While emergency teaching certification is no longer in use, alternative teacher certification is a similar procedure that has taken its place. Essentially, alternative teacher certification is a way for those who don't have teaching credentials to take accelerated course work and begin teaching while they learn.
Emergency teaching certification was a temporary remedy to a need for public school teachers. Granted individually by states, it allowed people to serve as instructors while working to complete standard certification requirements. With the advent of non-traditional certification programs, the practice has fallen into disuse. Taking its place is the phenomenon known as provisional or alternative teacher certification.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in a field other than education|
|Exam Requirements||State teaching certification exam|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||6% (for secondary school teachers, except special and career/technical education)*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$57,200 (for high school teachers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Emergency Teaching Certification
Alternative certification has taken the place of emergency certification, which was a temporary fix to provide for teachers in areas such as mathematics, special education and science. The growing need for bilingual educators in urban schools has been a focal point of alternative teacher certification.
This route grants certification to individuals who may not have traditional teaching credentials. Where teaching certification is generally incorporated into an undergraduate or graduate education program, alternative credentialing is designed to provide the necessary education courses for individuals who have earned an undergraduate degree in a field other than education.
Offered by universities as well as independent educational centers, the programs may vary by state, but generally consist of accelerated coursework, practical classroom work and a mentoring program; the focus is education theory and pedagogy. It's important to note that all programs are geared to prepare the individual to pass a specific state's mandatory teacher certification examination for the intended subject area.
One of the big attractions of the alternative certification program is that, like the emergency teaching certification program, it allows individuals to hold a paid teaching position while fulfilling the required courses.
In addition to the traditional method, every state has at least one alternative route to teacher certification. The National Center for Alternative Certification (NCAC) operates under a discretionary grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This clearinghouse for non-traditional routes to teacher certification states that most states have signed the Interstate Contract for Teacher Certification, which was developed by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification. The exact details as to extent and duration of reciprocity and compatibility of each state's programs are determined by the individual participating states.
To facilitate communication and cooperation, a number of states have entered into confederations. Eight northeastern states have formed the Northeast Common Market. Nine Midwestern states have united as the Midwest Regional Exchange. The Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory consists of three states and the District of Columbia. These associations work amongst themselves as cooperatives, recognizing one state's license for a limited amount of time, as the individual works toward meeting another state's requirements for standard certification.
According to the NCAC, all alternative certification programs are essentially cooperative efforts not only between states, but between each individual state's licensing board, local school districts and institutions of higher education.
Each state has its own requirements and regulations when it comes to alternative teacher certification. Alternative teacher certification may be a good route for those who want to get paid for teaching while they work towards earning their certification.