Teaching hopefuls look to alternative certification routes

Teaching hopefuls look to alternative certification routes

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - With looming concerns over teacher shortages and quality, many people are looking to programs that could help them get into the classroom in as little as one year.

Alternative routes to teaching have become a quick way to get involved in education. If you have a college degree, you can become a recognized and certified teacher in Idaho.

Programs like the American Board say it's a faster, cheaper and easier way to becoming an educator.

"I enjoy the children, I enjoy my job, I love it," said Linda Blair.

Special education teacher, Linda Blair, has been an educator for 6 years.

Linda said after realizing her passion lied in the classroom, she sought out a certification program to help her become a teacher.

"I had a part-time job at the time so I was able to study and get that work done," said Blair. "I was done within a year."

The American Board requires online courses and qualifying exams for certification.

"Our program is completely online, self-paced and you have a year to complete it," said Cherri Sabala, American Board representative. "Once you're done, you're considered a highly-qualified, licensed teacher in the state of Idaho."

Only 11 states endorse the American Board as an official route to teacher licensure -- including Utah, Nevada, Missouri, and Florida.

Sabala said teachers are desperately needed everywhere and this program helps fill the demand.

"32 percent of the districts in the state of Idaho actually ask for emergency certifications because they don't have enough people applying," said Sabala.

The American Board says 83 percent of its teachers stay in the classroom, whereas about 50 percent of educators who go the more traditional route choose to stay in the field.

Representatives from the American Board will be giving presentations about the program this week.

They'll be in Pocatello Thursday, March 14 at the Marshall Public Library at 5 p.m. and in Arco Friday, March 15 at the Arco/Butte Business Incubator Center at 3 p.m.

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