NOTE: Georgia Tech (Tech) does not have a certification program and is not a Georgia educator preparation program provider. Pre-Teaching at Georgia Tech provides many opportunities to explore teaching before graduating or when considering a career change. Information regarding certification on this page is specific to Georgia. Each state has its own set of certification requirements. Consult the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GPSC) for full details related to your situation and certification in Georgia.
Traditional and non-traditional (alternate) routes
The state of Georgia has different routes for obtaining teacher certification, and the route you take depends on various factors. The two main routes are traditional and alternate (non-traditional), which both lead to a professional (full) certificate. You must hold an induction certificate for three years before acquiring a professional certificate no matter the route you pick and even if you complete the certification requirements in less than three years. Educator preparation programs must be approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GPSC).
What is an alternate route?
Alternate (non-traditional) certification means you meet basic certification requirements and then complete the additional requirements while teaching (“earn and learn”). Unlike traditional route programs, you cannot be in an alternate program without first securing a teaching job as a teacher of record, i.e. your name is on the door. You can apply for and be accepted into an alternate certification program before having a contract for a teaching job in the field and at the level you want to become certified in, but you cannot actually start a program until you have a contract in hand. Different programs have different rules regarding how much time you have between acceptance and getting a job offer (some are up to one year). You may also be required to take a pre-requisite course in the summer about the essentials of teaching (behavior management, etc.) that does not count towards state certification but is required before you start the alternate program and before you start teaching.
An alternate route is typically your best option if you are seeking to switch careers or you graduated with a degree in or closely related to a field of teaching but do not have certification and do not want to or are unable to go back to school. Alternate routes are not shortcuts, and you must satisfy the same certification requirements as anyone who follows a traditional route does. Alternate route programs do not include a degree, only certification.
What is a TAPP/GTAPP program?
The Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy (TAPP or GaTAPP) is a collection of alternate certification programs across Georgia for individuals who have not had and do not have teacher certification and who have no prior teaching experience. The “Academy” is not a single brick and mortar building, and not all TAPP programs have the term TAPP in the title. TAPP programs support new teachers in public and private schools in Georgia who have a content degree but do not have a teaching certificate. You must have a contract as a teacher of record (not as a paraprofessional or teaching assistant and often only full-time) to qualify for a TAPP program and must maintain employment as a teacher of record while completing the TAPP requirements. TAPP programs are structured so that you go to class and meetings after school. A TAPP program is also called Pathway 4 by the GPSC.
Who offers alternate route certification programs?
Sixteen Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESAs) provide the majority of the TAPP programs in Georgia. The RESAs serve teachers from multiple counties within a geographic region. TAPP programs are not free, and candidates, not employers, generally pay the fees. Fees vary in cost from $3,000 - $6,000 for a two-year program depending on the region. In metro Atlanta, the counties of Clayton, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett currently have internal subsidized TAPP programs for their specific employees that range in cost from about $2,000 - $3,500. Specific requirements and guidelines vary from county to county. Click here for a directory of Georgia RESAs and their member counties.
What qualifications do I need for an alternate certification program?
Initial qualifications to apply for a TAPP program:
- minimum of a bachelor's degree in the chosen teaching field (or degree closely related to the field)
- minimum undergraduate cumulutive GPA of 2.5 from an accredited, GPSC-accepted degree granting institution (no combination of GPAs) if your degree is less than 10 years old. If you do not have at least a 2.5, and you receive acceptance into a state-approved certification program, you meet the GPA requirement. Particular certification programs may have higher GPA requirements.
- Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE)
- have not completed student teaching
- have not held a professional teaching certificate in any state
Basic requirements to begin a TAPP program (not a complete list)
- contract to be teacher of record (usually full-time); cannot be an assistant or paraprofessional
- begin teaching in content area in which seek certification
- complete a pre-requisite course during the summer
Basic requirements to complete a TAPP program (not a complete list)
- maintain full-time (usually) teaching job as teacher of record in the field in which you seek certification
- complete all education coursework in pedagogy, methodologies, etc.
- pass the edTPA
- pass the GACE Educator Ethics Program Exit
- have Teacher Keys Effectiveness System evaluations that meet certification requirements
- additional requirements of the GPSC and of the particular TAPP program as deemed necessary
TAPP programs take about two years to complete, but you must remain in the induction certificate phase for three years even if you complete the program prior to that time.
What is the general progression of steps for alternate certification?
Each RESA has specific policies related to applications, deadlines, GACE scores, and teaching contracts. Anyone applying to a particular RESA must follow that RESA's guidelines.