The organization behind the alternative teaching certification program has been hosting a series of information sessions throughout Missouri, offering aspiring teachers the chance to use real world experience as a springboard to a new life in the classroom.
The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) has held sessions in St. Charles, Shrewsbury, St. Louis, and Springfield. One is scheduled for Wednesday in Jefferson City, followed by sessions in Lee’s Summit and Kansas City later in the week. ABCTE’s Director of Public Relations Mike Holden says Missouri is one of only nine states that have passed legislation allowing teachers an alternative route to schools.
"It was accepted in Missouri starting around the middle of last year," said Holden in an interview with the Missourinet. "It is a more flexible and affordable way for someone to earn their certification."
It was the General Assembly that decided people who had excelled in other areas could bring their expertise to teaching, and passed legislation allowing the alternative certification program to get established here.
"Missouri was a state where they felt there was a need, especially in certain subject areas – math and science are two of the biggest ones, English language arts is another one – and they felt there was a need for more teachers, particularly as more Baby Boomer teachers approach retirement age," said Holden.
Not just anyone can enter the program as certain prerequisites are necessary.
"People need to have a bachelor’s degree in order to enter our program," said Holden. "But that bachelor’s degree does not need to be in education. We have people who have bachelor’s degrees in subjects like math or the sciences."
Though a good deal of the program is offered online, the road to certification is not a fast one.
"It takes the average candidate about eight to ten months to complete the program," said Holden. "At these sessions we’ll be walking people through what they need to do to get enrolled and help them decide whether or not this is the right way for them to become a teacher. The program works better for some people more than others."
The sessions are free, but completion of the course costs about $975. More information is available at the ABCTE Web site .