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Alternate Route Program Types

Selecting a Program: Overview of the Alternate Route
From the Mississippi Department of Education website.

  • Teach Mississippi Institute (TMI) – This is the category that contains the TMI Online program.
  • Master of Arts in Teaching Alternate Route (MAT) – Twelve programs, each overseen by its offering university.
  • American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) – One program, though it requires additional third-party interaction with a MAT program or other.

Completing an Alternate Route program is a required step for an individual who holds a bachelor's degree (non-education) and would like to transition into teaching but lacks the certification or license. Currently there are three methods to obtaining certification through the Alternate Route. The Alternate Route Teacher programs are listed above.

These are the steps you need to take for alternate route certification:

  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.
  2. All programs require testing:
    • Twenty-one (21) ACT equivalent or achieve the nationally recommended passing score on the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (hereafter Praxis Core) examination
    • Praxis Subject Assessment in the area you want to teach
    • Each program offers specific subject areas
  3. You need to choose an alternate route program. Many candidates choose a program based on these criteria:
    • geographical location of the program
    • subject areas offered
    • cost and time commitment
    • internship requirements
    • grade level
    • your personal academic skills and professional background
  4. Once you have successfully completed your testing you must enroll in an alternate route program and complete the training and coursework required. You will then be ready to apply for your initial alternate license by submitting to the Office of Educator Licensure a completed licensure application, an official transcript showing a bachelor’s degree (non-education), your original Praxis scores, and proof of alternate route enrollment.
  5. The internship is your first full year of teaching at a Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) accredited school (in TMI, that is concurrent with your enrollment in TMI 2). Mentoring will be provided during the internship. You will be paid based on your bachelor's degree status as a third-year teacher. The license held during the internship is provisional (good only in Mississippi and is non-renewable).
  6. Upon completion of the internship, you are ready to apply for your five-year standard teaching license.
    Note: There is no alternate route for Elementary Education for grades 1-3. You must complete an approved bachelor’s program in Elementary Education K-3 to earn that endorsement on a license.
Teach Mississippi Institute (TMI)– This is the category that contains the TMI Online program. Two additional unrelated programs in the state also use the name.

All Alternate Route program types have the following requirements:

  • Testing
  • Training program or coursework
  • Teaching internship
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.

Selecting a Program: Overview of TMI
Teach Mississippi Institute (TMI) is an MDE-accredited alternate route program for college graduates seeking certification to teach in Mississippi (a full list of subject areas and grade levels is included in the Testing Requirements section). It is broken into two components, TMI 1 and TMI 2, both of which are taught online. TMI requires some comfort with online learning as well as self-motivation and inquisitiveness

Available subjects and grade levels:

  • TMI 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 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 cannot accept the 4-6 Elementary Education Praxis Subject Assessment. Only MAT programs may accept this Praxis.
  • 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 supplemental endorsements to a teacher license, visit:

Required exams for licensure:

  • To complete TMI 1 and receive a recommendation for a license also requires a Praxis Subject Assessment (formerly Praxis II) in a subject area you want to teach –OR– enough college hours to meet the endorsement requirement in one of the available subject areas. Only certain Praxis Subject Assessments may be accepted by each alternate route program in order to secure a license for a candidate.  The list for TMI Online along with the specific score requirements for each exam can be found in the Testing Requirements section. 

Geographical, financial, and time commitments

  • TMI 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 (one in Oxford, one in Raymond, both events are on Saturdays).
  • 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 1 is $1,060 and TMI 2 is $1,500 (textbook and 180 day eText access to the textbooks included in this amount).
  • TMI 1 (TMI 1) is not the shortest initial license program in the state.  However, 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 than with other programs.  You should be prepared to commit 6 to 8 hours per week to TMI.

Internship requirements

  • All alternate route programs require an internship. In TMI, the internship is associated with the full-time job you must secure in order to enroll in TMI 2. Any MDE-accredited public or private school is allowed (no limit on distance from UM campus). You must teach a full academic year at an MDE accredited school in order to be eligible for the standard, renewable license.

Salary information

  • The salary scale is available at:
  • Once you have received your five-year standard license, higher 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. 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.
  • Additionally, upon obtaining the standard, five-year license through TMI, you will be eligible for a bonus year of experience on your pay.

You should apply if you have:

  • earned a bachelor's degree in a non-education area from a nationally/regionally accredited institution of higher learning (or are entering your final semester), and
  • possess extensive knowledge of art, biology, chemistry, Chinese, economics, English, family & consumer sciences, French, German, health, Latin, library/media, marketing, mathematics, music, physical education, physics, mathematics, social studies, Spanish, speech communications, or special education, and
  • want a secure and rewarding career that will impact hundreds of lives,

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