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TeachGeorgia hopes to ease shortage

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July 8, 2005

Albany-- Georgia School systems expect a critical shortage of teachers in several fields. Recruiters seeking professionals to change careers for education are meeting with South Georgians, explaining how people can fast track into teaching.

More than 30 people attended the TeachGeorgia informational session at the Department of Labor. Stephanie Miller works at the Department of Labor, but feels the call to teach. Miller said "It gives you a chance to give back to the community, and make a difference."

With the increasing need for more teachers, the Teacher Alternative Preparation Program, or TAPP is trying to make it easier for professionals like Miller to earn their teaching credentials.

Maxson said "we realize in today's society people don't do the same thing their whole career, and we want to market teaching as a very viable career choice." TeachGeorgia has been streamlining ways alternative teachers can get their teaching certificate since 2001.

Last year 618 people were certified through the program. "It's a great source for training new teachers," Maxson said TAPP can get a college graduate teaching a related field to their experience, while earning full certification in about two years.

Georgia pays a qualified starting teacher almost $29,000 a year, with the average teacher salary almost $44,000 a year.

That's attracting more professionals like Stephanie Miller. "There are a lot of good things about teaching," Miller said. Georgia says the need for teachers in fields like early elementary and special ed is critical.

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