Alternative Teacher Certification for High School Chemistry
Many professionals are drawn to the idea of teaching high school chemistry as a second career. In lieu of entering and undergraduate teacher program, alternative teacher certification is a quick and viable way to get certified. If you have a bachelor’s degree and want to become a teacher, find out how to take advantage of this option.
General requirements to get certified
Candidates who have been certified to teach through alternative routes generally:
- Have at least a Bachelor's Degree in chemistry
- Pass a screening process such as passing written and oral tests.
- Engage in on-the job teacher training
- Complete professional teacher education studies
Public schools in all states generally require some sort of certification in order to teach. The requirements for certification vary considerably from state to state. Some states require completion of a degree from an approved teacher education program. Other states require competency testing, student teaching experience, and/or specific academic degrees.
A number of states offer "alternative certification" programs that allow technically qualified professionals to begin teaching immediately and catch up with the certification requirements in the evening or summer.
A few states allow teachers with strong content backgrounds to meet alternative criteria. ACS policy supports modifying existing teacher certification programs to permit experienced scientists to teach in secondary schools after completing a suitable teaching internship, with the understanding that education course credits would be required for permanent certification.
Most states require a passing score on the Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers Skills Exam and Chemistry Exam. PRAXIS stands for Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers. The PRAXIS series of exams is administered by the Educational Testing Service (800-772-9476). These exams are given at various times during the year and at various locations.
The first step to a career in teaching is to check the certification requirements in your state. Certificationmap.com is a comprehensive website that outlines requirements for becoming a teacher and average salaries for each state.
The Education Commission of the States has compiled a list of states enacting regulations and policies regarding alternative certification/licensure since 2000.
Refer to the following resources for additional information on getting certified:
- The National Center for Education Information in Washington, D.C. is the authoritative source of information about alternative preparation and certification of teachers.
- The National Center for Alternative Certification is a one-stop clearinghouse for information about alternative routes to certification in the United Sates. Call 866-778-2784 or visit www.teach-now.org/ for immediate answers to questions and guidance for individuals interested in becoming teachers.
- US Department of Education
- National Association for Alternative Certification
Resources for Newly Certified High School Chemistry Teachers
- ACS resources for teaching high school chemistry
- ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Classroom Grant for funding opportunities to enhance your classroom
- ACS ChemClub, a chemistry club for high school students
- Chemistry Olympiad high school competition
- Project SEED summer learning program
- Survival Guide for New Teachers by the U.S. Department of Education, a great resource for newly certified teachers
- Scores Found Unaffected by Teacher-Training Route (Education Week, Feb. 9, 2009)
Students who have teachers certified through alternative-training programs do no worse in mathematics or reading achievement than students whose teachers have been certified by traditional teacher education programs, according to a study released by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. more
- ACS-Hach Second Career Teacher Scholarship
Full- and part-time scholarships for chemists interested in teaching high school chemistry.