Teachers create a huge impact on students’ achievements and even on their long-term success in terms of their college attendance and salaries.
Without teachers, there would be no learning, and the world would be worse off. Alternative educational certification gives people the chance to make real contributions in the teaching arena.
Despite the critical role teachers play in the lives of their students, teacher preparation programs, intended to train and give them all the foundational skills required for them to become high-quality teachers, vary in curriculum, format, quality, and more.
This may create a fair degree of disparity among various certifications that different teachers ultimately attain.
The alternative certification program for teachers that operate outside of the institutions of higher education (IHE) is a special diverse group that has enjoyed steady growth and development over the past decade in terms of their enrollment.
These can allow teachers to hone their existing teaching skills in different curriculums, as well as acquire new skill sets. In this way, teaching qualifications are enhanced.
Although the alternative educational certification program is, in its very essence, meant for those individuals from different streams of education (other than those related to teaching fields), the certification can be offered to those individuals who are yet in training to become fully qualified teachers too.
Understanding alternative certification
Alternative certification allows you to get your teaching license while you are still teaching.
The most widely known and well spread alternative certification program in America is “Teach for America”.
There are several other regional programs as well, and programs with regard to different states. One of the critical requirements for the eligibility of these programs is that you have to teach in a school that has a high need for teachers.
Alternative teaching certificates also allow opportunities to aspiring educators who come from varied backgrounds outside of education fields and wish to get into them.
Consequently, if you are an individual graduate from a different area of study (other than teaching), an alternative teaching certificate can help you to get into the area of the field of teaching.
Those individuals who wish to change their current careers from a field other than teaching to a teaching field can go in for alternative educational certification.
Benefits of an alternative teaching certificate
Over the past couple of decades, the alternative certification program for teaching has gained immense popularity. As per the National Center for Alternative Certification, 48 of the 50 states in America offer alternative options for teaching certification, and alternative certificate programs generate over 50,000 teachers every year.
This is a large amount and there is hope that it will grow. There is a real lack of teachers, and such programs go a long way in bridging gaps in the education system.
It also translates to the fact that more students have the opportunity for quality education from teachers. Additionally, it creates more employment opportunities for individuals in the field of education.
The challenging and tough path to becoming a teacher attracts a very diverse group, which includes teachers of all ethnicities, ages, and professional backgrounds.
A 2005 study shows that in Florida the alternative teaching certificate program attracted several qualified individuals into the teaching profession who otherwise would have not taken it up.
Consequently, such programs encourage and propel individuals to view teaching as a beneficial profession. Alternative educational certification can give individuals the impetus to explore their hidden teaching skills while offering them a chance to do some real good in the field of education.
Here are the key features that transform into advantages:
- Alternative certificate programs allow individuals to enter the sphere of education without the need to go back to graduate school, which on the other hand would result in a huge opportunity cost given the loss of income. These programs not only save on cost and effort, but also on the time taken to attain the certification.
- The alternative certification program uses a hands-on method to promote learning, giving candidates an immediate opportunity to apply their learnings from the coursework in the teaching classroom. With a practical approach such as this, learning and teaching are achieved faster than in a conventional teacher training course.
- One of the highlights of the alternative teaching certificate program is that it provides an opportunity to people to share their passion for professional work or studies with generation-next.
- The fees for alternative teaching certificate programs are not as high as the traditional teaching degrees, as you do not attend or complete the program during normal school hours. This works well to promote opportunities for those who find regular graduate programs unaffordable.
- Studies have shown that teachers who get an alternative educational certification add more value to students’ overall learning and long-term goals. The teachers with alternative teaching certificates usually teach in areas where there are acute shortages of teachers. There are plenty of shortages in terms of teaching staff in public schools all over America. Therefore, you will end up contributing greatly to society by teaching students in such areas.
- Alternative teaching programs are usually better structured and organized than traditional teaching degrees. They allow you to absorb the required content effortlessly and provide a smooth transition overall.
With the current lack of premium teaching staff in schools all over America, and with more and more students entering schools, the alternative certification program promises a bright future for teachers and students.
As more and more individuals get into the field of teaching, the gap between student-teacher ratios may decrease quite substantially, offering new hope in one of the oldest and most respected professions in the world today – teaching.