What’s the difference between alternative teacher certification programs and traditional teacher certification programs?
Traditional Teacher Certification Programs
Traditional Teacher Certification Programs consist of obtaining a bachelor’s degree in education at an accredited 4-year college or university. Students will take relevant teacher preparation courses like classroom management and child development. Most traditional teacher certification programs will require a semester of student teaching. This clinical teaching period is usually unpaid. The goal is to help the student teacher gain hands-on classroom experience under a veteran teacher’s guidance.
Alternative Teacher Certification Programs
Alternative Teacher Certification Programs allow someone who has received their bachelor’s degree in a subject area other than education to become a teacher. For example, if you have a mathematics degree and then decide you want to teach math, this may be ideal. Many career changers choose this option to avoid going back to school to obtain a degree in education. Instead, they can enroll in an alternative teacher certification program. This allows them to focus on the specialized courses needed to prepare them for teaching.
Through alternative teacher certification programs like iteach, future teachers can complete their coursework online at their own pace. This is a great way to balance work, family, and learning.
Another benefit is that you can begin teaching with full pay in a matter of weeks after enrolling. Unlike traditional teacher certification programs, those in the iteach program do not need to complete a semester of unpaid student teaching before entering the classroom. Instead, once they complete certain course requirements (which typically takes 6 weeks), they receive eligibility to get hired as a teacher with full pay. Students complete a two-semester paid residency (often referred to as a paid internship) while they are employed full-time as a teacher in their content field. Experienced field supervisors will mentor and guide them during this first year in the classroom. This allows them to continue learning online through the program, get real-world experience in the classroom, and get paid.
The cost is also significantly less than a 4-year program. For example, iteach is only $4399 in most states with a $99 enrollment fee, $99 a month, and the rest of the balance deferred until you begin your two-semester paid residency.
Which teacher certification programs are best – online or in-person?
Whether you choose an online or in-person program really depends on your learning style. Some people prefer the comradery of being in a class full of peers while others thrive in a quiet independent environment.
Your lifestyle also has a factor in which choice is right for you. For example, if you are a single mom and need a lot of flexibility in your schedule, an online program that you can complete at your own pace would probably be a better fit.
iteach is an online alternative teacher certification program that was designed by a single mom of four boys. The coursework was written and designed to be completed while working a full-time job. The goal of our founder, Diann Huber, was to have a program that was affordable and could be completed by someone who needed to balance work, school, and family.
What’s the difference between student teaching and a teaching internship?
Student teaching, also known as clinical teaching, is the real-world experience portion of traditional teacher certification. This gives a college student time to acclimate to the classroom setting under the supervision of an experienced teacher and with support from their professors. Most of the time, this part of the program is unpaid and lasts for one semester.
A teaching internship through an alternative certification program is a bit different. A teaching internship allows a student to get hired as a teacher with full pay while still completing their coursework. States have different names for this internship. It may also be called residency or field experience. This is the hands-on teaching part of an alternative teacher certification program. Teaching interns through iteach will have field supervisors who oversee the work they are doing and provide mentorship. After a full year of teaching and completing the program coursework, they are eligible to get certified.
How long does it take to get certified as a teacher?
This is one of the most common questions we get asked about iteach. For a traditional teacher certification program through a university, it would take 4 years or more.
Most alternative teacher certification programs can be completed in less than 2 years. Iteach was designed to be completed in 12 months. Some take less time and others take more. It depends on several factors. This includes prioritization of time, work ethic, learning styles, and the student’s motivation to complete their coursework.
With the iteach alternative certification program, it can take as little as six weeks to get hired and begin hands-on field experience as a teacher. In this video, iteach VP of Operations, Zach Rozell, talks about the timeline for the program.
Do schools want to hire candidates from alternative teacher certification programs?
Yes, schools see the benefit in hiring teachers from alternative teacher certification programs. These candidates often have experience in a specific subject area and job experience. Teachers who graduate from these alternative programs also tend to stay in the job for longer periods of time. This could be because many applicants are career changers who are ready to commit to a teaching career.
Listen to this interview with Jay Houser. Jay decided to change careers and become a teacher and coach later in life after a career in sales.
Become a Teacher. Change Lives.
If you are passionate about impacting the world around you, there are few places where you can influence the future as much as a teacher. Teachers have the ability to build students up and set them on a positive course that can have a ripple effect on future generations.
If you are interested in becoming a teacher, check out our online teacher certification process, and you could be teaching in a matter of weeks.