Alternative Certification, VS Masters VS second bachelors - Need advice

Discussion in 'General Education' started by alwayslearning2, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. alwayslearning2

    alwayslearning2 New Member

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    Jul 16, 2014

    Hi there!
    I just need some perspective from current/experienced teachers about the marketability of different certification programs, as I am looking into ways to finish certification. I have my bachelors degree in Social Sciences, but also took 40+ credits in Elementary Education. So, my plan is to get certified in Elementary Education, but am also looking into ESE and middle grades science and/or math. My problem is choosing a program! My current situation requires that I do much of it online (besides practicum/student teaching) so that's what I'm looking at. All in all, I am looking for a program that will result in higher chances of me being able to find a job as a new teacher. Here is what I am currently considering:

    1: TeacherReady (U of West FL)- an online alternative certification. I can get certified multiple areas (elem ed, middle math, science, ESE). It only takes 9 months and all of the classes are online. There is field experience during the whole program, but only a week of full-time teaching. I would get full FL teacher certification (5-year renewable). I'm just not sure how marketable this would be during job interviews as I would be competing against other new teachers who went the tradition route with 12+ weeks of student teaching and education credits (although I do have lots of those).

    2: Masters or Post-Bac Program through WGU: An online University, student teaching is in my local schools. This is 3 times the cost, and takes 2 or more years, but I would come out with a Masters and certification. It includes 12-20 weeks of student teaching, depending on the state. I don't think I can get certified in more than one area though. But I want to get a Masters some time anyway. However, I was thinking more in the future.

    3: Second Bachelors Degree (U of West FL): I already have a bachelors, but a lot of my education credits would be able to go towards an education degree at UWF. It an online program, and they set up the full semester of full time student teaching in my local schools. It is the same classes and certification and is "traditional" certification. I would be certified in Elementary Ed and Exceptional Student Education. I don't think I could add Math or Science like I want to, but maybe I can add those later. The cost is also 3 times that of TeacherReady and it would take about 2 years.

    So all things considered, what do you think?
    I really appreciate that you took the time to read this lengthy post ;)
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jul 16, 2014

    Either 2 or 3. With number 1, even ignoring the marketability issue... a week of full-time teaching isn't remotely enough.
     
  4. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Jul 16, 2014

    I got credentialed through WGU's post-bacc program. They say it takes 2 years, which is 4 terms, but I completed it in a single year, saving myself a lot of money. I was unemployed though, so really cranking through the program. I did not do the masters, as my focus was on getting credentialed asap.

    In CA, additional endorsements can be added by taking additional CSET exams. I do think having both math and science will really improve your middle school marketability. Do you know how additional endorsements can be added in FL?
     
  5. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2014

    I got a master's for my teaching certification, and I would recommend that as far as marketability. My program lasted a year and a half, which was faster than it would have taken me to get a second bachelor's (and in my state, the cost was about equal). The biggest downside I have found is that, while some schools will move you up on the salary schedule if you have a master's, some will refuse to if your Bachelor's was not an education degree.

    The online certification could be a good idea if you get more experience elsewhere in the meantime, like working as a paraprofessional or a substitute teacher. I don't think you'd be as marketable with the online certification alone, and as someone else mentioned, you really need that time in the classroom (and employers will ask about it).
     
  6. Mre0609

    Mre0609 Rookie

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    Jul 17, 2014

    I am enrolled in a grad certificate program at a state university. It is completely online except for the student teaching part. I also have the option to go the lateral entry route if I found a job that would take me as a lat. entry. PM me if you want more info on my school. It's a UNC system school, very affordable compared to WGU or any other for profit school. Plus it's a top education school.

    If you already have your Bachelor's I would say this is the way to go, esp. since some of those credits transfer towards a Masters.
     
  7. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    WGU is NOT a for profit school. The cost is actually quite low.
     
  8. Mrs.DLC

    Mrs.DLC Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2014

    I am not sure if you'd teach in FL, but many teachers in my area are hired with alt. cert. So, if time/cost are huge factors, that is something to consider. I know many people consider the traditional route the way to go, but I know many good teachers who did the other.(some even had a BS or BA and got the temp. cert., then the professional)Again, it depends on the market where you are. Good luck.
     
