Frequently Asked Questions about Certification
Admission to VSU and Teacher Education Certification Issues and Questions for Post-baccalaureate Students
Q: What should I do if I am interested in getting a teaching certificate?
Individuals with a bachelor's degree seeking certification must meet the cumulative undergraduate GPA at time of admission to program (GPA of 2.5 to 2.75 [2.75 for ARE; 2.75 for ECE] for individuals beginning programs Summer 2014; GPA of 2.75 for individuals beginning programs Fall 2014) and have passed all three tests comprising the GACE Program Admission Assessment (formerly GACE Basic Skills Assessment) for admission into Teacher Education. The passing score for all GACE Program Admission tests is 250. Admission into Teacher Education is required before enrolling in professional education classes. Note: Passing scores on the Praxis I exam may be used if the test was taken prior to September 1, 2006.
Note: You may be admitted to VSU but not be admitted into Teacher Education. Needed content courses may be taken without being admitted to Teacher Education and will be used in the GPA calculation at the time of admission to a Teacher Education program.
Q: How do I get started?
You should review your cumulative GPA (no “forgiveness” applied) and decide on the desired teaching field and then submit a Certification Evaluation Request form to the Certification Office. Once this step is completed, you may meet with an advisor to discuss the GPA, GACE Program Admission Assessment, specific certification requirements, jobs outlook, and other factors that may impact this important decision before applying for admission.
Q: What if I'm seeking my first teaching certificate?
Degree holders--You must apply as a second undergraduate degree student if you choose to complete a degree program which leads to initial teacher certification at the bachelor's level. You must apply with the Graduate School if you are seeking certification only in a master's level program that leads to initial teacher or service certification. (NOTE: After completing all content prerequisite coursework, individuals wishing to pursue certification in Middle Grades or a Secondary Education field must apply and be admitted to the MAT program through the graduate school.) You should check with the appropriate department of your intended major for information on certification plans. However, both routes require that you pass GACE Program Admission Assessment (or exempt) and the appropriate GACE Content Assessment.
Q: How much difference is there between a second degree program and the certification plan?
It depends on the first degree program and the desired teaching certificate. For example, the difference between an applied math degree and a secondary mathematics teaching certificate is primarily the professional education component; but if the first degree was in accounting, then the difference (and needed credit hours) would be much greater. In Early Childhood Education, there is little difference in the number of hours required for a second degree versus those required for completion of a certification-only program.
Q: May I work on an initial teaching certificate and a master's degree at the same time?
The certification programs in Middle Grades Education and Secondary Education fields (i.e., Biology, Chemistry, Earth & Space Science, English, History, Mathematics, Physics, or Political Science) in the department of Middle, Secondary, Reading and Deaf Education require completion of graduate education courses and result in the M.A.T. degree and teacher certification. Other programs, however, require a B.S.Ed. degree or certification in the same field before admission into a Master's degree program.
Q: If I have a teaching certificate already and wish to add another field, must I do it as an undergraduate student?
It depends on the field you wish to add. For example, teachers holding a professional teaching certificate who wish to complete an approved program and add Early Childhood Education to their teaching certificate must complete a post-baccalaureate program that consists of undergraduate courses, field experiences, and clinical practice (student teaching or internship). However, the required coursework and internship in Library/Media are completed at the graduate level. In order to add the Media Specialist certification to an existing certificate, the educator must hold a minimum of a master’s degree (or complete a Master’s degree that results in certification in Media Specialist, e.g., the Master of Education degree with a major in Instructional Technology/Library Media track).
Q: I want to be certified as quickly as possible. Which teaching field should I pursue?
This is a frequent question, but it cannot be answered without a review of your completed degree and any subsequent course work. Teaching is a professional commitment; you should pursue the field that you have the most interest in and the one in which you have the strongest desire to teach.
Q: How do I apply for my certificate once I have completed my approved educator preparation program?
Complete instructions for applying for certification at program completion can be found here.
Q: How will I receive my certificate once GaPSC issues it?
Your certificate, once issued by GaPSC, will be sent to your MyPSC account, from which you may print an official copy.
Q: What if I want to teach in another state after I am certified in Georgia?
Educator certification is regulated at the state level; therefore, each state has different rules and requirements for becoming an educator. Georgia has signed the Interstate Agreement (NASDTEC); you should contact the Licensure or Certification office for the state in which you are interested in seeking certification to determine the specific licensure requirements for that state.
Many states require, as part of their application packet, some type of College or Institutional Verification form, which must be completed by the certification official from the institution where the out-of-state program was completed. If you completed an approved educator preparation program at Valdosta State University and are required to submit a similar form(s) as part of your out-of-state application for certification in another state, you may forward the form(s) to the Dewar College of Education and Human Services’ Educator Certification Office, Attn: Certification Officer, 1500 N. Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA 31698, for completion.
For more information on Georgia requirements for Interstate Reciprocity, click here.