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FAQ

  1. How do students complete certification requirements if they want to teach in the elementary grades?
  2. How do students complete certification requirements if they want to teach at the secondary level?
  3. What is the difference between the undergraduate tuition rate and the graduate tuition rate? Is the graduate tuition higher in other colleges?
  4. Should I choose the one-term internship or full-year experience?
  5. Will teacher preparation in South Carolina assist me in getting a job elsewhere?
  6. What makes the program so unique?
  7. Does Furman require their Education majors to create an educational portfolio to showcase their work during an interview?
  8. Do you offer Special Education as an undergraduate degree? If not, is there any way that I could tack on a certification or a minor in Special Education as a part of my undergrad work?
  9. What are the requirements for out-of-state applicants who are applying as transfer students to the Education Department and the university?
  10. Do you offer undergraduate teacher certification for those majoring in English? Also I am interested in Speech Pathology? Does Furman offer classes in American Sign Language?
  11. Does Furman have any sort of classes or concentration in ESL that can be added to an education degree?
  12. Can I complete the program of certification in four years?
  13. What happens if I graduate at the end of four years and do not return for the internship?
  14. I would like to major in Early Childhood Education. What do I have to do?
  15. I am considering the idea of completing a master's degree. How long does it take to get your master's at Furman?
  16. I am strongly considering a double major. I know education would be one, but I am not quite sure of the other yet, perhaps graphic design. I have heard that over 50% of the students at Furman do double majors. How demanding of a schedule is it to double major?
  17. When does one start taking education classes? Do you have to wait until your junior year?
  18. Are there any scholarships for students who want to major in education at Furman?
  19. Why do some certification programs at Furman require an extra term after graduation?
  20. I heard that Furman getting NCATE certification means you can teach in 40 states. Does that mean that after my fifth year I can go right to another state (if it's one of the 40) and start teaching? Also, could you tell me which states are and aren't on the list?
  21. How do I become a Reading teacher? Does Furman offer reading teacher certification as part of the undergraduate program?

How do students complete certification requirements if they want to teach in the elementary grades?


Students who wish to teach in the elementary grades major in Education and choose from several certification options for grades 2-6:

Option One: One Term Teaching Internship
The Education major at Furman may be completed in four years. Certification requirements for  teaching in the elementary grades are completed during an internship in the fall of the fifth year. Candidates pay graduate tuition rates for the internship and any coursework undertaken subsequent to graduation. Successful completion of additional, specified coursework can also lead to certification in early childhood education, one or more areas of special education, Literacy, or TESOL.

Option Two: Combined Internship and Supported Induction-Year Teaching
Candidates who qualify may elect to participate in a unique year-long experience that places them in an induction-year teaching position while completing the teaching internship. This option provides a partial salary (75% of the full salary for first year teachers) plus fringe benefits, graduate tuition benefits, and mentoring by university supervisors and a school district teacher released from classroom duties. During this year, candidates earn 15 hours of graduate credit that may be applied to a master's degree and /or additional areas of certification.


How do students complete certification requirements if they want to teach at the secondary level?


Furman University has teacher certification programs in the following secondary areas: biology, chemistry, English, mathematics, physics, and social studies.  Certification programs for grades K-12 are offered in French, Latin, Spanish, and music.  Students who wish to obtain a certificate to teach at the secondary level or in grades K-12 (languages and music), major in an academic department other than Education and complete a sequence of professional education courses.

Option One: One Term Teaching Internship 
The major in an academic department other than Education may also be completed in four years. Certification requirements are completed during an internship in the fall of the fifth year. Candidates pay graduate tuition rates for the internship and any coursework undertaken subsequent to graduation. Successful completion of additional, specified coursework can also lead to certification in TESOL or in one or more areas of special education. Exception: The teaching internship for music majors is embedded in the four-year program. 

Option Two: Combined Internship and Supported Induction-Year Teaching 
Candidates who qualify may elect to participate in a unique year-long experience that places them in an induction-year teaching position while completing the teaching internship. This option provides a partial salary (75% of the full salary for first year teachers) plus fringe benefits, graduate tuition benefits and mentoring by university supervisors and a school district teacher released from classroom duties. During this year, candidates earn 15 hours of graduate credit that may be applied to a master's degree and/or additional areas of certification.

What is the difference between the undergraduate tuition rate and the graduate tuition rate? Is the graduate tuition higher in other colleges?


At Furman, the graduate tuition rate is approximately 1/3 of the undergraduate rate. This amount is very competitive; quite often, graduate tuition is higher than undergraduate tuition in other colleges.

