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Troops to Teachers

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Military members with a baccalaureate degree or higher are eligible to begin the teaching certification process to become an academic subject teacher. However, many service members may already qualify to become a vocational/technical teacher. Military members only need the equivalent of one year of college courses and six years of experience in a vocational or technical field to begin the certification process.

To complete the process, individuals can use an Alternative Certification Program (ACP) or University Teacher Preparation Program. Military Members within the European theater may benefit from an ACP, since this method offers online courses to obtain the teaching certification.

Military members from all of the armed forces can use tuition assistance for their teaching certification while on active duty. Members may also be eligible for financial assistance for teacher certification expenses. A commitment to teach for three years in a “high-need” school district or at a high school with a high percentage of low-income families is part of the obligation for receiving some forms of financial aid.

There are 33 state TTT offices nationwide that offer placement assistance for the 45 states participating in the program. Offices can assist military members with state certification requirements. Service members can take advantage of the TTT Web site, www.ProudToServeAgain.com, to correspond with representatives and receive alternative certification information.

“It’s important to focus on where you want to teach, to start checking what your state’s requirements are. Teacher certification is done state-to-state, not nationally. But some states will recognize another state’s certification,” said John Gantz, director of the TTT program.

The program began in 1994 as transition assistance towards a teaching career, and has since recruited more than 6,000 military members.

The military members who have become teachers have established a good reputation for the program with school administrators and principals. The TTT headquarters office recently sent out a survey to 1,000 principals regarding the teachers who have come from the program.

“We received more than 800 replies from the survey. Of those, 17 percent received an average for performance, and more than 75 percent ranked above average and higher,” said Gantz. “School systems are finding former military members to be very valuable assets. They bring leadership skills, a concern for their students (similar to their troops) and a lot of experience to the classroom.”

Schools are also seeing a higher retention rate from former military members than teachers who just finished college.

The cultural diversity of the military is proving an added bonus, as the program is providing individuals from a variety of backgrounds. “Schools are looking for a stronger presence of male and minority teachers at the elementary level. A lot of kids are being raised by one parent, and schools are looking for positive role models to help fill that void,” added Gantz.

Teaching positions are available at the elementary, middle and high school levels in suburban, small towns, rural and inner-city areas. There is a higher demand for math, science and special education teachers. Positions for other subjects are obtainable, but applicants may need to be more flexible with location.

Military Members can consult their TTT representative on job availabilities, or check the Department of Education Web site at www.teachers-teachers.com. The Web site lists teaching vacancies for each state.

Service members interested in the Troops to Teachers program can get more information from their state TTT office, stateside DSN 312-922-1241 or on-line at www.ProudToServeAgain.com.

Much of the Above Information Courtesy of the Navy News Service

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