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Alternative Teacher Certification in Rhode Island

Rhode Island offers an alternative path to becoming a certified teacher. This article provides information on requirements for obtaining certification using an Alternative Route Teachers Certification program.

Rhode Island's Alternative Path to Teaching

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) provides the option of obtaining an Alternative Route Teachers Certification to teach in the classroom for aspiring educators who have not completed a RIDE approved educator preparation program. The alternative route to certification allows for experts in specialized subject matters to help fill the void of a qualified teacher. The alternative route process provides the individual with hands-on training and preparatory coursework to become a professional certificate holder in Rhode Island. A benefit of participating in the Alternative Route Teachers Certification is that the candidate may begin working as an educator while fulfilling requirements for certification.

Education/Experience Required Bachelor's Degree
Exam Requirements Principles of Learning & Teaching
Praxis Subject Assessment
Certification Renewal Period 1 Year for Alternative Certificate Renewal
3 years for Initial Professional Certification Renewal
Professional Learning Units Required for Renewal 20 to 90 Depending on Renewal Year
Average Salary $71,990 Elementary, $
72,180 Middle School,
$71,440 High School (Rhode Island stats as of May 2018) *
Estimated Job Growth 7% Elementary
8% Middle and High School (National)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Education

In order for an individual to be qualified to apply for an alternative route certification they must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. The candidate must have majored in an area related to the subject matter that they wish to get certified in to teach. It is required that the candidate hold the minimum required grade point average of a 3.0 or have earned 24 hours towards a master's degree. If the candidate plans to certify in an area outside their degree major, they may submit proof of knowledge in a specific area which must meet the standards outlined by the RIDE certification guidelines.

Preparation

The candidate must apply and be accepted to an alternative educator program that meets the Rhode Island Program Approval (RIPA) standards. The RIPA standards require the candidate to complete no less than 5 weeks of specialized training before they begin teaching in pre-service courses that provide training on pedagogy practices, classroom management methods, hands-on classroom teaching experience, and information on laws and regulations that protect both the public-school system, its employees, and the students. Once the candidate completes the five weeks of specialized pre-service training, they can begin teaching while simultaneously completing additional required course work needed to fulfill the alternative educator program. RIPA standards require the candidate to be hired as a teacher in a public school to qualify for the alternative program and must maintain employment as teacher for one full year while completing the requirements of the program. The ability to teach and take trainings and seminars to fulfill the program allow for the candidate to be mentored by experienced and certified professionals in the field.

Exam

All Rhode Island teaching certification candidates must pass two exams to become a certified educator for the state. The first exam is the Principles of Learning & Teaching that corresponds with the grade level the candidate will be teaching. The second exam that must be passed is the Praxis Subject Assessment that evaluates the candidate's knowledge in the subject of the certification. Both tests are administered by ETS and are computer-based examinations.

Applying for Certification

The candidate first applies for an alternative route program certificate and pays a $100 application fee. This certification must be held for the minimum of one year to allow completion of the program and allows for one renewal which is based on the candidate's employer recommendation. Once the program is completed and all requirements have been met, the candidate can upgrade their alternative route program certificate to a Rhode initial professional certificate. The initial professional certificate will be valid for three years and requires professional learning units to be completed in order to qualify for renewal.