Start teaching with your online Alternate Route degree as soon as next fall!
Teaching children is a valuable skill, and the demand for teachers is soaring. With a Secondary Teacher Education (Alternative Route) MAT degree from The University of Southern Mississippi, you could be ready to fill that need as soon as next fall. This 33-credit hour online program is a licensure option for students who wish to teach in a secondary content area while also earning a master’s degree. Our program guides you from the online classroom to your own classroom with the luxury of obtaining a master’s degree while you teach.
The online Alternate Route degree puts you on a path to licensure that includes a 9-credit hours of summer courses that prepares you to apply to the Mississippi Department of Education for a three-year non-renewable alternate route license and seek employment in a Mississippi school district.
If you’re interested in teaching, our alternate route degree is set up to give you the opportunity to build on the knowledge and skills you already have to support your teaching abilities, rather than start from scratch.
Check out these areas you can specialize:
- Business Education
- Home Economics
- Library Media
- Physical Education
- Social Studies
This is your life, plus college.
Management and Organization of Diverse Classrooms
Assessing Student Outcomes
Seminar in Secondary Education
The Psychology and Education of Exceptional Children
Curriculum in the Secondary School
Technology in Education
Secondary Education Methods
Adolescent Literacy in the Content Areas
Educational Research: Interpretation and Applications
Research in Secondary Education
Please note that the above information is meant to be a guide and is not official. For further information regarding courses for this degree, see the University Bulletin. Please be aware that not all course choices listed in the University Bulletin are available online. However, sufficient online options are available to complete this degree.
Frequently Asked Questions
The online alternate route teaching degree admits students in the fall, spring, and summer. However, in order to acquire the initial teaching license, students much complete the summer courses.
Licensure requirements and approval are determined by each state’s licensing board. For general information about professional licensure, please review the Online Programs & Professional Licensure Page. If you have professional licensing questions regarding licensure relative to one of our online programs, please read our Professional Licensure Disclosure and then fill out the Professional Licensure Inquiry Form. If you have other questions regarding licensure, please email professional licensure.
Because the online alternate route teaching degree ends with a Master’s degree, you can receive financial aid.
Sometimes quicker is not better. The TMI program provides only 9 hours of coursework prior to the candidate securing a teaching position. Teaching is complex. It is difficult to address all the demands of teaching within 9 hours of coursework though USM does its very best to do so. TMI candidates should anticipate a much longer, and perhaps more difficult, transition to the profession. In contrast, the online alternate route teaching degree candidates complete 33 hours of coursework and have ongoing support from program faculty for a more extended period (3 to 4 semesters). With this sustained contact and more in-depth coursework, alternate route candidates often have an easier transition to the teaching profession and experience greater satisfaction.
Schedule an appointment with the Program Coordinator. You will have to apply to the MAT program. However, your application will be nearly identical to your previously completed TMI application. The new application is a USM Graduate School requirement. We must have you reclassified as a MAT candidate and the application is how this is accomplished.
Contact the Program Coordinator. In conjunction with USM’s licensure official, we will do what we can to assist you.
Speak with the Program Coordinator before agreeing to the new position because it could impact USM’s ability to observe you during the internship courses.
Under state law (June 2016), alternate route candidates can receive a special, nonrenewable license at a district’s request so long as they are currently enrolled in and making progress towards an alternate route certificate or degree. USM’s role is minimal. USM simply verifies to your district and/or the state that you are enrolled. It will be up to you to communicate to your district and to ensure that you have met their requirements under this law.
USM’s Registrar’s Office will not automatically send your transcripts to MDE. You can order them online through your Student Center in SOAR or through the Registrar’s website. They will send them electronically and you should get an email when they go out.
No, USM did not and cannot send these materials on your behalf.
You are responsible for securing a teaching position in a Mississippi public school with a new teacher induction program in an endorsed content area. If we hear of schools that need positions filled, we will certainly get the word out to you via our Facebook page. We suggest using the Securing a Teaching Position help document above to guide you.
Once you have secured a job, you take one (TMI) or two (MAT) internship classes. CIS 694 is our fall semester internship class. CIS 794 is our spring semester internship class. The faculty member assigned to that class communicates with you on regularly for the semester. Additionally, there are assignments that she/he will ask of you. Visitations to your site by the supervisor will be coordinated with you as well.
Yes, if your district wants to hire you. However, candidates should realize that they can never convert a 3-year, nonrenewable license to a 5-year, renewable license without the internship courses. As a result, the 3-year license will expire, you will no longer hold a viable teaching license, and you may lose your teaching position.
Using your transcripts, we can look at the possibility of transferring up to 6 graduate credit hours from another institution for the MAT. These evaluations are done by the Program Coordinator on a case-by-case basis. Courses cannot be transferred for certificate programs like TMI.
The candidate will need to complete the Graduation Deferment Form to change the date of graduation. There may be fees associated with the deferment.
Please print the form – sign and send to the Program Coordinator to sign (scan & email). There are fees associated with graduation or certificate completion. To pay the fees, go to the Graduate School website. Pay the fee and the late fees as applicable. Send the receipt payment with the application form to the Program Coordinator.
State of Mississippi mandated admission requirements include:
- Official transcripts indicating a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally/nationally accredited institution with a major other than education.
- Passing Praxis CORE Academic Skills for Educators test results, ACT scores with a 21+ composite score, or SAT equivalent to a 21+ ACT score.
- Passing Praxis II (Specialty Area) Test, from the USM-approved subject area list.
- Candidates will be required to secure a teaching position in the subject area that matches their Praxis II Test or an endorsed subject area. One cannot, for instance, pass the Praxis II in Chemistry and then take a position teaching English.
- Submit to a background check.
University of Southern Mississippi mandated admission requirements include:
- A 2.75+ GPA on the last 60 credit hours of the Bachelor’s degree
- 3 Letters of Recommendation with the Graduate School application.
- Letter of Intent / Statement of Purpose written according to the guidelines provided within the Graduate School application.
- A subscription to the Tk20 Assessment System. Tk20 provides an electronic portfolio and storage system for students as well as tracks, stores, retrieves, and analyzes data for accreditation purposes. Subscriptions can be purchased here. Proof of purchase must be provided at first advisement meeting.
The GRE is not required.
The program is 33 semester credit hours. The 9 hour licensure block (CIS 603, CIS 570, and REF 632) that leads to initial licensure is offered only in the summer. Upon successful completion (“B” or better in each class) of the 9 hour licensure block, participants apply to the Mississippi Department of Education for a 3-year non-renewable temporary license and seek employment in a Mississippi school that is accredited and has a new teacher induction program. Once employment/internship has been secured, the candidate will register for his/her last licensure classes, CIS 694 and CIS 794. Southern Miss faculty will make classroom visits during the year as well and support candidate growth. After successfully completing CIS 694 and CIS 794, the student can apply through the Mississippi Department of Education for a five-year license. Once all other coursework is successfully completed, the student will earn his/her degree. Students must submit the application for completion of the degree the semester before they plan to complete requirements for the degree. This includes a fee established by the graduate school.