School Administration

How to Use Alternative Teaching Certification to Solve the Teacher Shortage

Published by in School Administration

The teacher shortage has been news for years, but unfortunately the trends haven’t shown much improvement. Rising education costs but stagnant teacher salaries after graduation have decreased the number of new teachers going through the traditional certification system.

Alternative Teaching Certification

This has led some schools to supplement qualified educators with substitute teachers, or try and economize further by automating tasks with school administration software, but others have begun tapping a more experienced resource for educators.

In the wake of shortages, some schools in Oregon, as well as many other states, have been seeking and hiring business professionals in respective subjects and industries to take the place of traditional educators, according to E School News.

These programs are referred to as “alternative certification programs,” which provide a route for industry professionals seeking a career change to make headway into a teaching career without having to spend years getting a new degree.

Aside from providing a potential fix for the teacher shortage, here are several other benefits of choosing to hire an industry professional over a traditional teacher.

Real World Experience


First and foremost, there is nothing more effective than real-world experience. You can read to your heart’s content about driving a manual car, but you can never REALLY know until you get behind the wheel.

The Umatilla School District in Oregon recently hired two science teachers, Dan Durfey and Amy Jewett, both from professional backgrounds. Jewett worked as a chemist for a chemical waste plant for eight years and Durfey worked as the Umatilla County Weed Control Supervisor with a background in Earth science. Both of them have gone through the alternative routes of teaching certification to meet the requirements to teach classes.

However, what they bring to the table that other traditional teachers do not is real world experience. With that real world experience can come fresh new ideas that turn the traditional classroom concept on its head, possibly leading to better results.

“I’m going to bring 20 years of experience in here from everything I’ve seen that you don’t see in the textbook,” Durfey said. “If you go to school and graduate, this is exactly what you will be doing in a job.”

Higher Confidence In Ability


In fact, according to and the National Center for Education Information, roughly 97% of those who enter teaching through alternative certification have stated a high level of competence in the fields that they are now teaching. This is likely due to the fact that 70% of these alternative candidates enter the education field at or over the age of 30 and have built more hands-on experience than that of a fresh-out-of-college teacher.

Self-confidence in one’s knowledge of the material and ability to teach can lead to better performance in the classroom, therefore leading to better performance by students.

Working Through Their Certification

Another benefit, according to NCEI, of hiring a professional is their ability to teach while working towards an alternative certification. This is in contrast to traditional educators which have to go through time consuming degrees before they can begin to work and teach.

Many traditional teachers have to go through four to six years in school to gain the necessary skills to enter the classroom as a fully paid educator. Fewer credential programs and declining amounts of students following traditional credentialing routes has created a slow moving certification pipeline that contributes to the nationwide teacher shortage.


Alternative routes may take up to three years to complete, but no time is wasted in-between for these professionals to begin working in the classroom, which provides immediate relief to the shortage issue.


Has your school hired industry or business professionals through alternative certification methods? How did they perform? What went right and what could’ve gone better? Let us know in the comments below!

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About the Author

Nick Morpus

Nick Morpus

Nick Morpus is a former Capterra analyst.


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