What is "Alternative Teacher Certification"?

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  • Written By: K T Solis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 July 2019
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Alternative teacher certification is a way for those who hold a bachelor's degree to transition into a teaching career. Those who earn alternative teacher certification bypass the traditional route of earning a bachelor's degree in education. Instead, they turn to teaching after spending time in another career field.

States in the U.S. actively recruit college-educated individuals who wish to become teachers through means of alternative teacher certification. The goal is to attract talented, educated people to the teaching field in order to address the lack of teachers in a particular state's schools. Prospective teachers apply for the programs and undergo screening, interviews, and background checks.

Once accepted to an alternative teacher certification program, the new recruits work in schools as they complete university-based education courses in order to earn certification. These new teachers are usually assigned mentors, experienced teachers who help guide them through the challenges of working in a classroom. In order to eventually earn certification, the prospective teachers must also receive a passing score on the state's certification exam.

Alternative teacher certification programs have become highly popular throughout the years because of teacher shortages. Many teacher shortages are in certain subject areas. For example, professionals with degrees in Math, Science, or Foreign Language are highly sought after for alternative certification programs. These subject areas are difficult to fill with qualified teachers.


Minorities with bachelor's degrees are also needed to become a part of alternative teacher training programs since there is a shortage of minority teachers in some school districts. Despite the need for qualified professionals teaching in these areas, school districts need people whose personalities fit well with teaching in a school. In short, not everyone is capable of dealing with the day-to-day tasks of a classroom teacher.

People who enjoy working with children and wish to have a positive influence in the lives of young people should consider earning alternative certification. Working with students on a daily basis can be a challenging task, so prospective teachers need to be skilled at dealing with stressful situations. They must be prepared to work with students from diverse backgrounds who may come from family situations that are less than ideal.

Today's teachers must juggle multiple roles, including teacher, substitute parent, counselor, disciplinarian, and other important jobs. They must be prepared to plan lessons at home, deal with sometimes unsympathetic administration, teachers, and parents. Grading papers, decorating bulletin boards, serving on school committees, after school staff meetings, and contacting parents by phone, are just a small sample of some of the tasks a teacher must complete on any given day.



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