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What is Secondary Licensure?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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Secondary licensure is a process by which a person who is qualified to teach a particular subject becomes qualified and licensed to teach a second subject as well. There are a number of different programs offered by various schools to help a person obtain his or her secondary license, and the coursework required for these programs can differ somewhat. In general, however, it will usually focus less on education classes and more on classes pertaining to the subject matter specific to the secondary topic. Secondary licensure can also be a process for someone who has completed degree coursework in a particular subject to complete work necessary to gain a teaching license.

Sometimes also called alternative licensure, secondary licensure often refers to the process by which someone who already teaches in secondary education can become licensed to teach a second subject. For the most part, someone who wishes to teach secondary education chooses a particular subject that he or she will teach, such as English, math, or physics. The person takes extensive classes in this subject as well as courses regarding various educational theories and teaching pedagogies. While this ensures the person will be quite knowledgeable in his or her chosen field, it also limits his opportunities to teaching a particular subject.

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Secondary licensure allows someone to quickly become qualified to teach a second subject in secondary education. This type of program will usually focus primarily on the actual subject matter itself, since the teacher has already learned about teaching methods and philosophies. The teacher can complete this program, take any tests necessary for a teaching license in a particular region, and then be awarded secondary licensure to teach the second subject as well. This can be especially useful for someone whose first subject is already crowded with other teachers or has been reduced in many schools, such as art or music.

The term “secondary licensure” can also refer to a process by which someone with a degree in a subject area can more quickly receive training necessary to teach. Someone with a bachelor’s degree in English, for example, could use this process to quickly become licensed to teach English in his or her region. The process can still require over a year of work, but this is still significantly shorter than spending another four years for a second degree. This type of secondary licensure usually entails two semesters of educational classes followed by one semester of student teaching.

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