Biology Teacher Certification in Minneapolis-St. Paul
July 14, 2008 2:58 PM   Subscribe

Want to become a high school biology teacher in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul). The problem seems to be that no school offers this certification.

In my mid-forties, I am looking to become a high school biology teacher in Minnesota (I have undergrad and grad degrees in biology). The only program I've found so far is at the U of Minn and runs on a cohort scheme, meaning I can't even start until Fall 2009. Life's too short, I'm too old and too broke.

So far, every other school in the area has proven to be highly christian and highly averse to certifications that might lead to teaching evolution, i.e. no biology.

Are there any sane, rotating admission programs to obtain a high school biology teaching certificate within 100 miles of the Twin Cities? I'm particularly interested in anyone's personal experience with these programs.
posted by OlderThanTOS to Education (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you checked out the Licensure by Portfolio option? If that won't work, page 17 of the Portfolio Guidelines PDF linked on that page has some other options, which you may have already explored.

Many/most states now have various forms of "alternative certification", where college graduates attend a sort of "teacher boot-camp" crash course over the summer, get a provisional teaching license, and after two or so years of successfully teaching, receive a permanent license. No additional coursework needed. Not sure if MN offers that (I've looked and can't find it, other than the portfolio option), but maybe it will help you know what you're looking for.

You might also want to contact local school districts offices or the state DOE and ask if they can direct you to the appropriate alternative program. In fact, many of the programs I know of will only accept candidates with a firm job offer. However, it's likely too late in the game to teach for 2008-09. You might look into long-term substitute positions, which are often functionally-equivalent to teaching, will give you valuable experience, and may also be one last relatively risk-free chance to figure out that this career isn't (or very much is!) for you.
posted by SuperNova at 3:34 PM on July 14, 2008

You could look into the post-baccalaureate teacher certification program at Western Governors University. It's all online, you can start any time, their approach is competency-based, and you can move at your own speed.

Also seconding SuperNova's suggestion that you look into your state's alternative route to licensure, if they have one. That's how I got my teaching certificate.
posted by baho at 4:16 PM on July 14, 2008

I am no expert on Minnesota teaching licensure, but I know a bit because my husband is thinking of becoming a teacher. Do you really need a program that is based solely on biology? I know there are a lot of schools in the Twin Cities that offer Master's Degrees in Education along with a teaching license. My husband has heard good things from current teachers who went to Hamline, Augsburg, and St. Mary's. Have you checked into those yet? If you are concerned that a particular program does not appear to emphasize biology, it might be worth speaking to someone at the college directly about what they offer.
posted by beandip at 5:48 PM on July 14, 2008

Um, are you a biologist? Were you a biology major in college?
I would recommend that you contact the department head of biology/science at all of the local high schools in the area. If someone's going on maternity leave or whatnot, you might be able to get a long term sub position even without the certification. My sister is a department head and occasionally sends frantic emails like "our school needs a Spanish teacher for the rest of the year, starting tomorrow!"

It's a good way to get your foot in the door, and could lead to a permanent position with you getting certified later on (night classes or whatever).
posted by emd3737 at 6:51 PM on July 14, 2008

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