Are you interested in becoming a teacher? It’s a great responsibility to help people discover their true potential and deepen their knowledge of the world. At Rio Salado College, we’re committed to offering several different programs and pathways to help educators get the training and professional guidance they need to prepare them for that responsibility (at a price that’s significantly more affordable than a similar level of training at a state university). If you’re planning to pursue a career in education, read on and find out how Rio can help get you ready for the classroom.
Do I Need A Degree To Become A Teacher?
There can be some confusion around this question due to the recent passing of Arizona’s SB 1159 law. The answer is yes, you DO need a Bachelor’s degree in order to become a teacher. In some states like Arizona, however, students actively working toward completing a bachelor’s degree in education can still enroll in classroom-based preparation programs. What that means is that you may be able to participate in educator preparation programs and get hands-on classroom experience while you’re still working on finishing your degree program.
It’s not just the degree: you’ll also need to get certified to work as a teacher; in most states, you need to get a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for certification.
Getting A Four-Year Degree At Rio
The good news for students seeking a four-year degree in education is that Rio Salado now offers a four-year degree program in elementary education/special education. In the past, students would need to earn a bachelor’s degree elsewhere and then come to Rio for educator preparation programs. Starting this fall, students who want to enter elementary education or special education can complete the entire pathway at Rio at a more affordable tuition rate. Students will receive dedicated service from a team of Success Coaches and advisors.
Teacher In Residence Programs
Applications are currently open for Rio Salado’s Teacher In Residence (TIR) Fall 2023 program. This program provides hands-on career training for educators who’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree in a qualifying subject. The TIR program allows students working in a classroom on a provisional certificate to simultaneously complete their coursework toward full certification. Students receive mentorship and guidance to navigate the responsibilities of working in a classroom.
The TIR program is available for the following grade levels:
- Early Childhood (Birth - Grade 3)
- Elementary Education (Grades K-8)
- Secondary Education (Grades 6-12)
- Special Education (Grades K-12)
Applications for the TIR program are open until September 5, 2023. If you’d like to learn more about becoming a TIR student, you can attend a free virtual orientation session on July 6, July 25, August 9, or August 22.
Traditional Post Baccalaureate
In addition to the TIR program, Rio also offers traditional post-baccalaureate programs. These preparation programs are designed to help students with Bachelor’s degrees meet their coursework requirements for becoming a certified teacher in the state of Arizona.
Professional Growth and Clinical Practices
Rio's preparation programs also offer opportunities for professional growth. These include coursework for endorsements, certification deficiencies, and gaining general knowledge in career and technical education. Rio also offers Clinical Practices which embed students in the field to observe and learn about real-world applications of teaching theory and best practices.
What Do I Need To Get Started In An Educator Preparation Program?
While admission requirements can vary from program to program, there are a few things you’ll want to get in order so you’ll be ready to hit the ground running with your application.
- Official transcripts for your Bachelor’s degree
- IVP fingerprint clearance
- Letters of recommendation
- An overall GPA of 3.0 or above to move from semester to semester
Paulina Ngo, Rio Salado College’s Field Experience Coordinator and Coordinator of Marketing for our Teacher Education program, has written an informative piece with advice on how to become a teacher. Check out Ngo’s article for more information.
Article by Austin Brietta