Selecting the Right Program

How To Select The Right Program For You

First, Ask Yourself Three Questions:

  1. What level do I want to focus on--birth through grade 1, grades 1-6, grades 5-12, or birth through grade 12?
  2. How specialized do I want to be--to be well prepared for a classroom teaching position, or well prepared for a literacy specialist, or multiple specialist positions?
  3. What teaching certificate(s) do I currently hold or am I eligible for?

If you have definite answers to the first two questions, and the answer to the third satisfies Certification Eligibility requirements, you already know which program you want.

Second, Consider Your Constraints:

  • You live too far away to take classes on campus, and thus can only take online courses. MS Early Childhood or MS Childhood Education are your two options.
  • You only have one kind of certification (say, initial in Childhood Ed). If you refer to the Certification Eligibility page, you will see that some programs are open to you, and some are not.
  • You have no teaching certificate.  SpEd/Literacy 67-hr or the MS in Reading programs are your only options. 
  • You want to be an elementary classroom teacher, but (a) you want to have in-depth understanding of how to teach struggling students, and (b) you want a competitive edge in a tight employment market. The MS Childhood Education will do the job, but the MS Literacy B-6 is a better choice.
  • Because of other commitments, you can only study part-time. SpEd/Literacy 40hr and SpEd/Literacy 67hr require full-time study, while all other programs are available for part-time study.

Third, Examine The Programs Closely:

Look through the program planning worksheets for each of the programs you are thinking about. You will see that the courses and course distribution requirements differ among the programs.  Some have many options, others have none. You may also wish to review the course descriptions for the courses required in those programs.  Doing your homework will help you narrow down the choices, and also prepare you for the actual courses you will be taking in your selected program.

Finally, Prepare An Application:

If you are all set, and have decided on the right program for you, then check the application deadlines and submit the online application. We strongly suggest that you get started well in advance of the application deadline. This is one of those tasks that takes longer than you think, but is well worth the effort that goes into it.