To be a teacher at a public school in Rhode Island and other states, you need to be certified. A teaching license (certificate) is granted on completion of a State-approved teacher preparation program. RIC is one of two nationally recognized (since 1954) teacher preparation institutions in the State with a rich tradition and forward-looking faculty.
There are two kinds of programs:
Undergraduate programs at a glance
Undergraduate teacher candidates (this is how we call students who work toward a teacher license) take courses in content (Arts and Sciences), and in the school of Education (professional courses), and like all RIC students complete the general education requirement.
Eight steps to success
- A freshman with an interest in teaching as a career should declare one of Education Intended majors.
- In your freshman year, take the State-mandated basic skills test that covers your high school knowledge. There is help at OASIS if you need it. Every attempt costs money, so prepare well and pass on the first try.
- In your sophomore year, take FNED 346, Schooling in a Democratic Society, get at least a B-! The course covers the introduction to teaching profession, and has a field experience which counts toward the Community Service Learning Requirement. You need to do the BCI criminal background check to be in schools or any other setting where children are present.
- At the same time, apply for admission to the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development. Even though you may be a fully matriculated RIC student, you cannot just declare a major leading to teacher certification. This is the secondary admission process; you must meet certain requirements to be admitted.
- Immediately upon admission, develop a plan of study and discuss it with your advisor. Our programs do not have many electives, but they do have a number of strictly sequenced courses. Note, that in some programs you will have two advisors; one from FSEHD and one in content major.
- In your Junior year, and before applying to student teaching, take the PLT and content knowledge Praxis II tests.
- Apply for student teaching one semester in advance. To begin student teaching, you also have to turn in your Preparing to Teach Portfolio
- Walk the graduation commencement, apply for a license (certificate), get a great job, and do not forget your Alma Mater!
Special Education and Middle Level
If you major in Elementary Education or Secondary Education, there are two specialization areas you can add to your initial teacher certification program while you are at RIC: Special Education and Middle Level Endorsement. Special education is actually a number of different programs; adding any of them requires at least one extra semester at RIC, and sometime more. However, there are more job opportunities, and you acquire in-depth knowledge of special needs learners. The Middle Level Endorsement is four courses, and it is possible to fit it into four years, if you plan well and take some summer classes. It prepares you to work with middle school students, and could be attached to either Elementary or Secondary initial certificate.
Are there teaching jobs?
Career opportunities vary from subject to subject, and from year to year. But it is safe to say, your chances of landing a great job right away are smaller than in Nursing, but infinitely higher than in Hollywood movie industry, pro sports, or in fine arts. Read the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Outlook, be open to starting your career away from your home town, and just pursue your dreams! Most teachers are either quite happy, and a few are very miserable in their jobs; not too many are in between. The only way to find out if you have it in you is to try. Remember, there is always a change of major form, and if teaching is not for you you can graduate with a non-teaching degree.
Contact FSEHD Dean's office with all questions regarding admission to the Feinstein School, and if you have not decided which program to chose. Contact program coordinators and your advisor for more program-specific questions.