What is Accelerated Teaching?
The state of America’s public school system is in serious jeopardy and the problem goes far beyond slashed budgets and lack of federal and state funding. At their core, a school is only as good as its educators, but many of these institutions are being forced to double and triple their normal class sizes simply because they’re unable to recruit knowledgeable and certified teachers. To combat this issue, many colleges and universities are offering accelerated teaching degrees to students that already possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a variety of fields. Learn about the nature of accelerated teaching, how to achieve this certification and the ins and outs of the program:
Traditionally, to be awarded a certification to teach, the student must earn their bachelor’s or master’s degree specifically in this field, which takes anywhere from four to eight years to complete. The idea of an accelerated teaching program cuts down the time required to earn this certificate drastically, in some cases, only a few months is required. To be admitted into the college or university program, the student must hold an undergraduate or graduate degree in any number of fields, from English to architecture, before admittance. Student teaching isn’t a requirement for completion either, although some programs allow the student to intern at a primary or secondary school to learn the ropes before accepting a position on their own.
The Certification Process
As mentioned before, the student must hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a specific field. Once this accomplishment is achieved a general knowledge entrance exam is administered to determine if the student is competent to complete the accelerated teaching program. Once the test is passed, the student then enrolls in a college or university that offers a certification program and completes the course either online, in the classroom or a combination of both. Once again, the time required to complete the certification process varies depending on the university’s requirements. After completing of the college courses, it’s time for the student to take a state administered teaching license test. Once passed, the student is considered a full-fledged teacher and able to look for work without having to student teach.
Pros and Cons
The idea of accelerated teaching is a blessing for many larger schools and districts that aren’t able to hold onto teachers, but it’s not without any controversy. Many traditionally-licensed teachers take offense to this program and aren’t afraid to vocalize their concerns about the educational merit of an accelerated program.
- Change of Career – If you’ve discovered a passion for teaching or simply feel defeated in your present career, earning an accelerated teaching certificate is an excellent way to alter your destiny without having to reenroll from the beginning.
- Benefits to Schools – As mentioned above, several metropolitan and rural schools are lacking qualified, skilled teachers. An accelerated program allows knowledgeable, experienced professionals to get into the classroom in a much shorter period.
- Science, Special Education or Mathematics– If you’re certified in one of these areas, expect to find a job offer more quickly, as teachers in these fields are in high demand across the United States.
- Lack of Instruction – Many teachers’ groups argue that the lack of formal and traditional education provides a distinct disadvantage to teachers with accelerated certification. The majority of programs don’t offer student teaching experience, meaning that crucial middle step between certification and employment is completely ignored.
- Negative Job Prospects – Several schools across the United States won’t hire teachers with an accelerated degree simply because they feel it’s inferior to a traditional bachelor’s or master’s degree in teaching.
- Content over Character – The bulk of accelerated teaching certificate programs prepare the students to deal with curriculums, scheduling and the logistics of the profession, but leave out how to manage students on an emotional or psychological level, which is another crucial aspect of teaching.
The debate over the validity and usefulness of accelerated teaching certification programs isn’t going to end anytime soon. This fact isn’t going to stop several qualified and learned professionals from switching gears in order to inspire and educate students that would otherwise be overlooked or herded into already overcrowded classrooms.