Alternative Certification Programs

For purposes of reporting student data, the following definition of an "alternative certification program" is provided:

DESE Definition of Alternative Route to Certification: A teacher preparation program that serves candidates who are the teacher of record in a classroom while participating in that route. (David Adams, 4-17-11)

Programs that Fit this Definition

Students who are enrolled in one of Missouri State's three (3) approved "Alternative Certification Programs" may be reported as "alternative" if they meet certain criteria:

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

This program holds both Innovative and Alternative status.

  • Innovative: Students in the MAT program that are NOT teaching on a Provisional Certificate are considered "innovative" students.
  • Alternative: Students in the MAT program who ARE teaching on a Provisional Certificate in their grade level and content area considered "alternative" students.

Special Education Alternative Certification Track (SEACT)

Students in the SEACT program currently have three (3) options:

  • Students enrolled in this program are required to obtain a teaching position on a Provisional Certificate in a K-12, Mild/Moderate setting by the beginning of the second year of the program. Those who are able to obtain a teaching position are considered "alternative" certification students.
  • Students may be hired as an instructional paraprofessional in a K-12, Mild/Moderate setting by the beginning of their second year. This position does not typically require a Provisional Certificate and therefore these students would not be considered "alternative".
  • Due to the current economy and related job market, DESE has approved an exception allowing students to remain in the SEACT program through completion without a teaching or para job if they are unsuccessful in obtaining employment. These students would be placed in a 16 week "student teaching" assignment where they would complete all required course competencies for SPE784 and SPE789. This was approved by Gale (Hap) Hairston at DESE Fall 2010. These students would not be considered "alternative".

Visually Impaired Certification Program (VIP):

Because this is an online, nation-wide certification program and serves as the primary program for Visually Impaired certification in Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and several other mid-western states, students have not been "required" to work on a Provisional Certificate. In fact, students working outside of Missouri are cannot be approved for a Provisional Certificate by DESE. Therefore, students in this program have two options, but all would be considered "alternative" students in this program:

  • Students can be hired to teach on a Provisional Certificate in Missouri and would be reported as "alternative" certification students.
  • Students who are living in Missouri or other states may be teaching in Special Education or another certification area but are not teaching in a VI classroom. These students would be adding VI certification and would be considered candidates in our VIP - alternative certification program. However, for reporting purposes they would not be designated as "alternative".
  • Students in Missouri or other states may be earning VI certification as their Initial Teaching Certificate but may not be working in any capacity in a school setting. These students would be considered candidates in our VIP - Alternative Certification Program but for reporting purposes would not be designated as "alternative".

Programs that do NOT Fit this Definition

Students in undergraduate, postbaccalaureate and post-master's certification programs may under certain circumstances be hired to teach on a Provisional Certificate. However, the following groups of students would NOT be considered "alternative" certification program students.

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate, degree-seeking students in ANY certification program who are within 12 credit hours of completing their requirements for certification may be hired on a Provisional Certificate. However, because they are not enrolled in one of our three (3) "Approved Alternative Certification Programs" they would not be reported as an "alternative" student.

Postbaccalaureate, Nondegree-Seeking Students

These students pursuing 9-12, K-12 and Middle School certification have been allowed by DESE since 2005 to work on a Provisional Certificate while in their program. These students can have more than 12 hours of deficiencies. However, since they are not in the MAT program they are not considered "alternative" students.

Counseling Students

Per DESE policy, students pursuing Counseling certification are allowed to work on a Provisional Certificate at the discretion of the Teacher Education Institution. At Missouri State, each Counseling program has designated an amount of coursework that must be completed prior to becoming eligible for a Provisional Certificate. However, Counseling students working on a Provisional Certificate are not considered "alternative" students.