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How to Become a Teacher Through Alternative Teacher Certification

As a career changer, you are stepping into a whole new world. You may have a bit of experience instructing colleagues in various job responsibilities, or no teaching experience at all.

So how are you to become a teacher without proper formal education or hands-on involvement?

Do you want to change careers now, not later? Do you think an additional Bachelor’s, or even a Master’s Degree is required? This is not the truth.

There is another way: alternative teacher certification.

Each state has its own requirements for being a classroom teacher. Some ask for a Bachelor’s Degree in Education plus a state teaching license in your desired content area. However, if completing a four-year Bachelor of Education Degree sounds too challenging or time-consuming, then you may wish to look at an alternative teacher certification program.

Most states have established an alternate route program that enables a person to develop the knowledge base and different skills that are necessary for being a reliable instructor.

For instance, the State of Connecticut Department of Higher Education has created an Alternate Route to Teacher Certification. According to their website.

“The Alternate Route to Teacher Certification (ARC) is an authorized teacher preparation program that was created in 1988 to attract mid-career adults into the teaching profession, particularly in subjects with a shortage of teachers.

Individuals who have worked as classroom substitutes, paraprofessionals, or independent school teachers also are encouraged to apply.”

The New York City Department of Education also advertises there are alternative routes to certification, although a Bachelor’s Degree is a prerequisite.

“Alternative certification programs offer an accelerated route into the classroom for career changers and recent college graduates who have subject matter expertise, but no formal education coursework or training.”

The State of New Jersey Department of Education also offers an alternate route to teaching.

“The Alternate Route program is a non-traditional teacher preparation program designed for those individuals who have not completed a formal teacher preparation program at an accredited college or university, but wish to obtain the necessary training to become a New Jersey certified teacher.”

The Virginia Department of Education exclaims,

“The Career Switcher Alternative Route to Licensure Program is designed to entice individuals from various occupational and life experiences to become classroom teachers, thereby increasing the quantity and diversity of applicants to the profession.”

The requirements include:

“A bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution; five years of professional work experience; coursework required for the desired teaching area; and qualifying scores on the professional teacher’s examinations.”

According to the Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy’s website,

“There are multiple program paths to Georgia Clear Renewable Certification for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited institute, who did not complete teacher education degree programs and want to transition to the teaching profession. These program paths equip transition teachers with the skills necessary for initial success in their classrooms.”

If you do not see your state listed above, check out the National Center for Alternative Certification. This organization offers a comprehensive website that details what is required on a state-by-state basis for alternative certification. An alternative route to teaching is quite common, don’ feel like you will be alone in your pursuit.

If you have little to no formal training in the area of education, don’t give up hope. There is a program near you that can get you on the right professional development path for your new teaching career!