Advice on Masters programs & alt cert. routes

Discussion in 'General Education' started by VictoriaF, May 2, 2017.

  1. VictoriaF

    VictoriaF Rookie

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    May 2, 2017

    Hello all!

    I'm a bit nervous to post here, to be honest! I'm not a teacher, but I very much want to be. I'm a couple of weeks away from graduating with my Bachelors in English Language and Literature. My goal has always been to teach English at either high school or middle school level, either in my home state of New Hampshire or possibly in Massachusetts. I'm not college aged, I'm 31 (almost 32) and a "working adult." I've earned my degree mostly with online classes through Southern New Hampshire University which has been awesome. I don't have the option to leave work to do any type of day program--I need my income too badly to do that.

    I've been contemplating applying for a Masters program (online) either in English/Literature or Education. I can't decide which will be more beneficial. I feel like I still need more "canonical" literature knowledge and there is still so much to learn. Also, I don't know much about teaching (no experience) aside from what I know secondhand since my longterm partner is a high school English teacher.

    My "career advisor" at SNHU wasn't very helpful. She recommended contacting the NH Dept of Education which has different alternative certification routes which are overwhelming. I'll include a link: https://www.education.nh.gov/certification/alternatives.htm

    As I plan my next steps, I would love your advice. I am not as concerned with money/tuition/loans as I am with being able to achieve my goal and get certified.

    I know Praxis is something I have to deal with no matter what...

    I appreciate any advice/info/resources you can offer. My partner went through traditional school when he was 18-22 and has a Bachelors in English Education, and he can't help with alt cert info. It's so challenging but I know there HAS to be a way...right? I'm feeling a bit defeated and daunted.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
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  3. carolinafan

    carolinafan Rookie

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    May 2, 2017

    I'm an ARL teacher, and I would definitely say contact your local school district to find out info on their ARL progrrams. That will tell you what you have to do in order to get credentialed by the district. As far as masters programs, that's really up to you. There are tons of them out there. Some include a student teaching portion, after which you'd get your license, but I think some don't. I got a conditional license through my ARL program, and I'm taking masters classes to get the conditions off the license. First step though: Contact your school district. Ask questions. Do research.
     
  4. VictoriaF

    VictoriaF Rookie

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    May 2, 2017

    Thanks for the reply! I'm definitely elbow-deep in research. New Hampshire goes by state and not district but I plan to reach out to the Dept of Ed tomorrow. There's just so much info! ARL= alternative route to licensure? What path did you take and what state are you certified in? Just curious. I appreciate your help.
     
  5. carolinafan

    carolinafan Rookie

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    May 2, 2017

    Oh sorry, it stands for Alternative Route to Licensure.
     
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  6. whizkid

    whizkid Rookie

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    May 2, 2017

    College does not have a specific age.
     
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  7. VictoriaF

    VictoriaF Rookie

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    May 3, 2017

    True enough, I am still recovering from the self-imposed stigma of starting college at age 27. I knew many of my peers to be much older than me. I just mean the traditional college-age where parents are offering more financial support so college can be a full-time pursuit without the burden of working full-time, paying for our own insurance, groceries, rent, etc. :)
     
  8. whizkid

    whizkid Rookie

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    May 3, 2017

    You're bettering your own life. If you had started at 40, it would be the same thing. No need to beat yourself up. If college is your route to what you want, then go for it. You're making the effort and that's what counts.
     
  9. UpperMidwest

    UpperMidwest Rookie

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    May 4, 2017

    I can't be of much help regarding alternative routes to the credential, but you may have a tough time finding a job with an English credential. Make sure English teachers are in demand in the area you want to work before going that route.
     
  10. whizkid

    whizkid Rookie

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    May 18, 2017

    I'm certified in MS and I took the alternate route. A bachelor's degree that is NOT in education, passage of Praxis I and II, and 6 hours of pre-teaching at a four year school located in MS. The dean of education at that school recommends a candidate for a three year alternate route license. That's how it works here.
     
  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Maven

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    May 18, 2017

    I would recommend finding out if AR works for you, in your state. Getting a master's is so much nicer to do when you have learned where the gaps in your knowledge are, and when the district where you work offers tuition reimbursement. You may think you don't care about student loans now, but you should, because they can be very persistent and long lasting. I am in NJ, and yes, I came into teaching through the AR program after subbing virtually full time for 10 years. I guess those going AR in NJ now would say I lucked out - the restrictions and instruction were less stringent than today. The fact that I was working full time and making a full time salary while completing the AR requirements was nice, but stressful. I was highly motivated, had good mentors, and I lucked out with a job in very little time. I was able to earn a MEd. in ESL for virtually no out of pocket expense, as well as earn my TOSD the same way. I had no problem getting science certifications, but have since added MS certs across the board as well as Elem. Ed., in addition to the K-12 ESL and TOSD certifications. I had hoped to teach MS, since I really like that group, but have found myself mostly in HS, and it's all good as long as you are teaching something you love, remaining a life-long learner along the way.

    Have your state evaluate your transcript to let you know what specific certifications you may be eligible for, and don't be afraid to spread your wings and try certifications you might not have originally considered. Your education can grow with your experience, and goals can change over time, so never forget to see the big picture instead of a couple of small details.

    Best of luck.
     

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