Should I choose the one-term internship or full-year experience?


The answer to this question depends on your long-term goals. Certainly, candidates who complete the full-year experience have useful and instructive experiences that the single-term internship does not often permit. Furthermore, with the additional certification options and graduate hours, Furman graduates possess a highly marketable set of credentials.

Will teacher preparation in South Carolina assist me in getting a job elsewhere?


When school districts hire teachers, they make every effort to maintain a well-balanced, diverse faculty in their schools. For that reason, school districts in this area cannot afford to hire just Furman graduates. Likewise, school districts in Pennsylvania, Georgia, or Alaska often recruit candidates who are fully certified elsewhere, especially if the person is certified to teach in several areas. Completing a degree in a different state, in other words, is not a disadvantage. On the contrary, these applicants are often given preference in hiring. Our program’s accreditation by NCATE gives Furman’s graduates yet another advantage when competing for instructional positions.

What makes the program so unique?


The Teacher Education Program at Furman is very rigorous and requires all participants to work hard and to demonstrate ethical and professional values. Our nationally-respected program is known for its high entrance and exit standards. We prepare teachers to be scholars and leaders in their field – many make presentations at local, state and national conferences. The additional time that candidates spend after graduation preparing for certification is consistent with our reputation as an institution that produces teachers of the highest quality.

Does Furman require their Education majors to create an educational portfolio to showcase their work during an interview?

We certainly do! Our teaching candidates complete the portfolio during the senior year when they can demonstrate the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions that they have acquired over time. They refine the portfolio during the fifth year.

Do you offer Special Education as an undergraduate degree? If not, is there any way that I could tack on a certification or a minor in Special Education as a part of my undergrad work?


We do not offer Special Education as an undergraduate degree but you can add special education certification at the post-baccalaureate level (after graduation). Our program is designed to permit students to graduate at the end of 4 years (BA in Education). All students (current and transfers) return in the 5th year to complete the teaching internship (new name for student teaching).


If you want to add special education certification to your initial elementary certification, then you would take two courses (Intro and Nature) at the undergraduate level and the other courses in the summer immediately after graduation and immediately after the first year of teaching. You really have two options as follows: one allows you to add Special Education certification, the other one allows you to add certification AND a master's degree. 

Option One: Graduate at the end of 4 years; take summer courses during the summer after graduation; teach one year as a teacher of record while you complete the internship and the induction-year of teaching experience; receive elementary certification in December of the 5th year; receive special education certification at the end of the second summer – no master's.

Option Two: Graduate at the end of 4 years; take summer courses during the summer after graduation; teach one year as a teacher of record while you complete the internship and the induction-year of teaching experience; receive elementary certification in December of the fifth year; receive special education certification at the end of the second summer – receive a master's degree because you take courses beyond those in option one.

What are the requirements for out-of-state applicants who are applying as transfer students to the Education Department and the university?


In-state and out-of-state students have the same requirements (see the application form). If you plan to transfer to Furman, it is best to take general education courses since methods courses are not likely to transfer.

Do you offer undergraduate teacher certification for those majoring in English? Also, I am interested in speech pathology. Does Furman offer classes in American Sign Language?


Students wishing to certify to teach English can finish all course work at the undergraduate level. They return to complete the internship (new name for student teaching) during the fifth year in connection, usually, with an opportunity of employment in a neighboring partner school district and/or completion of a master's degree (M.A.with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction). We do not offer a Speech Pathology program. Speech Pathology is an advanced program done at the graduate level. In the last few years, 2-3 of our students interested in Speech Pathology have completed certification programs at Furman and had 1-2 years of teaching experience before applying for graduate work in Speech Path. The teaching experience gave them the credibility needed for later work with school children.

Does Furman have any sort of classes or concentration in ESL that can be added to an Education degree?

Furman offers an undergraduate interdisciplinary minor in ESOL. The departments of Education, English, Modern Languages and Literatures, and Sociology share the responsibility for the concentration. The courses you take depend on your interests.

Can I complete the program of certification in four years?

No, unless you plan to certify to teach Music which allows candidates to graduate and certify in four years. The completion of certification for all other programs takes place in the fall term after graduation.

What happens if I graduate at the end of four years and do not return for the internship?

Nothing happens but we will NOT be able to recommend you for certification.

I would like to major in Early Childhood Education. What do I have to do?

