INCLINE VILLAGE — Twenty scholarships are now available for new students pursuing a career in teaching through Sierra Nevada College’s master’s degree in teaching programs, thanks to a grant awarded this week by the Nevada Department of Education’s Teach Nevada Scholarship program. The $360,000 grant to SNC Tahoe is designed to increase the number of students pursuing a career in teaching in Nevada in response to a severe shortage of qualified Pre K-12 teachers in the state.
The Sierra Nevada College scholarships will be awarded to new students who enroll in SNC’s combined Alternate Route to Licensure (ARL) – Master’s Degree in Teaching programs for spring or summer 2016 at the College’s Las Vegas, Reno, Incline Village or online campuses. SNC also offers additional scholarships for ARL students, and teacher education students are eligible for several other types of financial aid, including the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness programs.
Sierra Nevada College President Alan Walker said of the new grant: “Addressing the teacher shortage here in Nevada is a priority for SNC Tahoe, and we are thrilled to have the state of Nevada’s support to offer these additional scholarships to our graduate teacher education program.”
Boomer Retirement Contributing to Teacher Shortage
The Department of Education has projected a gap of 1 million teaching vacancies over the next ten years nationwide, caused in part by the large numbers of baby boomers retiring from the teaching profession. According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day, a trend that will continue through 2030. This trend will put significant additional pressure on the nation’s teaching population.
In Nevada, the need for new teachers is pronounced. During the 2014-2015 school year, Clark County School District (CCSD) was forced to fill some teaching positions with long-term substitute teachers, who are not licensed to convert to permanent teachers in the district. Even if the district had hired every new graduate from every teacher education program in Nevada this past May, they could not have filled all the 2,600 vacancies for the current 2015-2016 school year.
The Alternative Route to Teacher Licensure for Mid-Career Professionals
With Nevada now ranking third highest in the nation for unemployment, and 51% of workers aged 30-34 reporting that they do not view their current job as their career, the opportunity to train for positions in such high demand is enjoying particular popularity. For professionals seeking a more fulfilling work life, teaching may offer an accessible and rewarding future.
Approved ARL programs are designed to encourage college graduates who did not study education to bring their rich professional and life experience into the classroom as quickly as possible, while gaining rigorous professional development that will lead to professional licensure. Some ARL programs offer only professional licensure, while combined ARL-graduate degree programs such as those offered by Sierra Nevada College offer licensure plus a graduate teaching degree.
In the Sierra Nevada College combined program, career changers can be in a full-time, full-salaried teaching position after only one semester of courses plus testing requirements, and complete a master’s degree in teaching in a handful of additional semesters.
Upcoming Information Sessions about the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Sierra Nevada College:
For Fall 2015: December 9
For Spring 2016: January 6, February 10, March 9, April 13, May 4, June 8 (10am)
Information sessions begin at 4 pm unless noted and take place at the following location:
Sierra Nevada College – Las Vegas
4300 East Sunset Road, Ste. E-1
Henderson, NV 89014-2267
For more information on the Teacher Education programs at Sierra Nevada College, contact Katrina Midgley, director of graduate admission and recruiting, at 775-881-7517.