Alternative Teacher Certification

This is a follow-up to this thread that I started a couple of weeks ago. Quick recap: I earned my BS in Math about a year ago, I’m currently in a Master’s program (statistics) that I do not like, and from time to time I’ve thought about becoming a high school math teacher.

In the last couple of weeks since starting that thread, I’ve given the matter serious consideration, and decided I want to do it. A couple of people said I could start teaching by Fall if I go the alternative route, and I like this idea very much.

However, I’ve spent several hours looking for information on alternative certification, and it’s been rather frustrating. I’ll admit up front, though, that my google-fu sucks.

I’ve searched for general information, and specifically in five different states so far: Oregon (where I currently live), California (where I’m from), Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin. and usually pop up in the first few results of my searches, but these sites don’t have much to say on the matter. The best I can find is a basic list of requirements in each state, with no further information or links. appears to be nothing more than a thinly disguised advertisement for garbage schools such as the University of Phoenix.

The state government education sites aren’t much better. Again, they show a basic list of requirements, including “get hired by a school district.” With no further information. Links to university programs are provided, but these also require getting hired first. So, I guess I’m supposed to search district by district across the nation to find any information?

What I’m hoping for here is that others who have gone through this process might be able to point me in the right direction. I realize the requirements and steps are going to be different in every state, but even a general description of what you went through might help me on where to look.

One other thing: as I said, the impression I’m getting is that in order to start on the path to certification I’ve got to get a teaching job first. But I have no experience teaching, nor do I have any job experience using my degree. Before I went back to school four years ago, I ran a restaurant for several years; that is the extent of my “professional” experience. Why would any district hire me as a teacher? Isn’t the point of alternative certification to get people quickly into the teaching profession? Why would they expect someone to already have a job? I’m sure I’m just not getting it, I’m missing something…

Any help is much appreciated! Thanks!

They would hire you because you have a math degree, and right now the person “teaching” math is a rotating substitute pool or, if they are lucky, the same sub every day. That person has no education in math or education, and is making $50-$70 a day and likely feel like their entire obligation is fulfilled if the students are all alive and not on fire at the end of the day. There is a serious shortage of qualified math teachers.

Now then, you are likely NOT going to find a job in a swanky suburban district. Look up big urban districts. They should have an AC department. Call them and ask for suggestions about the application process.

And big urban districts are not as bad as people think, or at least they have schools that are not as bad as people think. I teach in one and I have some of the best kids in the world–I am biased, of course, but they really are a joy to teach.

Alternative teacher certification is like the Invisible Pink Unicorn. Everyone knows it exists, but no one has ever actually seen it. :wink:

Otherwise, listen to Manda JO. Many districts, especially urban and rural districts, are begging for math teachers who can actually teach math beyond the textbook, but a large urban district is more likely to be able to fulfill the state’s requirements for alternative certification.

ISTR that you’re in Portland. Here is a list of their upcoming recruitment fairs. I’d make it a point to go to at least one to talk to one of the Portland Public Schools recruiters to find out how to apply and who to talk to. Can’t hurt, and it may even help.

Also, look at private schools. In my experience, their requirements are more lax on the certification end, but they want to make sure that the teachers in their classrooms are knowledgeable in the subject being taught. Get hired with a private school, and they may make it easier to get through certification if you want to move on to “certification required” jobs.

Don’t know if you want to relocate, but I work at a high school in the NYC Dept of Ed, some of the teachers came through Teach For America or the NYC DOE Teaching Fellows program, & many seem to be from other parts of the country/world. Both programs take people from other careers & help them get trained & placed, I think also paying for their Master’s degrees, in exchange for working in a tough school for I think three years. Other cities may have similiar programs. Might check those routes out.
Good luck! :slight_smile: