To help address the teacher shortage in Oklahoma, Mid-America Christian University is now offering two online pathways for paraprofessionals (teaching assistants) to obtain Elementary or Early Childhood Alternative Education Certification.
One path is for paraprofessionals who already have an undergraduate degree and at least one year of classroom experience. The Graduate Certificate in Curriculum and Instruction gives students an opportunity to complete the state requirements necessary for Elementary or Early Childhood Alternative Education Certification.
The other is for paraprofessionals who do not have an undergraduate degree, but have a minimum of one year of classroom experience and at least 48 hours of college credit. This pathway provides the opportunity to complete an undergraduate degree and obtain a certificate that meets state requirements toward Elementary or Early Childhood Alternative Education Certification.
Focused on adults who may not be able to attend on-campus classes, both tracks are offered 100% online.
“This is the first online-only opportunity in Oklahoma,” said Dr. Bobbie Spurgeon-Harris, Executive Vice President and Vice President for the College of Adult and Graduate Studies. “Participants can keep their jobs and still work toward their certification. This is especially important for those who do not have a bachelor’s degree yet. We’ve paired the classes with the required courses in our interdisciplinary study program, so teacher education certification can be included.”
According to Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) guidelines, a teaching assistant with at least one year of experience in a public school is eligible to become a certified teacher if they meet certain requirements. These requirements are covered by MACU’s new online programs.
OSDE defines a public school paraprofessional as “an employee of a school district whose position is either instructional in nature, or who delivers other direct services to students and/or their parents. A public school paraprofessional serves in a position for which a teacher or another professional has the ultimate responsibility for the design, implementation, and evaluation of the individual educational programs or related services and student performance.”
The graduate path is 12 credit hours and leads to a Graduate Certificate in Curriculum and Instruction. It includes these courses: Language Acquisition, Literacy, and Reading; Classroom Management and Safe Learning Environments; Advocacy for Learning and Creating a Community of Diverse Learners; and Educational Psychology: Psychology Behind Learning.
Students pursuing undergraduate certification enroll in MACU’s Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies program and complete 18 credit hours as part of this bachelor’s degree. Courses include Foundations of Literacy, Educational Psychology, Instructional Strategies and Management, Development Across the Lifespan, Students with Exceptionalities and Math for Teachers.
Teachers who are currently working for an Oklahoma school district receive a 10 percent tuition discount on the programs, as well as other degree and certificate programs in the university’s School of Teacher Education.
To learn more about the new online options for paraprofessionals or other teacher education programs offered at MACU, visit www.macu.edu/teacher-ed or call 888-888-2341.