The Lewis & Clark Region Troops to Teachers Program, a regional office servicing Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming, is designed to assist qualified military personnel make the transition from the armed services to service in the classrooms of our schools. The program helps connect individuals with information, institutions and the people that can help participants navigate and meet state certification requirements and ultimately find a teaching position. Over 12,000 Troops-to-Teachers participants have been hired nationally in public schools through the program.
The Troops to Teachers (TTT) program was initially established in 1994 to address force restructuring in the military by assisting retiring and separating active duty military personnel transition to new careers in public education. The military drawdown is over and the program has been redefined to address the actual and projected nationwide teacher shortage.
The program helps individuals by connecting them with information, people and institutions that can help participants meet state certification requirements and ultimately find a teaching position.
1. STATE OFFICES: An important component of TTT is the network of State Placement Assistance Offices. These offices provide state-specific information about certification and employment opportunities. They also promote the program within the state public education community. Currently there are 25 state and region offices. The Lewis & Clark Troops to Teachers office is a regional office servicing Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
2. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE: The 2006 U.S. Department of Education appropriation bill has funded Troops to Teachers at $18 million. Approximately $14 million of that will be available to eligible program participants as stipends (up to $5,000) to defray the costs of certification, and/or bonuses (up to $10,000) for those who commit to teaching in "high needs" schools for a minimum of three years.
3. TEACHER CERTIFICATION: Troops to Teachers is not a teacher certification program. We can, however, provide registered clients with information about how to become certified. Routes to certification often present the most challenging step to becoming a teacher. Many states offer “alternative certification” programs that provide less time-consuming routes to certification than more traditional masters degree programs. Most of these alternative programs enable an individual to enter a paid teaching position while working under the mentorship of a master teacher. To be eligible for these programs, individuals must have a concentration of academic credit in a specific subject area such as mathematics, social studies, science, etc. Montana currently offers a provisional certification to individuals holding certification in other states or who have their bachelors degree and a minimum of six (6) credits in education. Schools may also be granted emergency authorization to hire other than certified teachers if appropriate certified teachers can not be identified for a given position. Other states in the Lewis & Clark Region have varying certification programs and requirements. Idaho, for example, offers an alternate route to certification and Wyoming has a portfolio based certification option. Feel free to call us or visit the various state departments of education web pages (available from the link page) for additional information.
Individuals with vocational/career-technical skills may find employment opportunities in many states. In general, certification for vocational/career-technical subjects require four to five or more years of recent, related experience. Many schools need teachers in areas such as electronics, building trades, automotive maintenance, etc. Again, our state offices can provide specific information and qualification criteria.
4. INTERNET SUPPORT: Register online! More information available from the Troops to Teachers national website.
5. APPLICATION PROCESS: Applicant information is maintained in a database that is used to refer individuals to school districts for possible employment and to our state offices for more individual assistance. Applicants can expect to receive a letter from the DANTES TTT office within two weeks from the date of receipt, informing them of their status as a participant in the program. Referrals to school districts are made if the participant is currently separated, retired or is within 9 months of separation or retirement. State Program Managers are able to provide state-specific information to the participant. They are available via e-mail or toll-free phone for counseling and advice on certification requirements, routes to certification and employment potential. Applicants remain active in the TTT referral database until they are hired by a school district, request their name be withdrawn or do not respond to periodic surveys.
6. EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The need for teachers varies widely throughout the United States and not all school districts experience teacher vacancies in every subject area. The most critical needs are for math, science and special education teachers. Employment opportunities may be better in inner-city schools, which are experiencing severe shortages of quality teacher candidates. Those interested in living in very rural parts of the country may also find more employment opportunities at school districts serving rural communities.
As the teacher shortage continues to grow, school districts are increasingly turning to TTT to find new teacher candidates. School districts that hire one military veteran through TTT almost always come back looking for more “just like him/her”. Military veterans have established a reputation as excellent teachers and exemplary role models for today’s students. The leadership skills, breadth of experience, dedication, commitment and maturity that our former marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen bring to the classroom are attributes sought by public school administrators and parents. If you are considering teaching as a second career, submit a Registration Form to Troops to Teachers and join the thousands of other military veterans who are “Proud to Serve Again”.