Accelerated Master in Education Program at Aquinas College Seeks to Address Michigan Teacher Shortage

In a December 2021 letter to state representatives, Michigan State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice noted that the current teacher shortage is “the single greatest issue facing Michigan schools and school children.” To address this urgent need, Aquinas College is offering an Accelerated Master in Education (AME) program. Applications for the AME program are currently being accepted. The deadline to apply is April 4.

Aquinas’ innovative program was developed to address the growing need of school districts to find qualified teachers and to support adults who have the appropriate skill set and experience to quickly enter the teaching profession.

“The AME program is ideally suited for paraprofessionals, individuals on temporary/emergency permits or long-term substitute teachers,” said Dr. Susan English, Dean of Aquinas College’s School of Education. “Traditional programs require individuals to step out of the workforce, but this program allows participants to secure a paid position in the education field while completing coursework and clinical hours. We are especially eager to recruit and prepare under-represented candidates into the field.”

This unique program is conducted in partnership with local school districts so that individuals who qualify and hold a bachelor’s degree will be able to complete their initial teacher certification course work and clinical requirements in fewer than 18 months. Courses meet on Monday evenings, Saturday mornings and online. Although intense, the program follows a cohort model which offers extensive support from faculty, AME peers and school district personnel.

According to Education Briefing Papers from February 9, 2022, “From 2014 to 2020, the number of students enrolling and completing educator preparation programs decreased by over 11,100. In addition, the difficulty of the teaching profession has led to increases in the number of people leaving the education workforce for other opportunities. These factors, coupled with an increase in the number of retirement‐eligible workers, has left Michigan in dire need of bringing new educators to the teaching profession and retaining the ones already in it.”

Since the AME program launched in 2019, feedback from program completers and PK-12 schools has been overwhelmingly positive. AME participants praise the program’s quality and support, applauding its flexibility and responsiveness to participants’ situations.

“I love how the program supported working full time. Since I was in the field, I could draw more connections to contribute to class discussions,” said Rachel Esser, an AME program completer.

Learn more about the AME program at Aquinas College here or call (616) 632-2800. There is no application fee for this program. Applications are available online here.