What Route Should Students Take to Certification?

BA, Post-Baccalaureate, MIT

There are three key routes to teacher certification. Information on these programs can be found on the Secondary Education website at www.wce.wwu.edu/depts/sec. In addition, students may contact the Program Manager in Secondary Education for clarification on the differences in the programs. Students will want to assess their individual needs and preferences in order to effectively determine which option is best for them. The three program options are:

BA

In this scenario, students earn an academic major and certification at the same time by completing all the requirements for the History/Social Studies major and, having been accepted by Secondary Teacher Education, all of the teacher certification coursework.

Advantages

  1. Potentially lower cost of education (paying only for undergraduate credits)
  2. Possible earlier arrival on job market. ($ in hand sooner!)

Disadvantages

  1. Potentially slows time to undergraduate degree because of number of courses required and may offset any cost savings for undergraduate credits.
  2. Severely limits flexibility in electives and major as students must balance the major requirements and the certification coursework simultaneously.
  3. BA's start at the lowest salary levels once on the market.

Post-Baccalaureate

In this option, students finish the History/Social Studies academic major and earn the BA prior to applying for admission to Secondary Teacher Education or taking any education courses. These students enroll for the identical course sequence as those in the undergraduate program.

Advantages

  1. Potentially better mastery of academic subject areas with more opportunity for electives and supplemental classes.
  2. More flexibility in undergraduate program in general.
  3. Slightly higher pay since courses taken subsequent to granting of the degree result in pay step increases according to the Washington State salary schedule.
  4. Concentrated program slightly shorter than MIT.
  5. Tuition the same as for the undergraduate program.

Disadvantages

  1. May slightly delay entry into job market in comparison to BA.

MIT

In this option, students finish the History/Social Studies academic major and earn the BA prior to applying to Secondary Teacher Education or taking any education courses. Students apply to the Secondary Master's in Teaching program (MIT) through the Graduate School.

Advantages

  1. Same as #1 and 2 in Post-Bac.
  2. Those earning a Master's degree may earn approximately $5000-$6000 more per year according to the Washington State salary schedule.
  3. Students enroll in a more rigorous graduate course of study.
  4. The MIT is only 10 credits more than the undergrad/post bac program; and therefore is a time and cost-effective way to earn a master's degree.

Disadvantages

  1. Most costly financial investment of all options
  2. In contrast to the undergrad/post bac programs, MIT students must meet a higher GPA requirement and successfully complete the Graduate Record Exam.

Conclusion

Students may hear that school districts prefer to hire BA's because they are cheaper and at the same time they hear that employers prefer to hire MIT's because they are more experienced. Students should be aware that any district that uses the Washington State Salary schedule passes along the additional cost of the (master's) degree to the State. Superintendents indicate that it is the quality of the candidate -- not the specific degree earned -- that determines who they hire. Students should analyze their immediate and long-term situations and balance those against their desire to obtain as much as possible from the academic major and the teacher certification program.

Page Updated 05.18.2012