Alternative Teacher Certification, Effectiveness of Alternative Certification Programs, Principals' Perspective


Alternative Certification Programs (ACPs) have been established in 47 states across the country, including Florida, to help alleviate the teacher shortage many public school districts have been experiencing during the last two decades. This teacher shortage has been reported to be more prevalent in areas where fully qualified and committed teachers are most needed. Current literature has identified areas such as inner-city schools, at-risk and minority students, bilingual education, math and physical sciences, and the special education field as the educational areas where the shortage is most significant. Faced with this dilemma, states have instituted ACPs as unconventional ways to attract and recruit potential teacher candidates from professional fields outside the profession of education and assist them in becoming fully certified and highly qualified teachers. The objective of any ACP is to provide an alternate way for an interested professional to become a teacher without going back to a college or university. Therefore, any ACP functions as a supplement to traditional college education programs in preparing prospective teacher candidates. The focus of this study is the Alternative Certification Programs established by the public school districts in the state of Florida as required by state statutes. It was designed to assess the effectiveness of such programs based on the perspectives, attitudes, and perceptions that selected public school principals have on these programs and on alternatively certified teachers. These principals were identified and selected by their respective school districts. A questionnaire, created in part by the researcher, was used to identify the perspectives, attitudes, and perceptions public school principals have on ACPs and alternatively certified teachers. Data on the different ACPs were collected directly from the different public school districts and from Internet Web sites established by the districts. The researcher contacted 67 Florida public school districts requesting information on their respective ACPs and asked them to select and identify three school principals who had experience with alternatively certified teachers to participate in a survey concerning their attitudes, perceptions, and perspectives about alternatively certified teachers and the alternative certification programs. The researcher asked that the three principals be selected one each from the grade levels of elementary, middle, and high school. Findings indicated that the alternative certification programs throughout the State of Florida are producing highly qualified teachers whose overall performance has been rated as equal to or better than that of newly hired traditionally certified teacher. These findings are based on the responses provided by the principals who completed and returned the 20-item questionnaire and on other existing literature and data on the state's alternative certification program. The overall impression from the principals' responses is that they are satisfied with the quality work and performance of their alternatively certified teachers.


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Graduation Date





Murray, Kenneth


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership

Degree Program

Educational Leadership








Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)