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ASU undergrads add 'teacher' to their resumes

students holding notebooks open
September 27, 2013

Teaching: it’s not just for education majors anymore.

Indeed, with signs that the United States job market may be improving, Arizona State University students have a new opportunity to make themselves even more marketable upon graduation. By completing two full-time semesters that include education coursework and student teaching in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, non-education majors can become certified to teach grades 7-12 in Arizona.

“The most important product ASU creates is a teacher,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “When our students become certified teachers, they take with them the energy and passion that comes with being a Sun Devil into their classrooms and help their own students take critical steps toward attaining their dreams. That translates to more opportunities for ASU alumni to effect positive change in our local communities and schools, and beyond.”   

The new initiative targets primarily ASU sophomores and juniors who still have time to adjust their academic program to dedicate 30 credit hours toward a Secondary Education Certificate their senior year. The 30 credit-hour requirement includes 21 credits of coursework combined with nine credits of clinical experience – both an internship and student teaching.

“Adding ‘teacher’ to my resume is important to me because it represents my intent to play a role in the development of others through education,” said senior Monica Martinez, a double-major in psychology and biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “I believe adding the Secondary Education Certificate to my degree will exemplify my commitment to learning and strengthen my role as a leader.”

Information sessions are scheduled for 1:30 to 3 p.m., Oct. 1, and 3 to 4:30 p.m., Oct. 8. Both sessions will be at Changemaker Central in the Memorial Union on Tempe campus. Interested students should attend one of the sessions or contact a Teachers College advisor at (480) 965-5555 or

“Our goal is to have 800 ASU graduates be certified to teach in middle school and high school by 2015,” said Teachers College senior assistant dean Hilary Pierce. “Currently, we have about 200 non-education majors enrolled in the the Secondary Education Certificate program.

“By expanding the program this fall, we are making certification a possibility for even more undergraduate students in a variety of majors. It’s an especially good fit for students who completed much of their coursework before they even started at ASU – either through dual enrollment or AP testing.”   

To be eligible for the certificate, students need to be enrolled at ASU as an undergraduate degree-seeking student and have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA. They also need to have most of their major coursework completed before enrolling in the certificate program. Details are available at

Non-education majors also must complete two requirements before being admitted to the Secondary Education Certificate program. First, they need to receive a passing score on the appropriate Arizona Educator Exam that demonstrates knowledge proficiency in the area they plan to teach. Exams are available in several content areas, including biology, business, chemistry, Chinese (Mandarin), earth and space science, economics, English, French, general science, geography, German, history, mathematics, physics, political science and Spanish. A complete listing of content areas is available at

Second, students applying to the certificate program need to obtain a valid Arizona IVP fingerprint clearance card issued by the Arizona Department of Public Safety. It can take from six to eight weeks to obtain a card, so it is important for applicants to plan ahead. Fingerprinting locations are available at

Once students have passed their Arizona subject knowledge exam and are in possession of a valid Arizona IVP DPS fingerprint card, they need to meet with a Teachers College advisor to submit their paperwork for starting the program. This form should be completed the semester prior to enrollment. Upcoming deadlines are Oct. 1 for a spring 2014 start and March 1 for a fall 2014 start.

After students' transcripts, test scores and fingerprint cards have been reviewed, candidates will be invited to an enrollment workshop, which is a pre-requisite to course registration. At the workshop, students will receive details about course and internship requirements.

ASU junior Sophean Soeun said the Secondary Education Certificate is allowing her to change career paths without starting over. She is majoring in English (creative writing) and would like to teach English.

“The best thing about the certificate is that it gives students the opportunity of becoming certified to teach in a subject area without having to start over in a new degree,” she explained. “This is what interested me the most because it’s not that I dislike being a creative writing major, but it’s that I took up a new interest in wanting to implement creative writing into English curricula in schools.”