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The school year began last month, but schools in Arizona still need more than 2,000 teachers, according to recent data.

However, new rules were recently implemented to provide a solution by reopening alternative teacher certification programs. Such programs provide potential teachers with resources and training to make sure they are proficient and prepared educators.

“I always wanted to be a teacher. I knew I wanted to be one before I even finished my degree [in social work],” said Arizona resident Shantel Tiner.

Tiner began researching alternative teacher certification options for Arizona and discovered American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence. The national nonprofit provides an online, self-paced path to teacher certification and reopened enrollment to future Arizona teachers on September 20.

“American Board was the best match because I could study from home and my son was in preschool at the time. American Board gave me the knowledge I needed,” Tiner said.

American Board recruits career changers who live in communities suffering from the teacher shortage instead of hoping outsiders will move to these areas.

Principals report American Board certified teachers perform better than or equivalent to traditionally trained teachers across 95 percent of 20 teacher qualities measured, according to a recent Drexel University study.

“I had been a stay at home mom for about 16 years. I decided I was ready to get back in the work force, but that can be hard when you haven’t been working for a long time,” said Arizona resident Sheryl Beskind. “The first job I got was in the Special Education Department [at a local school] and I realized immediately that’s where I wanted to be. I learned about the American Board and realized I could be employed while going back to school. It was the program that fit me best!”

American Board helps individuals with a bachelor’s degree prepare for two exams to demonstrate their proficiency in pedagogy skills and subject area knowledge. The teachers then complete classroom observations and further training.

Multiple events will be held in the Phoenix area and Tucson to provide potential educators with information on how they can start earning teacher certification. The events will take place:

To learn how American Board helps qualified individuals become certified teachers in Arizona, click here.

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