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Overview of Alternative Routes to Certification / Licensure. by Colleen Finegan. based on totally borrowed information.

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overview of alternative routes to certification licensure
Overview of Alternative Routes to Certification / Licensure

by Colleen Finegan

based on totally borrowed information


“Alternate Routes to Teaching are having a major impact on the teaching profession in the United States, affecting not only the number of individuals entering teaching, but who enters teaching, how and why”.

Feistritzer & Haar, 2006


Alternate Routes to Teaching (ART)

“state approved, non-traditional routes that permit teacher candidates who already have at least a bachelor’s degree to enter classrooms and obtain teaching certificates in an expedited manner”

Feistritzer & Haar, 2006


1983 - 8 states had an ART

2006 - every state has at least one

In some states 30-40% of all new teachers come from ART

Feistritzer & Haar, 2006


Since 1985, 250,000 teachers have entered teaching through alternate routes (most since 2000)

In 2006, 124 alternate routes to teaching certificates were implemented in 500+ alternate route programs that produced about 50,000 new teachers

Feistritzer & Haar, 2006



  • Recruiting non-traditional candidates
  • Creating new pathways for certifying them
  • Renamed emergency or other forms of temporary certification as “alternate routes”

Feistritzer & Haar, 2006


Early - mid 1990s

  • Re-defining alternate certification
  • No longer calling emergency or other forms of temporary certification “alternate routes”
  • Getting rid of emergency and temporary certification

Feistritzer & Haar, 2006


late 1990s

  • states developed approved alternate routes
  • and common characteristics began to emerge
common characteristics of alternate certification candidates
Common Characteristics of Alternate Certification Candidates
  • Have at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Pass a screening process, such as passing tests, interviews, and demonstrated mastery of content to be taught.
  • Begin teaching – usually full-time – early. They engage in on-the-job training.
  • Complete any coursework or equivalent experiences in professional education studies while teaching.
  • Usually work with mentor teachers.
  • Meet high performance standards.

Compare traditionally trained teachers to alternate certification teachers on:

  • Race/ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Experience
  • Concentration
  • Perseverance

Overall teaching force is 15% non-white

33% of teachers entering through alternate routes are non-white

40% of those entering through alternate routes are 40+ years old

37% of alternate route teachers are men


1/2 of the 50,000 who entered teaching in 2005 through alternates routes came into teaching from fields other than education

Only 1/5 of alternate route teachers had prior experience in an educational field

Alternate programs create content and curriculum targeted to mid-career changers, based on maturity and life experiences


High Demand Subjects

7 % of traditionally trained teachers - MATH

20% of alternate route teachers - MATH

38 % of traditionally trained teachers - SPECIAL EDUCATION

50%+ of alternate route teachers - SPECIAL EDUCTION


50% of those traditionally trained are still teaching after 5 years

85-90% of alternate route teachers are teaching after 5 years

97 % of providers of alternate route programs say that their teachers serve students in high needs areas (low SES, high poverty level, high minority school)

characteristics of alternate certification programs
Characteristics of Alternate Certification Programs
  • Market-driven
  • Driving factors – school requirements and teacher candidate requirements
  • Efficient models
  • Results in tailor-made programs designed to meet specific needs for specific teachers in specific areas
  • Multiplicity of program models