Post # 1
I’m at the point in my career where I’m giving serious thought about switching from the legal field into education. Because I already have both a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree (J.D.), I’ve heard that I could pursue an alternative certification that would enable me to teach rather returning for another bachelor’s degree in education.
Does anyone have any experience with this type of certification? If so, do you think it was harder for you to find a job with just a certification rather than a degree in education? Did you opt for a for-profit program online or obtained the certification through a university?
Post # 3
Ok so I’m not a teacher and I haven’t done this but FH thought about it a lot so we did some research. I would go for a postbac teaching certificate program from a university and not for profit (personally). They vary from state to state but I think most are 1-2 years. There are also loan forgiveness programs for those degree programs and even pell grants (but I doubt you would qualify for those at this point since you’re a professional). Depending on what you want to teach I think your job opportunities would be just as good, especially so if you’re looking to teach any areas that are in high demand (math, science, etc).
Edit: here’s an example of one in Texas
Post # 4
I don’t know how it is in Texas, but in California as long as you have a Bachelor’s you can get into a teaching credential program. There is no requirement to major in education. Rather, you must go through the teaching credential program. (I majored in Physics and then got a single subject teaching credential and currently teach high school). I also agree, avoid “for profit” institutions.
Post # 5
Post # 6
@ecjohnson: I think that’s unique to California. FH is from California and considered teaching for quite a while, but I’ve never heard of any other states doing it that way (or course I could be wrong!). That’s very convenient though for people who decide to go into education.
Post # 7
Legally, I believe all you have to do is take and pass the state’s certification test (for most states, it’s the Praxis). But, that doesn’t mean you’ll get hired. There are experienced teachers with degrees who can’t even get hired. Your best bet is probably to talk to an advisor at a university about getting your Bachelor’s degree, otherwise it’s doubtful that they would even consider you.
Unless you can pull off a miracle like my cousin did and get a teaching job without any kind of certification (she somehow made a deal that she would get her degree/certified within a few years). But those kinds of things don’t really happen very often, unless you personally know a principal.
Post # 8
Post # 9
I spent a year teaching under a temporary certificate for an alternative program. I studied for a year for my state’s certification exam in my content area (early childhood) and passed both sections. They’re usually the tests that other teachers take AFTER graduating from the degree program, so you need to study up! Interviewing was a nighmare, because I had no principal contacts that teachers usually make through their student teaching, and many principalas didn’t even want to interview me when they found out my degree wasn’t in Early Childhood Ed. A couple years of networking later, I finally landed a temporary teaching position. It was quite the learning curve because you’re thrust into a classroom without any background in it. If you’re the sole teacher in the classroom, I honestly don’t know how you’d make it. Luckily, my first year was as a resource teacher, so I was able to spend a lot of time in other classrooms observing teachers.
I’ll say this, you have to REALLY want it and nothing else, because with the shortage of teaching positions it will be an uphill battle. For me, though, there is nothing else I could be doing. I finally landed my first permanent position and I’ll start this coming fall!
As far as the post-bac goes, I’ve done a lot of research into them. If you’re going to do that you honestly miight as well get your Masters of Arts in Teaching, because they’re typically only 6 or so credit hours different, and the Masters will put you in a higher pay grade. Best of luck!
Post # 10
I’m glad someone else asked this question because I’ve been thinking about doing this as well.
Post # 12
Yes, the TEA website listed above is exactly what you need. If I were you, I would also contact the education program at the university you graduated from with your other degrees. They should help you out there, too.
I earned my music education degree in Texas and I’m seeking NY certification now. It’s definitely a process.
Post # 13
I left law school a year early to get my alternative certification in Texas. I went through a community college and attended class 2x a week for a year. After attending my class I was allowed to take my content level exam (for me it was EC-6, so that I could teach elementary school). I also had to take the PPR exam (Professional something or other). Both are required. Everyone has to take the PPR, and your other test is determined by what you want to teach.
For example, if you want to teach history to highschoolers you would take the PPR and History 6-12.
It is worth noting that in Texas to teach a subject area at a 6th grade level or beyond, you must now be highly qualified. This means you must have a minimum level of upper-level courses from your bachelors degree to teach this subject as a teacher. For example, to teach history to highschool students, you must have either majored in History or had a minor in history to have enough “hours” to make you “highly qualified” to take the test.
Once you are certified in something though, you can add additional certifications.
Okay, still with me? So you’ve enrolled in Alt. Certification, taken classes and passed your PPR and Subject Area test. Now you need to find a school to hire you for your Internship year. Because you have a Bachelors degree, you can work full-time as a teacher during your internship year. It required me going to Saturday class one time a week for a year to finish my internship supervision.
If your supervisor decides you have done a good job in your first year, then you are approved as a full-time certified teacher, and you have regular certification, instead of probationary. You may still only have a probationary employment contract with your district though (I was “probationary contract” for the first 3 years I worked for my district, even though my certificate was a standard certificate after my first year.
I didn’t have any trouble finding a job after my program was finished, but it’s partly because I had a more specialized certification. I am certified in EC-6 as I stated above, but also as an Art teacher which is a little harder to get because of Highly Qualified status. I had less competition because of that.
PM me if you need or want any more advice!
Post # 14
I did a “licensure via portfolio” process through a university and it was a TON of work! I was teaching on a limited license at the time plus taking courses online and had a lot of additional work to do at the end to prove my abilities, along with passing the tests, of course. I think this pathway might just be for MN though. Either way, I agree with the others tha you should make sure that this is really what you want to do. I had no idea how much extra work teaching involved – which area of teaching are you looking to get into?