The length of time it takes to actually get your alternative teaching certificate is going to be the combination of your coursework and preparation time, online or otherwise, combined with the in-classroom teaching time in a brick and mortar school.
The time it takes to do the coursework section can vary depending on the state, the program, or as is often the case with online courses that can be done at your own pace, your own schedule and desire to complete the coursework quickly. As a general rule of thumb, count on a year or less. But again, if you choose to do an online course that allows you to go at your own pace, this part is really up to you.
After completing the coursework section of your alternative teaching certification, it’s on to the in-classroom teaching portion. This part is likely to consist of an entire academic year or less, during which you might be paid, but also supervised and mentored on your way to becoming a more effective teacher.
In Hawai’i, for example, core curriculum is typically 360 hours (12 weeks) of content, followed by a 450 hour (12 week) clinical placement, Hawaiian History, Culture and Language training (10 hours online) and any required Praxis and edTPA assessments. While it is possible for students to complete TCP in as little as 6 months, 9 months is the norm. In line with state standards, a new teacher can then apply for an emergency hire, provisional or standard license.
So, despite variables like differences in state certification policies and the time one’s personal schedule allows one to put into the coursework component, in most scenarios you’ll be looking at full certification in 2 years or less.
Wondering how much it costs to complete a teacher certification program? Check out this article.