Is an Alternative Teacher Certification Program Right for You?
Thinking about teaching? Perhaps you are just starting to research what it takes to become a teacher. Maybe you are nervous about taking the first step because you aren’t even sure which direction to head. If you are feeling completely overwhelmed with information overload, read on. I will try to simplify the process to make it easy to understand. First, we’ll explore Alternative Teacher Certification, a path that will get you into the classroom quickly and affordably so you can jump into a career you’ve dreamed of. Then, we’ll compare that to the traditional method of becoming a teacher. Once you have all the facts, you’ll be able to make a better decision on which path to teaching is right for you.
First, let’s look at what is required to become a teacher.
To become a teacher, you need to be certified to teach in the state you are interested in working in. Some teachers apply for a teaching license immediately after completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in education. This typically provides the teacher preparation coursework they need. Others may have received a degree in a completely unrelated subject and later decide they want to change careers to become a teacher. This second group of people will need to go through some type of teacher preparation program to get the training required to obtain teacher certification in their state.
The requirements for getting certified vary slightly from state to state. However, most states will expect you to do the following before a license is issued:
- Obtain a bachelor’s degree (this does not have to be a degree in education)
- Complete a background check to ensure the safety of the students
- Receive instruction through a teacher training program that is approved by your state (this could be through a university or with an alternative teacher certification program)
- Take a content area test to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject you wish to teach (a passed content test is not required for acceptance into iteach)
- Pass your state’s required licensing exam
What is an Alternative Teacher Certification program?
An Alternative Teacher Certification program (like iteach) is a non-traditional way of receiving training to become a certified teacher. If you have a bachelor’s degree in a subject unrelated to education but want to teach, you may consider an alternative teacher certification program. These programs often provide online courses that offer teacher training and prepare you for what to expect in a classroom. They are usually a faster route into the classroom with more flexibility than attending a traditional university or college. Many are not affiliated with a college or university. However, they can be nationally accredited, just like programs offered through higher education institutes.
Iteach is an Accredited Online Alternative Teacher Certification Program
iteach is an excellent option if you are looking at applying to an alternative teacher certification program. The courses take place online, so you can go through the program at your own pace from the comfort of your home until you are ready to be hired as a teacher.
iteach is nationally accredited by Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). In other words, this means that the program has received a seal of approval through an external peer review process. And it has been determined that it meets quality standards set by organizations that represent the education community. Over 17,000 teachers have gone through the program and received their teaching certification.
Founded by a single mom of four boys almost two decades ago, the program is available in 10 states and continues to expand. Meet Diann Huber, the founder of iteach, and hear what she has to say about Alternative Teacher Certification.
What are the requirements to apply to an Alternative Teacher Certification program?
The requirements may be a little different depending on the individual program and the state you are applying in. But let’s take a general look at what is required to apply to receive your alternative teacher certification through iteach.
First, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree. This degree does not need to be in education, nor does it have to be in the area you want to teach.
You will also need a GPA of 2.5 or higher to apply. (TN requires a GPA of 2.75 or 3.0 in your last 60 hours)
iteach will request your transcripts during the application process. This is an easy process to complete, and transcripts can be email directly to email@example.com
Once you apply, you will have immediate access to an introduction course. It explains what to expect from iteach and gives an overview of alternative certification. You’ll take a short quiz over the material covered in the course. You will need to pass that quiz before you can be accepted into the program.
If you are accepted to the program, you will receive an official notice of acceptance and you can enroll. You will make your first payment to the program at that time, which is just $99 for your enrollment fee. After enrolling, you are ready to begin your coursework and start training to be a teacher.
Average costs for Alternative Teacher Certification
According to Cost Helper Education, the average cost for an alternative online teaching certification program is $10,000 to $30,000. This is much more affordable than obtaining your teaching certificate through a university bachelor’s degree program, which can run anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000+.
Alternative Teacher Certification vs. Traditional Teacher Certification
If you choose the traditional path to become a teacher, this entails attending a 4-year university to get a bachelor’s degree in education. Usually, a traditional program will require that you spend a semester in a classroom as a student teacher so you can get real-world experience with the help of an experienced teacher and the support of your professors.
Cost of a Traditional Teacher Preparation Program:
According to EducacationData.org, the average in-state student attending a public 4-year institution spends $25,615 per academic year. It is even more for out-of-state tuition, averaging $27,437 per year.
Cost of Alternative Teacher Certification through iteach
- $0 to apply
- $99 to enroll in most states
- $4399 for the program
It is free to apply to receive your alternative teacher certification through iteach. Once accepted, it is $99 to enroll for most states, although some states (TN, FL, VA, WV) have different pricing structures. Overall, it is $4399 for the entire program. The good news is that you don’t have to pay the whole program fee upfront. You will only need to pay $99 a month while enrolled until you get hired to teach. This helps offset the program’s cost while you are still searching for employment at a school district. Once hired, your remaining balance is divided into 8-10 interest-free monthly payments.
So that means if it takes you 5 months to complete your requirements to get hired, then you would subtract $495 from the $4399 ($3755) and that is your remaining balance. Then we would divide that balance into interest-free equal monthly payments. So you would have 10 payments of $375.50 – but you would only pay the higher monthly fees if you were already hired with full pay and benefits. This allows you to get into the program and into the classroom with very little upfront money out-of-pocket, and you pay off your remaining balance quickly.
Timeline for Traditional Teacher Preparation
The typical timeline for completing a teacher preparation program at a university is 4-5 years. The speed at which you can complete the program is often limited to the school year schedule, starting in the fall or spring semester. To gain real-world experience, classroom hours are also required. Many people complete their student-teacher hours as part of the program requirements. With some diligence, college students can usually get through their student teaching hours while pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Some may wait to fulfill their student teaching requirements after graduation and then look for a full-time teaching job.
Timeline to becoming a teacher through iteach
iteach is an online program designed to be self-paced, so the timeline is up to the individual. Applicants can begin the program at any time once accepted and enrolled. There is no need to wait for the beginning of a semester like in a traditional program. To be eligible for hire as a teacher, participants must complete the state-required courses, complete observation hours (if mandatory in their state) and pass their content tests. Many participants get through these steps in about six weeks or less and can get hired to teach with full-time pay while they work to complete the remainder of the coursework. After a year of residency as a classroom teacher and completing all program requirements, they will be recommended for a teaching license.
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 for 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.