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Alternative Teacher Prep Program Completion

A teacher standing and speaking in front of a full classroom.

A recently released analysis found completion rates for teacher preparation programs are significantly higher for programs affiliated with institutions of higher education.

Teacher Preparation Programs

Alternative teacher preparation programs are increasing in popularity as the nation faces a shortage of qualified teachers worsened by the pandemic. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) released a report in early December that found interest in pursuing an education major by college freshman has declined by about half from the 1970s to 2018.

Typically, individuals who participate in alternative programs have previously earned a degree in a different field, and the program allows them to earn their certification without having to earn an additional education degree. As program lengths and requirements vary widely, this creates challenges for participants as not all programs appear to set enrollees up for success.

An analysis recently released by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education found that alternative teacher preparation programs affiliated with higher education had much higher rates of completion.

A quick glance at the analysis numbers shows:

  • For 2019-2020, the completion rate for university-based was 34 percent, compared to 14 percent for programs not affiliated with higher education.
  • Over a nine-year period, between school years 2010-2011 and 2019-2020, enrollment for unaffiliated programs increased 141 percent, while program completion rates dropped by 12 percent.
  • For the same period, enrollment decreased for higher education affiliated programs by 8 percent. However, the completion rate increased by 10 percent.

Certification in Texas

Texas has seen its own challenges associated with the teacher shortage. For the 2021-2022 school year, attrition and retirement rates of teachers have been above average, even as Texas has employed the largest number of teachers it has ever had. School districts are finding alternatives to fill in the gaps, such as seeking educator certification exemptions under District of Innovation plans.

For individuals interested in following a nontraditional route to teacher certification, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) provides guidance for Becoming a Certified Texas Educator Through an Alternative Certification Program. Currently, there are 122 TEA-approved Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) in Texas, including programs affiliated with higher education and unaffiliated through non-profits or other organizations.

More information on qualifying an uncertified teacher is available in the HRX article 7 Ways to Qualify an Uncertified Teacher.

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Christine Zenteno
Christine Zenteno
HR and Compensation Consultant

Christine Zenteno joined the HR Services team as an HR and compensation consultant in 2022. She assists with compensation plan development, training, and other HR projects. Prior to TASB, Zenteno worked in the public sector for state and city government entities in human resources roles specializing in staffing and compensation.

Zenteno holds a bachelor’s degree in international business from St. Edward’s University and is a PHR.

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TASB HR Services supports HR leadership in Texas schools through membership offerings in specialized training, consulting, and other services.
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