N.C. State University and UNC-Chapel Hill are teaming up to offer a new online teacher licensure program for lateral entry hires.
Lateral entry hires are those who have degrees or training in a particular subject but lack the full teacher certification to be able to work in the classroom.
The program aims to help the state address a growing teacher shortage by providing a new entry path to the profession. The accelerated program, offered online only, is expected to take a year or 18 months to complete. It will cost less than $5,000, according to the announcement Thursday by the two universities.
The program was designed to be online so that working adults could take advantage of the training without leaving their jobs. It will start this fall with 50 students.
North Carolina employs more than 4,300 lateral-entry teachers, according to a 2015 report by the State Board of Education. But they tend to leave the profession at a rate 79 percent greater than other teachers, suggesting that they need better preparation for the classroom.
Faculty from the two campuses will teach the courses, in mathematics, science, English/language arts and social studies, and eventually special education. Students will have mentors. The courses will be designed so that students achieve targets and show their mastery of skills. The competency-based approach, which can move students through more quickly, was awarded a $148,000 grant from the UNC system’s General Administration.
“There is great demand for this type of preparation,” Diana Lys, assistant dean for educator preparation at UNC’s School of Education, said in a news release announcing the program. “We hope that eventually we will be able to enroll hundreds of people in this program.”
The universities have a partnership with D2L, a company that provides online platforms for university courses and has experience in competency-based education.
Currently lateral-entry teachers are required to take 18 hours of coursework in a three-year period. Organizers of the NCSU and UNC program say it is designed to be more comprehensive, cohesive and streamlined.
For more information on the program, go to nando.com/lateralentry.