New Teaching Certification Preparation Program

(Bradenton, Fla., March 21, 2005). - Manatee Community College (MCC) will offer a new alternative program for noneducation majors with at least a bachelor's degree that will prepare them for professional state certification as K-12 teachers. The Florida Legislature authorized the creation of Alternative Certification Programs (ACP) in an attempt to address the state's critical teacher shortage in a manner that assures quality teachers.

MCC worked with other community colleges to develop its ACP and anticipates receiving formal Department of Education approval of its program by June 2005. Plans are to recruit participants in late spring and summer and begin instruction in Fall 2005.

The competency-based program will include coursework, field experiences, test preparation sessions, mentoring and Web-based elements. Instructors will have at least a master's degree as well as K-12 teaching experience.

Flexible scheduling will allow working professionals to participate. To complete MCC's ACP and become certified to teach in Florida, participants must complete a minimum of 295 contact hours and pass three state exams. Classes will be taught at an MCC location in Bradenton, Venice or Lakewood Ranch. The cost of the ACP is expected to be under $2,000.

MCC officials' goal is to have three cohorts of 20 to 25 students complete the program and be prepared to enter the classroom within two years. MCC will coordinate with area school districts to ensure participants are prepared to teach in subject areas that match the local districts' biggest needs.

Whereas existing school district ACPs are restricted to district employees, and university ACPs are at the graduate level and therefore more costly, MCC's program will be less expensive; will provide knowledge and teaching skills prior to entry into a classroom; will provide preparation support for state exams; and is open to a wide range of qualified participants.

To learn more, or to leave contact information to be notified when MCC's orientation session is scheduled, interested persons may call (941) 363-7205 or e-mail

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