UNC and NCSU Announce New Online Teacher License Program

ByMike V. Cooper

Feb 10, 2017

NC State University and UNC-Chapel Hill are partnering to offer a new online teacher license program for lateral hires.

Lateral hires are those who have degrees or training in a particular subject but do not have full teacher certification to work in the classroom.

The program aims to help the state address a growing teacher shortage by providing a new pathway into the profession. The accelerated program, offered online only, is expected to last one year or 18 months. It will cost less than $5,000, according to the announcement made Thursday by the two universities.

The program was designed to be online so that working adults can take advantage of the training without quitting their job. It will begin this fall with 50 students.

North Carolina employs more than 4,300 side-entry teachers, according to a 2015 report from the State Board of Education. But they tend to leave the profession at a 79% higher rate than other teachers, suggesting they need better preparation for the classroom.

Faculty from both campuses will teach classes, in math, science, English/language arts, and social studies, and eventually special education. Students will have mentors. Courses will be designed in such a way that students achieve goals and show mastery of skills. The competency-based approach, which can move students forward faster, received a $148,000 grant from the UNC system general administration.

“There is a high demand for this type of preparation,” said Diana Lys, assistant dean for educator preparation at UNC’s School of Education, in a press release announcing the program. “We hope that eventually we will be able to enroll hundreds of people in this program.”

Universities have a partnership with D2L, a company that provides online platforms for university courses and has experience in competency-based teaching.

Currently, side-entry teachers must take 18 hours of classes over a three-year period. Program organizers NCSU and UNC say it’s designed to be more comprehensive, consistent, and streamlined.

For more information about the program, visit nando.com/lateralentry.

This story was originally published February 9, 2017 1:25 p.m.