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It’s been nearly two years since the U.S. Department of Labor approved the first registered teacher apprenticeship program between Tennessee’s Clarksville-Montgomery County School System and Austin Peay State University.
Now, 26 states plus Puerto Rico have their own registered teaching apprenticeship programs, according to New America, a think tank that covers education and other public policy issues.
Though the details of these apprenticeships can vary by state, the model essentially pays for a prospective teacher — whether a high school student, community member or paraprofessional — to receive mentoring as they go through in-classroom training along with coursework to earn a teaching degree and license.
New America also found that registered teacher apprenticeships are under development in five other states plus Washington, D.C.
Teacher apprenticeships have “the potential to transform teacher preparation in a number of positive ways and at the very least will challenge the status quo,” New America wrote. The model, the organization added, can improve access and create incentives for people to enter the teaching profession.
Despite the programs' popularity and the federal and state funding flowing into them, it’s still too soon to see if they'll succeed in mitigating nationwide teacher shortages.
Nonetheless, David Donaldson, founder and managing partner of the National Center for Grow Your Own, said he expects the number of state registered teacher apprenticeship programs to only continue growing.
Attention and funding from federal officials are helping drive the conversation around these long-term initiatives. For instance, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Labor Department in July jointly announced national guidelines and millions in federal funding for registered teaching apprenticeship programs.
As a result of this investment, as well as state initiatives, Donaldson projected that rising enrollment in educator preparation programs will “take off” starting in the 2024-25 school year.
The model has since expanded to include principals, too, with the Labor Department’s approval of North Dakota as the first state to have a registered principal apprenticeship program in July.
Here are key numbers that provide a snapshot of the landscape for registered teacher apprenticeship programs nationwide.