What An Alternate-Route Teacher Preparation Programs Can Offer You
You know that your district is in desperate need of teachers. You want to be a teacher, but you don’t have access to a traditional teacher-training program – what now? Check out an alternate-route program! Local community colleges and universities often offer them, and several operate throughout the country as stand-alone programs.
Alternate-route programs are an option that benefits parties on all sides of the education equation. One of the main advantages of alternative certification is that it helps district authorities reduce teacher shortages in schools with a dire need for teachers. This also holds true for certain critical-needs subjects, such as science and mathematics. Alternative certification accelerates the provision of highly qualified professionals to fill vacancies in schools that are difficult to staff in both urban and rural areas.
Alternative certification programs, also known as “fast-track” programs, are gaining increased acceptance among educators and the American public. The rationale behind the emergence of such programs is to meet the increasing shortage of teachers in America’s public schools. Many suggest that the number of teachers graduating from traditional teacher education programs is insufficient to meet the rising school student enrollment numbers.
Alternative certification programs differ greatly from traditional teacher education programs. While the latter are usually a 4-year college or university programs, training in alternate-route programs last for a few weeks or may not be required at all. Over the last decade or so, the popularity of traditional teacher education programs has declined by a large margin. Some of the factors contributing toward this decline are more financially attractive work opportunities, relatively low teacher income, and the significant investment of time and money required to complete a traditional teacher education program. As a result of these factors, large numbers of individuals see teaching as an unattractive career option.
Alternate-route programs target those individuals who do not have a background in education, but who want to pursue a career in education. In most states, those who opt for an alternate-route program do not receive their certification before entering the classroom. Instead, they may have to complete the initial “boot camp” in a few weeks and continue taking additional education classes as they teach. They are largely trained “on the job,” and become certified at a later date. Again, it just depends on the state. Problems arise when these teachers do not become certified but are allowed to teach for years with “emergency” or “provisional licenses” by school and district authorities due to severe teacher shortages.
By virtue of opening up the possibility of becoming a teacher to a wider range of people, alternate-route programs help attack the rampant teacher shortage. While your certification may not have come from the typical path, it’s anything but unappreciated. Employers know that alternate-route teachers are passionate and dedicated. Do your best, and they’ll take notice!