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'American Board' to Hold Informational Sessions This Weekend on How to Become Certified as a Teacher

The educational non-profit trains and certifies adults with Bachelor's degrees looking for a career change
American Board
The American Board certifies mid-career adults as teachers / credit: The American Board

The American Board for Certification in Teacher Excellence, or the American Board for short, is a nonprofit online program that trains individuals seeking a career change into becoming a certified teacher. And on Saturday, they are hosting an informational session in Springfield for anyone interested.  As KSMU’s Samuel Crowe reports, the program addresses a glaring need in Missouri education: more quality teachers.

What began in 2001 with grant money from the Department of Education has evolved into a ten-state program that trains and certifies adults who have at least a Bachelor’s degree to become educators. The American Board has been operating in Missouri since 2008, and awarded over 2000 certifications in the state since then.

In Missouri, the program certifies adults in seven different subject areas: math, general science, biology, chemistry, physics, history, and English.  The program allows each adult one year to complete the program, but Gerry Rubinaccio, marketing and recruiting specialist with the American Board, says on average it takes each participant eight to ten months. It’s this ability to move at your own pace that Rubinaccio says makes the program convenient for adults seeking a career change.

“Those career changers out there, if they’re looking to get certified with us, they don’t have to quit their own job right now. They can study around their own schedule,” Rubinaccio said.

According to their website, only 40 percent of adults who start the program end up completing it. Rubincacio says this is due to the rigorous nature of the program – at least eight to ten hours a week of work is required to earn the certificate. And after these adults receive the certificate, they must complete a number of steps required by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. But once these 40 percent complete all the requirements, Rubinaccio says the retention rate for these certified teachers is 85 percent over the first three years. 

“We’ve had a lot of success stories of people obtaining positions after they do get a certificate, as well as principals that have seen people come through our program. We have almost over a 90 percent success rate of the people that have gone through our certificate,” Rubinaccio said.

Rubinaccio says Missouri’s greatest need is more general science teachers.

The American Board is hosting a number of informational sessions this Saturday between 10 am and 3pm at the Library Center in Springfield. Click here for more information about the sessions.

For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.