Creating Multiple Pathways to Becoming an Elementary Teacher

September 11, 2023 |

The Elementary Education Post-Baccalaureate Program, a new program that began this semester, was developed by MNSU faculty Dr. Beth Beschorner and Dr. Karen Colum in response to hearing about the overwhelming need for more opportunities for nontraditional students to become licensed as elementary teachers in Minnesota. This program is designed for individuals who are looking to make a career change or have bachelor's degrees outside of education. It is the only one of its kind in Minnesota, and is unique in that it is completely asynchronous, meaning that students can balance school with other commitments like work and family by completing the coursework on their own time. Additionally, this is a four-semester program, which increases teaching licensure accessibility by allowing students to gain licensure faster than in other programs.  

A typical Fall/Spring semester involves multiple short, intensive courses that each last four weeks and are completed one at a time. During Summer semesters, two courses are completed at a time. This allows students to not have to shift between topics and to devote themselves completely to individual aspects of teacher preparation. Students are also required to student teach part-time over two semesters, complete a graduate-level capstone research project on an area they are passionate about, and complete field experience.  

Dr. Rebekah Degener, the College of Education’s Graduate Program Coordinator, noted that one of the biggest successes of the program thus far is the work being done to remove the barriers faced by those who are trying to become a teacher. One of the biggest is that many students in traditional programs aren’t able to work while completing the semester of student teaching required for licensure. “You aren’t really able to be employed, or at least not to a significant degree. Our program has allowed folks to be employed at least part-time and, because Minnesota has a tiered licensing program, we’ve also been able to have some folks step into full-time positions”.  

For those interested in this program, the application window to join the Spring 2024 cohort is open until September 1st, 2023. Necessary application materials include two letters of recommendation, and an essay on the applicant's commitment to antiracist teaching, which reflects the program’s commitment to antiracist teaching and preparing teachers to be part of the solution in stopping predictable unjust outcomes. Anyone with a bachelor's degree in any area, and an interest in becoming a teacher is welcome to apply. Please contact Dr. Rebekah Degener at with any questions.

Dr. Rebekah Degener 

Graduate Program Coordinator 

College of Education