Alternate Route Program Types
The following is adapted from the Alternate Route section of the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) website, accessible at: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/OEL/ARP
The Alternate Route is for prospective teachers with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university in a non-teacher education field. Currently there are four alternate route program types to obtaining certification in Mississippi:
- Teach Mississippi Institute (TMI) – Three programs, each unrelated to the others, (this is the category that contains the TMI Online program)
- Master of Arts in Teaching Alternate Route (MAT) – Twelve programs, each unrelated to the others
- Mississippi Alternate Path to Quality Teachers (MAPQT) – One program, operating at five different community college venues in the state
- American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) – One program, though it requires additional third-party interaction with MAT, MAPQT, or others
All three programs have the following components:
- Training program or coursework
- Teaching internship
To select the best alternate route certification program to fit your situation:
1. Decide what subject and age level you want to teach. This decision will help you choose which alternate route program will work for you.
- TMI Online accepts all K-12 Praxis Subject Assessments approved for initial Alternate Route certification: art, Chinese, French, German, health, Latin, library/media, music, physical education, Spanish, and special education.
- TMI Online accepts all 7-12 Praxis Subject Assessments approved for initial Alternate Route certification: biology, business education, chemistry, economics, English, family and consumer science, marketing education, mathematics, physics, social studies, and speech communications.
- TMI Online cannot accept the 4-6 Elementary Education Praxis Subject Assessment. Only MAT programs may accept this Praxis.
2. Familiarize yourself with testing requirements. All alternate route programs require testing.
- TMI Online requires a passing score on the Praxis Core examination -or- an ACT composite score of 21 (all sub-scores must be 18 or higher; SAT equivalent acceptable). See Testing Requirements section for specific score requirements.
- TMI Online requires a Praxis Subject Assessment (formerly Praxis II) in a subject area you want to teach. Only certain Praxis Subject Assessments may be accepted by each alternate route program in order to secure a license for a candidate. The TMI list is above in No. 1. The full list along with the specific score requirements for each exam can be found in the Testing Requirements section.
3. Narrow your list to one alternate route program. Many candidates choose a program based on the following criteria:
- Testing requirements
- While all alternate route programs require passing scores on the Praxis Core (or ACT) and Praxis Subject Assessment (formerly Praxis II), the point at which these scores are required varies. TMI Online will conditionally admit a candidate without passing Praxis scores once. This means you can be enrolled in TMI 1, though you can’t complete TMI 1 and obtain a license without passing scores on the referenced exams. A candidate who does not provide passing scores within a preset time period after completing coursework will fail the program and is not allowed back in until all exams are completed at which point TMI 1 coursework must be repeated.
- Geographical location of the program
- TMI Online coursework is done online; field experience is done at a nearby school you select. Only the live seminars, two in each component, require travel to specific locations on specific days.
- Subject areas offered
- TMI Online offers all subjects approved for initial licensure through the alternate route except for the 4-6 elementary that is only available through certain MAT programs.
- Cost and time commitment
- TMI Online is about 20 percent of the cost of the least expensive MAT program; it is a non-credit certification program so there are no graduate courses for which you will pay tuition.
- TMI Online Component 1 (TMI 1) is not the shortest initial license program in the state, but since two terms of each component are offered each year, it is possible to complete both components and secure the standard, renewable license more quickly with TMI Online than with any other program.
- Internship requirements
- All alternate route programs require an internship. In TMI Online, the internship is associated with the full-time job you must secure in order to enroll in TMI Online Component 2 (TMI 2). Any MDE-accredited public or private school is allowed (no limit on distance from UM campus).
- Grade level
- TMI Online certifies candidates in both K-12 and 7-12 subject areas. Additional endorsements can be added to both the three-year license received after TMI 1 and the standard five-year license received after TMI 2. For more information on adding supplemental endorsements to a teacher license, visit: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/OEL/SE.
- Your personal academic skills and professional background
- TMI Online is composed of two online courses (TMI 1 and TMI 2) which require some comfort with online learning and motivation to meet deadlines.
Once testing and the training/coursework required by your alternate route program is complete, you may apply for an initial alternate license to seek full-time employment as a teacher and to complete the internship. Submit to the Office of Educator Licensure a completed licensure application (cannot be submitted until an alternate route program submits a recommendation), sealed transcript showing degree, and your original Praxis scores (MDE is copied on all Praxis Exams taken in Mississippi).
The internship is your first year of teaching. Mentoring will be provided during the internship. You will be paid as a first-year teacher with a bachelor's degree regardless of the highest-level degree you have completed. You will enroll in the second component of your alternate route program during the internship period. It is possible to delay enrollment in the second component since the initial license is good for three years. However, while you are on the three-year, non-renewable license, you are not eligible for additional pay for higher degrees (master’s, specialist, and doctorate).
Upon completion of the internship and second component of your alternate route program, you are ready to apply for your five-year standard teaching license. Submit to the Office of Educator Licensure a completed licensure application (cannot be submitted until an alternate route program submits a recommendation) and proof of internship completion.
Once you have received your five-year standard license, higher-level degrees will be recognized (master’s degree = AA pay, specialist = AAA pay, doctorate = AAAA pay). You are also allowed to begin moving up the salary scale. Each year of teaching experience increases your salary. Moreover, upon obtaining the standard, five-year license through the TMI Online program (by completing both TMI 1 and TMI 2), you will be eligible for a bonus year of experience on your pay. In other words, if you taught a full year on the line 0, first-year teacher rate, the next year you will be compensated at line 2, skipping over line 1. Additionally, at this point your district has the option of accepting previous teaching experience, in-state or out-of-state, public or non-public, when setting your position on the salary scale. A copy of the salary scale is available at: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/OSFS/TSS.