Alternative Routes


NOTE:  Georgia Tech (Tech) Pre-Teaching is not a certification program nor  a Georgia educator preparation program provider. We connect students and alumni interested in teaching with opportunities to explore the profession as well as provide support for those seeking positions.  

Information regarding certification on this page is specific to Georgia.  Each state has its own set of certification requirements. Consult the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GPSC) for full details related to your situation and certification in Georgia. 

Traditional and non-traditional (alternative) routes

  • Georgia has different routes for teacher certification. The route you take depends on various factors.
  • Traditional and alternative (non-traditional) routes both lead to professional (full) certification.
  • You must have three years of successful teaching in the classroom as measured by standardized performace evaluation measures before qualifying for a professional (full) certificate
  • Educator preparation programs must be approved by the GPSC.

You must have certification to teach in a public school. Public charter schools and private/independent schools can determine their own rules and policies regarding certification.

What is an alternative route/Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy (GaTAPP/TAPP)?

  • TAPP programs are a collection of alternative certification programs across Georgia, not one building/program
  • TAPP programs are certification programs for Georgia teachers in public and private schools who need a teaching certificate
  • Not all TAPP programs have the term TAPP in the title.
  • Alternative routes are not shortcuts. They have the same certification requirements as traditional routes.
  • Alternative route programs do not include a degree, only certification.
  • Alternative routes require that you have a teaching job in the field you seek certification in to complete a program.

An alternative route is typically your best option if you:

  • want to switch careers
  • graduated with a degree in or closely related to a field of teaching but do not have certification
  • do not want to or are unable to go back to school

To be eligible for an alternative (non-traditional) certification route, you have to:

  • meet basic certification requirements before starting to teach
  • complete the additional requirements while teaching (“earn and learn”)
  • be accepted into an alternate certification program
  • have a signed contract to be a full-time (typically) teacher of record at the level and in the subject you want to earn certification in before you can start the program (you can apply to a program before having a contract)
  • take a pre-requisite summer course before starting the certification program
  • maintain employment as a teacher of record while completing certification requirements
  • complete all remaining state certification requirements within the 1st three years in the classroom

Different programs have different rules and timelines for applications.

Who offers alternative route certification programs?

  • Regional Educational Service Agencies (RESAs) provide the majority of TAPP programs in Georgia.  RESAs serve multiple counties within a geographic region.
  • TAPP programs vary in cost from $3,000 – $6,000 for a two-year program depending on the RESA
  • Some counties have internal subsidized TAPP programs for their specific employees that cost less.
  • Specific requirements may vary by RESA.

What qualifications do I need for an alternate certification program?

Initial, general qualifications to apply for a TAPP program:

  • minimum of a bachelor’s degree in the chosen teaching field (or degree closely related to the field)
  • minimum undergraduate cumulutive GPA of 2.5 – 2.75 (depends on program) from an accredited, GPSC-accepted degree granting institution (no combination of GPAs) if your degree is less than 10 years old. GPA requirements are waived if your GPA is older than 10 years.
  • If you do not have at least a 2.5, and you receive acceptance into a state-approved certification program, you meet the GPA requirement.
  • Passed the content-area Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE)
  • Passed or exempted the GACE Program Admission
  • Passed the GACE Educator Ethics Assessment
  • have not completed student teaching
  • have not held a professional teaching certificate in any state
  • qualify for a provisional certificate

Basic requirements to begin a TAPP program (not a complete list)

  • have a contract to be teacher of record (usually full-time), not an assistant or paraprofessional
  • begin teaching in content area and at the level in which seek certification
  • complete a pre-requisite course during the summer

Basic requirements to complete a TAPP program (not a complete list)

  • maintain full-time (usually) teaching job as teacher of record in the field and at the level in which seek certification
  • complete all certification coursework
  • pass the GACE Educator Ethics – Program Exit
  • have Teacher Keys Effectiveness System evaluations that meet certification requirements
  • complete additional requirements of the GPSC and of the particular TAPP program as deemed necessary

TAPP programs take about two years to complete. When you enter the classroom, you will have a provisional certificate, which is a 3-year, non-renewable certificate given to teachers completing certification through an alternative pathway while teaching.  Teachers who complete the certification requirements before gaining three years of successful teaching in the classroom as measured by standardized performance evaluation measures convert the provisional certificate to a non-renewable, 5-year induction certificate.

Upon completing three years of successful teaching in the classroom as measured by standardized performance evaluation measures and while holding an induction certificate, teachers may then convert to a renewable, 5-year professional (full) certificate.

Teachers with a provisional certificate who already have 3+ years of successful teaching experience in the classroom as measured by standardized performance evaluation measures when they complete the certification requirements can convert a provisional directly to a full, 5-year, renewable professional certificate.

See other terms: induction certificate, professional certificate.


What is the general progression of steps for alternative certification?