Alternative Certification For Teachers (ACT) Program

Two options are available:

The MED degree - for working teachers or the MAT degree - for full time students

What is the ACT Program?

The Alternative Certification for Teachers (ACT) program is an opportunity for college graduates who hold a bachelor's degree or more advanced degree in a content area from an accreditied college or university to earn a master's degree in education and be recommended for a Georgia clear renewable T-5 teaching certificate. This is a 36 credit hour master's degree program requiring extensive field experiences and college course work. This program is designed for the preparation of teachers for core academic areas of sciences, math, English, social studies, and reading for middle level schools and high school. Two options are available. Candidates who are currently teaching with a non-renewable certificate (provisional) are able to earn certification their first year and complete requirements for the master's degree MED in the second year of their enrollment. The second option is for full time students, not employed as teachers, who wish to earn certification through an intensive four (4) semester program with supervised apprenticeships and internships. The ACT program, either MED or MAT option, is designed to meet the needs of highly-qualified college graduates who wish to enter the teaching profession.

What is the process for entering the ACT/MAT Programs?


Inquiring about the process (2 parallel processes)

Contact Mr. Scott Grubbs or


College Education (Middle & Secondary)

Graduate School

  • Transcript evaluation (Submit to the Dean’s Office); and submit transcripts
  • Seek admission to the unversity as certification student to complete prerequisite courses
  • Complete prerequisite content courses (identified by transcript evaluation
  • Pass or exempt GACE Basic Skills test
  • Pass GACE Content  Assessment (in area that you are seeking certification)
  • Apply to Graduate School (online application)
  • Submit all official transcripts to the graduate school
  • Submit to graduate school acceptable scores on MAT or GRE (minimum MAT 375, minimum GRE 750)
  • Meet April 15th deadline

When both COE and graduate school requirements are completed you will be invited for a departmental group interview and on-site writing exercise

After all the above requirements are met candidates will receive letters of acceptance from the Graduate School and from the Department

What are the content areas that I may seek certification through the ACT Program?

Middle Grades: math, science, English language arts, reading, or social studies

Secondary: English, math, history, political science, biology, chemistry, physics, or earth science

How does the ACT Program work? 
The ACT Program operates through cohorts that complete the 36 semester hour program together. Program participants take coursework during summer and evenings while they are employed by a school system. They also receive supervision, mentoring, and support from Valdosta State University to help ensure their success.

The ACT Program has two tracks leading to certification and a master's degree.

For Working Teachers - The first year is a certification year, the second year is the completion of the master's degree. Classes are at night: for certification there are 2 classes in the summer, 2 classes in the fall (including an internship) and 2 classes in the spring (including and internship)

For Full-Time Students - There is a four (4) semester MAT program that requires evening classes and day time work in the schools during an apprenticeship and an internship. The schedule is: 2 classes in the summer, 4 classes in the fall (including an internship), 4 classes in the spring (including an internship) and 2 classes in the summer.

What is the schedule of classes?

The ACT and MAT programs begin as cohort programs each June and January. Summer classes are for 5 weeks, 3 days a week, 6 hours a day.

Fall and spring semesters - classes are in the evening with field experiences, apprenticeships, internships, and employed teachers occuring during the day.

What if I don't have a job teaching?

There is a four (4) semesters MAT program for full- time day- time candidates. This program merges certification and the master's degree program into an intensive field based program Candidates are placed in schools for field experiences and student teaching.

What do ACT participants learn? 
ACT participants learn the skills and competencies essential to effective teaching in the middle and secondary school environments. Participants will learn how to manage a classroom, how to motivate and reach all students, effective teaching strategies, student characteristics and learning needs. And much more!

What are the ACT Program admissions requirements? 
As with any graduate program, the following criteria represent the minimal requirements for admission to the program. Meeting these requirements does not necessarily ensure acceptance into the ACT Program.

Potential candidates for admission:

  • must possess a bachelor's degree from an accedited college or university.
  • must have prior transcripts evaluated to determine appropriateness of course content
  • must complete necessary content courses identified by the evaluation as prerequisites to entering the ACT program
  • must have acceptable scores for admission (found in the Graduate School Catalog) on either the Miller Analogy Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • must pass the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Basic Skills (or exemption scores on the SAT or ACT).
  • must pass the GACE Content Assessments for teaching field
  • may be employed as a full-time teacher in a middle or secondary educational setting or students will be placed in public school settings for internships.
  • must have a minimum 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • must have an interview with the ACT Program Faculty.
  • must complete a diagnostic writing assessment.
  • must meet all other requirements for admission to the Valdosta State University Graduate School.

Where do I start the process?

1. Submit an application for a transcript evaluation to the Dean's Office Dewar College of Education. Current course content appropriateness for teaching in a Georgia Public School can be determined. You will receive an evaluation and have the opportunity to meet with an advisor.

2. Take and pass GACE Basic Skills Exemption (or submit exemption scores of 1000+ SAT, 43 ACT, or 1030 GRE) and GACE Content Assessment in the area in which you are seeking certification.

Is Financial Support available for the ACT Program?

The Office of Financial Aid will be able to inform you of the opportunies for grants, scholarships, and graduate assistantships.

You may also find information at the Georgia Student Finance Commission website:

Where can I get more information?

For more information about the ACT Program, go to http:///

Or, contact Mr. Scott Grubbs, ACT Program Coordinator at (229) 333-7420 or