Alternative Licensure Programs

There are many people out there who give up on becoming a teacher because they already have a four-year degree in a non-educational discipline and do not want to return for another four years in order to get the neccessary education to become a teacher. Luckily, alternative licensure programs can help these people become teachers in one to two years, instead of four.

The alternative licensure program is an intensive teacher preparation program that takes those who want to become teachers and already have a degree in a high-need area. It can also be used by existing teachers to add additional certification to their license, such as English as a second language (ESL), bilingual, or Special Needs Education. This program was designed to help attract new teachers in specific fields where teachers are currently lacking.

State Programs

Each state has their own alternative licensure programs available, and all of them are different. Even with the alternative licensure program those wishing to teach will still need to complete any state mandated testing and apply for a teaching license. For alternative teacher certification programs by state, visit the National Center for Alternative Certification.

Some states offer preliminary licensure for those wishing to teach, which give them a five-year window where they can work while obtaining the additional education requirements. Depending on the license you wish to apply for, additional coursework or exams may be necessary (such as for early childhood teachers or teachers of students with severe disabilities).

There are many other different kinds of alternative licensure programs, such as the Troops to Teachers Program, which helps to relieve teacher shortages by paving the way for former military personnel to find gainful employment in the civilian world by helping them become teachers. Participants in the Troops to Teachers program with a bachelor's degree can become teachers, while those with an associate's degree can become teacher's aides.

Local Programs

In order to address specific teacher shortages some of these alternative licensure programs are offered on a city or regional basis, such as the Los Angeles Urban Intern Teacher Credential Program. This program allows potential teachers to teach in elementary to secondary school as an intern, provided that they have a bachelor's degree in one of the most-needed subjects and pass the state-required tests for teacher licensing in California. This one-year program gives new teachers hands-on experience and lets them qualify to become fully-fledged teachers in less time, while filling a teaching gap in the area.

Finding Information

It is a good idea to check out your state's department of education websites so you can gain access to the testing and licensing requirements where you live. You may also contact your local department of education website or school board for more information on the programs that they offer.

Now more than ever our country is in need of smart, qualified teachers. If you're thinking of making a career change, you can make use of an alternative licensure programs to become a teacher in one to two years. Don't miss out on an opportunity to make a difference and have a rewarding career.


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