigan's department of education.

  • Winner: Calvin College's undergraduate teaching program at Calvin College was ranked in the top 15 among national liberal arts colleges in 2013 by U.S. News & World Report (USNWR). It offers bachelor's and master's degrees in the field.
  • Runner-Up #1: Grand Valley State University was ranked as one of the top universities in the Midwest. It offers bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • Runner-Up #2: Aquinas College is also one of the top universities in the Midwest. It offers bachelor's and master's degrees.

School Comparison Chart

Category Calvin College Grand Valley State University Aquinas College
Rankings (2013) Undergraduate teaching program ranked #12 among national liberal arts colleges*
Named 110th best national liberal arts college*
Ranked 35th best regional university in the Midwest*
Ranked #7 among public universities in the Midwest*
Named 54th best regional university in the Midwest*
Named 12th best value school in the Midwest*
Location Grand Rapids, MI Allendale, MI (13.9 miles from Grand Rapids) Grand Rapids, MI
School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit 4-year, public 4-year, private not-for-profit
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $26,705 (undergraduate)
$10,536 (graduate)**
$10,078 (undergraduate, in-state)
$14,568 (undergraduate, out-of-state)
$13,080 (graduate, in-state)
$17,520 (graduate, out-of-state)**
$25,250 (undergraduate)
$9,914 (graduate)**
Education Degrees Offered Bachelor's and master's degrees Bachelor's and master's degrees Bachelor's and master's degrees
Education Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 126** 606** 77**
Most Popular Education Program (2011-2012) Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and Teaching (35 awarded)** Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education Teaching and Coaching (203 awarded)** Master's Degree in General Education (39 awarded)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal degree time) for 2005 Entering Class 77%** 63%** 52%**
Noteworthy There are more than 200 local schools where students can gain teaching experience The college of education has almost 30 programs, all of which are approved by the state's department of education One of the first schools in the country to offer a master's degree in education program that prepares students to earn a teaching certificate

Sources: *U.S. News & World Report rankings, **NCES College Navigator

Winner: Calvin College

  • One of the biggest Christian colleges in the country
  • Almost 90% of freshmen returned to the university for a second year in 2011, according to NCES
  • Education programs accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council
  • Education programs have received high ratings from Michigan's department of education several years in a row
  • Almost 100% of undergraduates received financial aid in 2011-2012, according to NCES

The undergraduate elementary education program prepares students to earn state certification to teach at the elementary level, in addition to the bachelor's degree. All elementary education students choose a subject to major in and at least one minor subject. The options include bilingual education, ESL, special education, early childhood education, and content areas. The program takes about four years and requires one semester of student teaching. The secondary education undergraduate program requires students to complete classes for a major and minor, in addition to the required teaching classes. The major and minor options include bilingual education, ESL, and a variety of content subjects that are normally taught at the secondary level. Those who have already earned a teaching certificate may opt for one of the school's master's in education programs. The options include curriculum and instruction, learning disabilities, and literacy. The master's in education also prepares students to obtain a professional teaching certificate.

Runner-Up #1: Grand Valley State University

  • Education programs accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • Over 80% of undergraduate applicants were accepted to attend the school in 2012, according to NCES

Undergraduates who wish to become teachers should major in general education and choose from elementary education, secondary education, or special education. Elementary education candidates can choose to major in English, math, science, or social science. A minor in elementary education is also required. Those who want to teach special education complete the elementary education classes as well as additional classes for the special education major. Students who plan to teach at the secondary level must choose major and minor subjects from the following categories: languages, history, music, social studies, and sciences. Additionally, students must complete the required teacher education classes. The graduate options include master's of education degrees in higher education, instruction and curriculum, teaching ESL, reading, and special education. Graduate students can also earn teaching certificates and endorsements while completing the degree.

Runner-Up #2: Aquinas College

  • Almost 100% of undergraduates received financial aid in 2011-2012, according to NCES
  • Education programs accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council

Aquinas College is a Catholic school with undergraduate and graduate teacher education degree programs. Undergraduate students in teacher education must choose a major and minor, and decide between elementary or secondary education. The elementary education major options include the subject areas that are generally taught at the elementary school level, and the minor options include bilingual education and early childhood education. For the secondary level, the major and minor options include teaching students with learning disabilities, teaching ESL, and a variety of secondary level content subjects. All undergraduates complete student teaching requirements before graduation. Graduate education students who are not already certified to teach can choose the master's in education. Those who are already certified teachers should opt for the master's in teaching program. Students in the master's in teaching program can also complete courses to earn endorsements or a professional certificate. The master's in science education program is for those who are already certified to teach and focuses on improving teaching skills in elementary and middle school science subjects.

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