Have emerged rapidly across the United States over the past two decades. These programs were precipitated by calls for changes in teacher education programs, as well as to relieve teacher shortages in certain subject areas and certain regions of the nation. All programs must meet state teacher education program standards and requirements.
Generally, alternative programs target experienced professionals with a strong background in the relevant subject and attempt to accelerate candidates’ access to classrooms by providing as much on-the-job training as possible. Candidates can gain entry into some alternative programs as long as they have a 4-year degree. Such programs require short, concentrated education training, with internships and direction from experienced or mentor teachers. Alternative programs occur under strict guidance from university and education experts.
A major criticism of alternative teacher education programs is that they focus on quantity and addressing teacher shortages in certain licensure/subject matter areas, rather than the production of quality teachers. Despite criticisms, the numbers of alternative teacher education programs continue to grow.