How do I Choose the Best Alternative Certification Program?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen
Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Choosing the best alternative certification program to become a teacher will typically depend a great deal on the area in which you live. Most countries, or states and provinces within a country, will establish the guidelines you must follow to be certified to teach within that region, and this usually includes alternative certification as well. You should consult local departments of education or similar agencies that issue teaching certification to determine what types of alternative programs may be available. In general, however, you can expect an alternative certification program to require that you have extensive education or professional experience within the field you wish to teach.

Sometimes called emergency certification, an alternative certification program will usually allow a person to become certified to teach without going through standard methods of certification. In this way, someone who has extensive education and professional experience in a field can, potentially, become certified to teach in the field even though he or she has not received a degree in education. This is often done in areas in which there is a desperate need for teachers and there are not enough certified teachers available. The type of alternative certification program that may be available for a region will usually depend on the country or area in which a person wishes to teach.

In the US, for example, the state in which a person may be interested in teaching will usually establish an alternative certification program. While some states have numerous alternative paths to certification, other states with a reduced need for teachers may only have one or no alternative path available. You should contact the department of education for the state in which you wish to teach to determine what types of alternatives you could use to become certified to teach.

As you learn about an alternative certification program, you should determine what kind of certification the program will award you. In some regions, for example, this sort of emergency certification is only valid for a short period of time, such as one year or one semester, to fill the current needs. Other regions may allow you to complete an alternative certification program, teach for one year under certain guidelines, and then issue you with full certification allowing you to continue teaching long term. In some areas, you may need to be recommended by an education professional within the area, so you should consider the eligibility requirements of such programs as well.

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      Woman with hand on her hip