  9. alwayslearning2

    alwayslearning2 New Member

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    Jul 19, 2014

    I'm also thinking I could complete it in less time. Maybe 3 terms in my case. For the K-8 program I'm looking at, there's only 4 credits difference between the masters and post-bac, so I'll likely go with masters if I go this route.

    Thanks for bringing up the possibility of adding certification via testing. I looked into it, and it looks like the same goes for FL! That helps a lot.
     
  10. alwayslearning2

    alwayslearning2 New Member

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    Jul 19, 2014

    That's my hesitation about the alternate route. I was thinking if I go this way, I would substitute for a while to get more experience before taking on my own classroom. But I'm not sure if that would give me the experience I need either.

    Anyone have experience doing something like that?
     
  11. alwayslearning2

    alwayslearning2 New Member

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    Aug 14, 2014

    Bump
     
  12. vateacher300

    vateacher300 Rookie

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    Aug 14, 2014

    I completed a career switcher alt route program for my certification. It was less expensive than other options and got me to my goal of being a teacher quicker! I also did some substitute teaching on top of my required student teaching/observation time. I was very well prepared by my program, much more so than other new teachers with provisional licenses! If you are going to go alt route here is my advice to you--

    1. Research your program. In my state, some alt route programs are well regarded by the local divisions and some are not. Different areas of the state may prefer one alt route program over another. Try to connect with graduates of the program and see if they've made a successful transition from the program to full-time teaching. This will give you an idea of which divisions are willing to hire alt route candidates and whether or not the program is well regarded by HR departments.

    2. Definitely try to substitute teach while completing your certification. You can take what you're learning and practice with someone else's classroom! Also, connections are everything to finding a job. Even if you don't ultimately get hired by that division, you may be able to get a teacher or administrator to write you a letter of recommendation down the road.

    3. You question if an alt route program can give you the experience you need to take over a classroom. My thought on this is that it depends on the person and you have to know yourself to really be able to answer that.

    In my previous career, I did a lot of trainings to large groups and was very comfortable with public speaking and having the confidence to be in charge of a room. That wasn't something I needed to practice or develop over a period of time. For others, that might be something that requires more student teaching experience that comes with a traditional program.

    What I got from my alt route program is how to develop unit plans and lesson plans, techniques for dealing with classroom management, learning Bloom's Taxonomy, managing admins and parents--all the practical elements of being a teacher with only a little practice.

    But my favorite part of teaching is that you are ultimately responsible for being successful in a classroom. My first year of teaching had its difficult moments, but I feel like that is the case for all first year teachers no matter what their training or background! It's definitely a profession where you either sink or swim. With the right attitude, you can succeed!
     
  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I went alternate route, but I am a science teacher in content. After being hired, the school paid my tuition for my master's in ESL. I had a bachelors plus 24 grad credits when hired. Now they are counting me as master's and 15, which will change as I acquire TOSD certificate. Since I began, I have added MS: ELA, MS: Science, TESL, Elem. Ed., and I am looking at MS: SS, as well as the TOSD. I paid for the Praxis exams, but it is nice to go to school on your employers dime.
     
  14. Janedo5513

    Janedo5513 Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2014

    I am currently taking this route. I have my bachelors degree in History but have to take 8 classes to get my teaching certificate. I still have to take two more of the state tests (out of three) for FL. This semester I have three classes left and I am done with the program. With the program, we had to do 60 hours of classroom observation and two lessons.

    The job placement is high within our program so I wouldn't dwell too much on the alternative certificate. As long as you some how get more classroom experience (more classroom observation, subbing), that counts the most.
     
  15. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Aug 16, 2014

    Interesting note - about half of the new teachers hired in my state are alternate route. Perhaps because the original push was in what would now be called STEM, but it is across the board. Good teachers find a way to learn. My personal feeling is that if you are a lifelong learner, and learn because it is fun and stimulating, you are an ideal AR candidate.
     

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