University's New Alternative Certification Program Offers Opportunity for Future Teaching Careers

It's said that most people change jobs or careers at least seven times in their lives. A program at Texas A&M International University hopes to encourage qualified candidates to consider one a lasting change into the rewarding world of teaching.

Dr. Humberto González, TAMIU dean of the College of Education, said the University's Alternative Certification Program (ACP), recently approved by the State Board of Teacher Education, provides a real opportunity for those seeking a career with meaning and lasting impact. (photo)

González, himself a teacher in elementary to collegiate classrooms for over 30 years, said the program has great potential to change lives.

"It is well-known that teachers have a great influence on young people. Alternative Certification provides for the preparation and transition of eligible degreed teacher candidates into classroom teachers who make those changes real. They lead lives of impact that offer great personal reward and satisfaction," he noted.

The TAMIU ACP program currently focuses on EC-4 Bilingual Generalist Certification, with additional areas of certification to be added in the future. The program works in a dynamic partnership with local and surrounding area school districts who have helped in the design, delivery and evaluation of the program, González said.

"The partnership's input and expertise in teacher preparation policy and procedures and their familiarity with the needs of the districts has helped us to craft a responsive and relevant alternative certification program," he explained.

Entrance requirements include that the individual hold a Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution, an overall GPA of 2.5 or overall 2.7 during the junior and senior years, satisfaction of University and College of Education admission requirements, completion of academics and basic skills testing criteria, demonstration of oral English proficiency, and passing TOEFL scores if applicable.

Diana E. Rodríguez, ACP Coordinator, said the program operates in three distinct phases: pre-assignment, pre-service and in-service.

"These three phases include structured training seminars, University Education coursework, TExES review seminars, an internship, an ongoing mentoring/support system during the school year. Of additional interest is that as the coursework provided is at the graduate-level, it can also be applied to a Master's degree," Rodríguez added.

She explained that the program will only admit students twice a year: February-March and August-September. A limited number of positions are available.

"Candidates who are recruited and admitted during February and March will begin the pre-service phase in June. Candidates who meet University and SBEC requirements will be ready to begin their internship in August. Those candidates admitted in July-September will begin the Pre-Service Phase in October. Candidates who meet University and SBEC requirements will be ready to begin their internship in January 2005. Our efforts are now aimed at encouraging application for our February admission, Deadline for this first group is February 27, " she said.

She noted that the cost of the program is reasonable given its range of support and services. The Pre-Assignment fee of $250 includes training seminars, TExES review seminars, admission fees, probationary certificate fee and SBEC fees.

The In-Service (Internship) fee of $4500 includes additional training seminars, TExES pedagogy review seminars, tuition and fees, course book allowance, in-school and University mentoring and year-long support. The program fee can be financed in 12 monthly installments through payroll deduction. Additional required costs include $82 for TExES and $75 for the Provisional Certificate.

For more information, please contact Rodríguez at 326.2434, visit offices located in Killam Library 321A or e-mail drodriguez@tamiu.edu


Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu