A teacher shortage is threatening educational quality across our nation, leading some states to develop alternative routes to certification. There are plenty of talented professionals who lack a teaching background that would make wonderful educators, and perhaps you are one of them.
Some struggle to find the perfect job or feel unfulfilled in their current careers. For those considering a career change to education, several alternative pathways can enable an individual to become a teacher without completing the traditional teacher certification programs offered by most colleges and universities.
There is still a way to fulfill that dream of becoming an educator for those interested in teaching careers but have not completed a teacher preparation program. Suppose you have earned a bachelor’s degree in another area. In that case, you still have the option to obtain an alternative certification and teach in a classroom while completing a standard teaching certificate.
Understanding this process for becoming a teacher when you possess an unrelated degree may be somewhat confusing, especially since each state and college may set its requirements. This will reduce the time it takes to switch careers while potentially allowing you to continue earning a paycheck in the process.
Currently, eight options offer alternative certifications that permit individuals without an initial teaching certificate to pursue teacher certificates in Kentucky. The most popular of these options is the Option 6 program, or alternative teacher certification.
If you’re interested in this route but aren’t sure where to start, keep reading to discover more about this beneficial option offered by Kentucky.
What is Option 6?
An Option 6 certification is the most commonly used alternative route for pursuing teacher certification in Kentucky. This is a university-based program that allows a minimum of a non-teaching bachelor’s to pursue initial teacher certification at participating universities.
Through this program a student is enrolled at the same time as teaching in a Kentucky school in the area their certification will be in. Once being admitted to the program, the student is given a hiring eligibility letter to submit to a hiring district which indicates the certification area they are eligible for.
Once they are admitted to the program and hired by a district, the student is then issued a temporary provisional certification upon completing the appropriate application started by the district. The temporary certificate can be renewed two additional years beyond the initial issuance, which gives the student three years to complete the program.
What are the Benefits of an Option 6 Program?
There are several benefits to using the Option 6 program as an alternative route to teacher certification in Kentucky. A significant benefit of this program is allowing the student the opportunity to teach in a Kentucky school district in the area they seek certification.
This program is designed for the working adult, and its flexibility makes it one of the most popular routes for alternative certification. Whereas some programs require an unpaid student teaching period, Option 6 allows the student to be paid just as any other teacher would.
Another benefit to this particular program is that it is fully online. This allows the student the flexibility to take classes on their own terms and on a schedule they can work with. Another major benefit to this program is how quickly you will complete the program. Most programs enable students to complete it in only two and a half years.
After they have completed the program, students will have an M.A.Ed. and an initial teaching certification in the chosen content area. Another benefit of this program is that it meets an immediate need in the classroom to ensure this path fits their career goals.
How to Prepare for an Option 6 Program
To prepare for an Option 6 pathway, candidates need to make sure they have identified a particular content area they want to work in and begin to practice and study for the Praxis test. Other than that, there isn’t a lot of preparation involved. However, there are several eligibility requirements for the program.
These requirements are as follows:
- Candidates must have a bachelor’s or graduate degree with a cumulative 2.75 GPA or a 3.0 on the last 30 hours of credit completed.
- Candidates must meet college or university standards for their teacher program, which can vary for each school.
- Most programs require that a candidate already have the equivalent to a degree in the content area for what they seek certification in.
- Candidates must pass the Praxis I exam to be admitted into the college or university if requested and the Praxis II exam in their content area.
- Candidates need to contact the institutions directly to get more in-depth details about the particular programs as requirements vary from school to school.
Education is a wonderful option for those looking to switch gears in their career. Teachers are directly influential in a student’s life, and this is an important reason many people choose this profession. Teachers have the ability to ignite a love of learning and have the unique opportunity to help students further themselves.
That is why alternative routes to certification, such as Option 6, are wonderful options for those who have decided to go into education as their calling after having previously chosen something else. The opportunity to fulfill that dream of becoming a teacher even without having an initial teacher certification has opened doors for so many talented, professional people who will someday make wonderful teachers.