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Utica College offers program to help address teacher shortage

Every state in the country is dealing with a teacher shortage, but Utica College is offering a program that aims to get certified teachers into classrooms sooner.

UTICA, NY-- Every state in the country is dealing with a teacher shortage, but Utica College is offering a program that aims to get certified teachers into classrooms sooner.

Utica College has created an accelerated Teacher Certification Program, that allows aspiring teachers to secure full-time employment in local schools via an alternative pathway to certification, according to the site.

The program is designed for aspiring teachers who hold a bachelor degree in high-need areas, such as, English, French, social studies, Spanish, biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, mathematics or technology. Students who complete a summer course of study and pass required teaching exams will earn the 'Transitional B Certificate' and secure a full-time teaching job by fall 2018. Candidates then have up to five years to finish the remaining master's in education coursework under UC mentorship.

The program may prove to be helpful, during a time when more than a third of the state's 270,000 active Teachers' Retirement System members could be eligible to retire within the next five years, according to New York State United Teachers. The number of people enrolling in teacher education programs has also made an impact, with a dramatic drop in five years by about half, from 79,000 students in 2009-10 to 20,000 in 2014-15.

"I think a lot of people just got discouraged, from let's say 2009 through... 2016 because they were telling them 'don't go into education, there aren't any jobs, do something else,"' said John Rowe, executive director of graduate admissions at Utica College. "However there's always a core group of people in any community, who are really dedicated to being teachers, always wanted to be teachers and perhaps through job losses or change in family situation or career, now they have the opportunity to come back to do this program."

Rowe said the program works with schools in Oneida, Herkimer and Madison counties to help ease the teacher shortage locally.

Kathleen Cullen, interim department chair and director of the adolescence apprenticeship program at Utica College said it's a win-win for schools and potential teachers.

"Our folks they want to get into the classroom... they want to hop over the classes and get into student teaching and we don't have that option, " she said. "For our traditional programs to take the courses and then you end with your student teaching and the situation you're taking your coursework at the same time in the classroom. So I think it's going be more meaningful for the students because they will have those experiences when you're talking about our courses."

Rowe said at least 40 different people have called who are interested in the program and several students have applied.

Applicants can send their transcripts for a free evaluation, admissions counselors will then recommend if more courses are needed or if they are eligible to apply.

If you're interested call the office of graduate admissions, 315-792-3010 or visit:

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