Certification in Childhood or Adolescence
Extensions: Special Education, Middle School, Early Childhood
Think of your favorite teachers and how they impacted your life. Chances are, you thought of these educators because they inspired your love for a particular subject or went the extra mile to challenge you to expand your mind and believe in yourself.
Now, imagine being that same person to someone else.
At the Mount, we recognize that teaching isn’t just another job: it’s a calling and a big responsibility. We’re ready to help you spark knowledge in your future students by preparing you to be the best educator you can be.
Why study Education at the Mount?
Here's what makes the Mount's Education program unique:
- Know your stuff: Whether you want to teach at an elementary school or a specific subject at the middle or high school level, you have to know both how to teach and the subjects you’ll be teaching. At the Mount, you’ll pair your Education certification with a major in Biology, Chemistry, English, General Science (Childhood only), Hispanic Studies (Childhood only), History, Information Technology (Childhood only), Mathematics, or Social Sciences (Childhood only). By the end of your college experience, you could graduate with two certifications and a major in a content area, ready to confidently lead your own classroom!
- Teachers teaching teachers: Who’s the best person to learn teaching from? A teacher, of course! Our professors have taught the very subject and level you want to teach, so who better to learn from than someone who’s been there (and who is also super nice, supportive, and encouraging as well)?
- Real world resources: There are so many resources right here on campus to practice your skills outside the classroom - an on-campus K-8 school, Mount-led literacy programs at local community centers, an active Education honor society, and a dedicated curriculum library on campus.
- Start teaching right away: Don’t start teaching three years from now; start now! Our Education students start fieldwork (opportunities to practice teaching in real classrooms) in their freshman year. Find out right away if this is the path for you!
With a certification in Childhood Education, you’ll be prepared to teach in classrooms for grades 1-6. In classes for this certification, we pay special attention to play and literacy-based educational methods to enhance learning.
With a certification in Adolescence Education, you’ll be prepared to teach in classrooms for grades 7-12. In classes for this certification, we focus on adolescent development as well as offering specific courses on how to teach the specific content area you choose. Augmented by your classes within the major, this focus will allow you to take what you’ve learned and be able to teach it to others.
Working with children with special needs is a calling within a calling, and we applaud your dedication in wanting to work with this audience. By declaring a dual certification in Special Education along with your Childhood or Adolescence Education certification, you’ll be certified as Adolescence Generalists for Teaching Students with Disabilities in grades 7-12.
As part of the Special Education curriculum, your coursework would include classes on working with students with a variety of disabilities, including autism, emotional disturbance, intellectual disability, learning disability, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, traumatic brain injury, or multiple disabilities.
In order to be certified, students must have completed six hours of study in college level courses in each of four areas: English, Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science (including at least 3 credits of lab science). Most of these are built into the core curriculum for all students, but New York State requires these courses be completed even if they are not met through core.
Extending your certification to teach middle school is a fantastic option. Through this extension program, you’ll also be certified to teach Grades 5 and 6 on top of Grades 7-12 in Adolescence or Grades 7-9 on top of Grades 1-6 in Childhood.
Courses for the Middle School Extension are taken at the conclusion of all other certification requirements, including student teaching.
If you have a heart for working with young children, you may want to consider an additional certification in Early Childhood Education, which focuses on skills needed for birth-Grade 2.
The Mount’s Education programs earned accreditation by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and by the following professional agencies: Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI), International Reading Association (IRA), National Council of Social Studies (NCSS), National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Learn more about our accreditation here.
What to expect as an Education student
You’ll start your Education journey by taking a series of proficiency tests in freshman year. In order to move on in the program, you’ll need a score of 85% or higher on each exam. Then, you’ll take ED 2051, Orientation to Teaching, your first experience of an education class and fieldwork!
After passing that class, you’ll begin taking higher-level courses in both your major and Education certification. These classes will teach you practical skills like lesson planning, working with students with special needs, educational development and theory, and more, while also giving you numerous opportunities to practice co-teaching. Throughout, you must maintain an overall 2.75 GPA and receive a C+ or better in all certification courses (which can only be repeated once).
As you continue to take classes, you’ll also participate in fieldwork, working towards a total of 100 hours (150 for dual certification in special education).
In your final year, you’ll be a student teacher, spending an entire semester as a teacher in two area classrooms. You’ll keep an online portfolio of your experiences, known as the edTPA. Prior to student teaching, you will be required to have completed all of your coursework for both the certification and your major (content area) and pass the New York State Liberal Arts and Science Test (LAST).
Upon completing student teaching, you’ll be recommended for certification to NYS.
Sound like a lot? It is a lot of hard work, but take a deep breath: It’s worth it, and you won’t be alone. Our amazing Education professors and staff are ready to walk you through every step of this journey.
Be prepared for your future
Upon graduating and completing the requirements to become certified as an educator in New York State, you’ll be ready to teach!
The Mount has close connections with school districts in the Hudson Valley, which provide numerous opportunities for students to experience fieldwork and student teaching as well as potential job opportunities. Our reputation for training future teachers is widespread, so much so that our professors often get calls from area districts when they have openings, specifically looking to hire Mount education alumni!
Majoring in a content area provides additional job opportunities within that field, and a background in education is useful for careers in educational consulting, museums and nonprofits, college and university administration, educational publishing, and more.
Here's how some of our Education alumni are using their degrees:
- Debra Calvino ’81, Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Testing at Valley Central School and New York State Teacher of the Year 2010
- Nancy Benfer ’04, Principal of Bishop Dunn Memorial School
- Christina Antico ’17, NYC School District
Learn more about some of our Education initiatives, all of which our students are encouraged to participate in!
Research and outreach on the importance of literacy in education
Research and promotion of psychological, social, cultural, educational, and health-related issues affecting adolescents and young adults
Promotion of the teaching profession to traditionally underrepresented students
The Mount's Education honor society, which has won national awards for programming
A K-8 school located on the MSMC campus