What Is an Alternative Certification Program?

Alternative certification programs are designed to prepare adults with college degrees for careers as teachers. Each state has unique requirements that accredited alternative certification programs must meet. Read on for more information about these certification programs.

Alternative Certification Programs

Alternative certification programs (ACPs) are designed for adults who hold a four-year bachelor's degree in a subject other than education and wish to become teachers. According to the National Center for Alternative Certification (www.teach-now.org), every state plus Washington, D.C. offers alternative methods for teacher certification. Since each state has different requirements for teaching, people must be certified in the state in which they intend to teach. The difference between standard and alternative certification is that standard certification is done concurrently with the degree, while alternative certification is done after graduation.

Important Facts About This Study Option

Programs TEACH-NOW offers a 9-month state certification program and two 12-month Master's in Education degree programs; George Washington University offers dual licensure in Transition Special Education; University of Phoenix offers Master of Arts degree programs with a plethora of concentrations such as Special Education and Administration Supervision
Concentrations Special Education, Language Arts, History, Math, Science, ESL/TESOL
Common Courses Historical Foundations in Teaching, Child and Adolescent Development, and Methods of Teaching
Online Availability Fully
Median Salary (2018) $78,470* (for all post-secondary teachers
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% growth* (for all post-secondary teachers

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Topics Covered

Alternative certification programs teach participants general pedagogy and methods used to teach. Most ACPs prepare students to teach pre-kindergarten through high school. Some alternative certification programs explain how statewide standardized tests influence curricula. ACPs usually provide advice on how to get a teaching job, and some provide job placement services. Upon completion of an alternative certification program, graduates must pass a pedagogy test for their desired grade level.

Educational Requirements

For most states, students in ACPs must hold a 4-year bachelor's degree. Some states, such as Michigan, require people who want to teach at a level higher than elementary school to hold a degree in the subject they wish to teach. Other states, like Texas, allow for people with any bachelor's degree to teach any subject as long as they pass a content test. Since students in ACPs often want to teach a variety of subjects, the programs don't generally prepare students for any specific content tests, but they do provide preparation resources.

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