Middle Georgia State University (MGA) is introducing a way for currently working school paraprofessionals to earn their bachelor’s degrees and become certified teachers.
The online/weekend track to the Bachelor of Science in Elementary/Special Education begins this summer. MGA’s Department of Teacher Education and Social Work developed the track specifically for working P-5 paraprofessionals.
“We think this pathway to degree completion and certification will appeal to paraprofessionals because they can keep their jobs while they are in the program,” said Molly Kimsey, the department’s alternative track coordinator. “School districts with teacher shortages will benefit from this ‘grow your own’ opportunity. Paraprofessionals who become certified teachers can fill vacancies.”
Kimsey said students will be able to complete the majority of the coursework online over two years. Summer 2020 classes, all fully online, begin May 28. The weekend face-to-face meetings will begin this fall on the Macon Campus if in-person classes have resumed by then. With the permission of their principals, paraprofessionals can fulfill field/clinical requirements at the schools where they work.
In addition to this new path for paraprofessionals, the department offers other alternate paths to teacher certification.