What is Emergency Teacher Certification?

G. Wiesen

Emergency teacher certification is a form of teacher certification that bypasses the standard methods of certification in order to get teachers certified and ready to teach more quickly. While this type of certification will still typically have a number of requirements, these requirements are often less strict than regular certification and allow a higher number of people to qualify to teach. This is usually done in a state or region that has a great need for teachers and does not have enough qualified and certified people to actually teach. Emergency teacher certification is often offered in specific subjects with a shortage of teachers in a state or district, or in geographical areas that need teachers, such as centers of urban growth.

A teacher working.
A teacher working.

Also known as alternative teacher certification, emergency teacher certification has been around for a number of years in many states within the United States (US). States such as Texas have made it a standard means of certification rather than simply a short-term method to satisfy a temporary need for teachers. Even though the emergency teacher certification process may be somewhat simpler than traditional certification, the standards are still quite high in many regions.

Alternative teacher certification programs have become highly popular due to teacher shortages.
Alternative teacher certification programs have become highly popular due to teacher shortages.

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Emergency teacher certification typically requires at least a four-year degree, such as a bachelor’s degree, in the field in which someone wishes to be certified to teach. This means that anyone interested in emergency certification to teach science, a field often in desperate need of teachers, would need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in science or a specific area of science such as chemistry or geology. Some states also require a certain grade point average (GPA) and testing to demonstrate the applicant’s knowledge within a subject area.

In some states, emergency teacher certification may also be granted to a person lacking a degree but with extensive professional experience related to the field in which he or she wishes to teach. This type of candidate will typically be recommended to and interviewed by the school board of the district in which he or she will teach. Once these requirements are met, the applicant will be certified to teach under certain prescribed circumstances. In Texas, for example, emergency teacher certification grants a person a probationary or internship certificate to teach.

This allows the person to teach for one year, receiving the full pay and benefits of a certified teacher, under the guidance of a certified teacher. During this time, the emergency teacher will have to complete further courses on classroom management and similar educational subjects. At the end of the probationary year, as long as the person has performed satisfactorily, he or she will then be granted a full teaching certificate. This allows him or her to legally teach in Texas, just like someone who had completed an undergraduate degree in teaching his or her subject.

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