Alternate Route Preparation: Ohio

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy


The state should ensure that its alternate routes provide streamlined preparation that is relevant to the immediate needs of new teachers.

Meets goal in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Alternate Route Preparation: Ohio results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Ohio's policies

Ohio does not ensure that its alternate route candidates will receive streamlined preparation that meets the immediate needs of new teachers.

Alternate route candidates participate in the Intensive Pedagogical Training Institute (IPTI) or an intensive summer training program approved by the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. The state has not provided guidelines for the intensive summer training preparation programs.

ITPI is self-paced, although participants must complete three modules within the first six months of enrollment. Information included in the modules focuses on student development and learning, pupil assessment procedures, curriculum development, classroom management and teaching methodology.

Candidates must also complete 12 semester hours of college coursework within the fours years teaching under the Alternative Resident Educator License. Under new legislation, this requirement can also be met by professional development work provided by a teacher preparation program or a regional Educational Service Center.

Candidates are required to complete 15 hours of field experience prior to entering the classroom. IPTI requires that applicants arrange their own student teaching experiences and notes that candidates must have flexibility in their schedules to fulfill this requirement.

All new teachers are assigned a district mentor.

Upon IPTI completion, candidates qualify for the Alternative Resident Educator License. After four years of successful teaching, teachers are eligible for the professional license.


Recommendations for Ohio

Establish coursework guidelines for alternate route preparation programs.
Simply mandating coursework without specifying the purpose can inadvertently send the wrong message to program providers—that "anything goes" as long as credits are granted. However constructive, any course that is not fundamentally practical and immediately necessary should be eliminated as a requirement. Appropriate coursework should include grade-level or subject-level seminars, methodology in the content area, classroom management, assessment and scientifically based early reading instruction. 

Ensure program completion in less than two years.
Ohio should consider shortening the length of time it takes an alternate route teacher to earn standard certification. The route should allow candidates to earn full certification no later than the end of the second year of teaching.

Strengthen the induction experience for new teachers.
While Ohio is commended for requiring all new teachers to work with a mentor, there are insufficient guidelines indicating that the mentoring program is structured for new teacher success. Further, other strategies, such as having candidates arrange their own practice teaching opportunities, are of questionable value. Effective induction strategies include practice teaching prior to teaching in the classroom, intensive mentoring with full classroom support in the first few weeks or months of school, a reduced teaching load and release time to allow new teachers to observe experienced teachers during each school day.  

State response to our analysis

Ohio was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. Ohio also contended that legislative changes that the state has made resulted in a more streamlined preparation that is geared to the immediate needs of new teachers. The state explained that Ohio has a "four year teacher residency program for both traditionally and alternatively licensed teachers and that they are in the same program, which cannot be completed in two years."

Additionally, Ohio noted that the state does not include practice teaching in its program because "that is a concept associated with traditional preparation."  Further, Ohio asserted that "there are clear and rigorous requirements for the residency programs in terms of mentoring and mentoring qualifications."

Last word

NCTQ agrees that student teaching is a concept associated with traditional preparation programs.  However, it is beneficial when alternate route teacher have some exposure to the classroom before becoming teacher of record.  When this is not possible, a strong induction program is a reasonable compromise.  While it is clear that the state has developed standards for mentoring, Ohio should consider expanding its requirements to ensure that alternate route teachers receive the intensive support they need. 

Research rationale

For a general, quantitative review of the research supporting the need for states to offer an alternate route license, and why alternate routes should not be treated as programs of "last resort," one need simply to look at the numbers of uncertified and out of field teachers in classrooms today, readily available from the National Center for Education Statistics. In addition, with U.S. schools facing the need to hire more than 3.5 million new teachers each year, the need for alternate routes to certification cannot be underestimated. See also Ducharme, E. R. & Ducharme, M. K. (1998). "Quantity and quality: Not enough to go around." Journal of Teacher Education, 49(3), 163-164.

Further, scientific and market research demonstrates that there is a willing and able pool of candidates for alternate certification programs—and many of these individuals are highly educated and intelligent. In fact, the nationally respected polling firm, The Tarrance Group, recently conducted a scientific poll in the State of Florida, identifying that more than 20 percent of Floridians would consider changing careers to become teachers through alternate routes to certification.

We base our argument that alternative-route teachers should be able to earn full licensure after two years on research indicating that teacher effectiveness does not improve dramatically after the third year of teaching. One study (frequently cited on both sides of the alternate route debate) identified that after three years, traditional and alternatively-certified teachers demonstrate the same level of effectiveness, see Miller, J. W., McKenna, M. C., & McKenna, B. A. (1998). Nontraditional teacher preparation: A comparison of alternatively and traditionally prepared teachers. Journal of Teacher Education, 49(3), 165-176. This finding is supported by D. Boyd,  D. Goldhaber,  H. Lankford, and J. Wyckoff, "The Effect of Certification and Preparation on Teacher Quality." The Future of Children (2007): 45-68. 

Project MUSE (, found that student achievement was similar for alternatively-certified teachers as long as the program they came from was "highly selective."

The need for a cap on education coursework and the need for intensive mentoring are also backed by research, as well as common sense. In 2004, Education Commission of the States reviewed more than 150 empirical studies and determined that there is evidence "for the claim that assistance for new teachers, and, in particular, mentoring [have] a positive impact on teachers and their retention." The 2006 MetLife Survey of the American Teacher validates these conclusions. In addition, Mathematica (2009) found that student achievement suffers when alternate route teachers are required to take excessive amounts of coursework. See An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification at:

See also Alternative Certification Isn't Alternative (NCTQ, 2007) at: