Alternative Routes to Certification

Although most educators believe that the best route to teacher certification is through a traditional state-approved program at a college or university, some alternate routes also are available.

Female student listening with computerPenn State

Penn State offers its nationally accredited teacher preparation programs in conventional and also in an alternative, post-baccalaureate mode designed for individuals with a baccalaureate degree who wish to change careers and enter the teaching profession.This includes individuals on emergency licenses in the public schools.

Post-baccalaureate certification candidates complete the college's approved programs, but required courses and field experiences result from a review of earlier academic and professional experiences. Some of these requirements may be met through assessment of prior learning based on knowledge and skills developed outside of the typical classroom setting.

Candidates must document and demonstrate their mastery of the pertinent concepts and their ability to apply them effectively in the classroom. Eligible candidates may also complete the requirements for a master's degree in conjunction with teacher certification eligibility, although additional credits and time are typically required.

Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Teacher Intern Certification Program is specifically designed for individuals who possess a minimum of a baccalaureate degree. The program is offered in 33 approved colleges and universities in Pennsylvania. Penn State currently offers Intern certification programs for only Agriculture, Cooperative Education and Vocational Education.

If a local school district in Pennsylvania has a documented need for which a certified teacher cannot be found, it is possible for them to request an emergency certificate directly from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and then a nearby college or university with approved teacher certification programs determines an appropriate program of study for the candidate while he/she begins working as a classroom teacher. For additional details, contact the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Bureau of Teacher Certification and Preparation at: (717) 787-3470

States other than Pennsylvania

Many state departments of education throughout the country promote alternative routes to teacher certification to prepare educators for high demand urban and rural areas, or teaching specialties such as bilingual, mathematics, science, and special education. Most of these programs permit "intern" or "provisional" certification candidates to serve as salaried full-time teachers while completing the remaining course requirements in the evening or during the summer at approved colleges and universities. This information is available from the appropriate State Departments of Education.

American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence

The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence offers an alternate route to certification.