Furman has an outstanding and highly recognized program of teacher preparation with certification to teach in the elementary grades and options to add certification in other areas such as early childhood education. In your case, you would have to major in Education and complete the program of certification to teach in grades 2-6 and then add certification to teach in grades PK-3. Most students interested in early childhood education also complete a program that results in a master’s degree. Specifically, if you want to add early childhood education certification to your initial elementary certification, then you would take two courses (Intro and Literacy) at the undergraduate level and the other courses in the summer immediately after graduation and immediately after the first year of teaching. You really have two options as follows: one allows you to add Early Childhood Education certification, the other one allows you to add certification AND a master's degree.

Option One: Graduate at the end of 4 years; take summer courses during the summer after graduation; teach one year as a teacher of record while you complete the internship and the induction year of experience; receive elementary certification in December of the 5th year; receive early childhood education certification at the end of the second summer – no master's.

Option Two: Graduate at the end of 4 years; take summer courses during the summer after graduation; teach one year as a teacher of record while you complete the internship and the induction year of experience; receive elementary certification in December of the fifth year; receive early childhood education certification at the end of the second summer – receive a master's degree because you take courses beyond those in option one.

I am considering the idea of completing a master's degree. How long does it take to get your master's at Furman?


You can actually begin your masters immediately after you graduate (during the summer). Depending on the master’s program that you select, you could complete a master’s program in 15 months – two summers and one academic year while you are teaching.

I am strongly considering a double major. I know education would be one but I am not quite sure of the other yet, possibly graphic design. I have heard that over 50% of the students at Furman do double majors. How demanding of a schedule is it to double major?


Double majors at Furman are quite demanding. The percentage that you cite (50%) is too high. Some students that come to Furman with AP credit and foreign language background can exempt two or three courses. For them the double major is quite possible. Planning, beginning in the freshman year, would be imperative.

When does one start taking education classes? Do you have to wait until your junior year?

You may take introductory courses in the freshman year. Ideally students will not wait until the junior year to begin to take certification courses. Doing so is likely to extend completion of the program by one year.

Are there any scholarships for students who want to major in education at Furman?

The Admissions and Financial Aid Offices at Furman will provide you with information regarding scholarships. One of the available scholarships allows you to apply as part of the admissions packet.

Why do some certification programs at Furman require an extra term after graduation?

A growing body of evidence indicates that teachers who lack adequate initial preparation, strong induction (first-year) support, and mentoring in the first years of teaching are more likely to leave the profession. The extended program offers Furman opportunities to provide additional preparation in the areas of school culture, assessment, and the integration of technology in instruction. The mentoring program during the fifth year has been found to improve feelings of efficacy, instructional skills, and dispositions. Furman’s rate of beginning teacher retention exceeds 94% in the first several years of teaching.

I heard that Furman getting NCATE certification means you can teach in 40 states. Does that mean that after my fifth year I can go right to another state (if it's one of the 40) and start teaching? Also, could you tell me which states are and aren't on the list?

Unfortunately, the terminology is confusing. There is a difference between "certification" and "accreditation". "Certification" is the recognition given to someone who has successfully completed a program of teacher education. In our case, Furman University recommends that an individual who has completed the program of teacher preparation be issued a certificate by the State Department of Education. "Accreditation", on the other hand, is given to an institution (not an individual) after it has met state, national, and professional standards of educational quality. Although NCATE has recommended that Furman's Teacher Education Program receive national accreditation, that does not mean that you will be nationally certified. In fact, there is no such thing as national certification (despite the existence of a program called "National Board Certification"). NCATE has partnerships in one way or another with most states and many states recognize South Carolina's certification credential through an agreement known as "reciprocity". "Reciprocity" means that if you go to one of those states, you don't have to repeat the whole certification process. (At most, you might have to take a few additional courses within a certain period of time in order to get full certification in that particular state.) Many of our graduates have little or no difficulty getting their certification credentials recognized by neighboring states (i.e., GA, NC, TN, AL, VA, and KY). If you are contemplating re-locating a significant distance from South Carolina (for example, California), then it might be wise to investigate what those states require of individuals who have been certified in another state.


How do I become a Reading teacher? Does Furman offer reading teacher certification as part of the undergraduate program?

Although we do not offer Reading, now called Literacy, as an undergraduate degree, you can add literacy certification at the post-baccalaureate level (after graduation). If you want to add literacy certification to initial elementary, early childhood, secondary, or PK-12 certification, you can do so by completing approved courses and successfully passing Praxis examinations. Most students complete literacy certification requirements as part of a master's degree (M.A. with a concentration in Literacy). Furman's Literacy concentration is designed to help teachers improve their classroom practices. It also prepares teachers to work as literacy teachers and coaches.

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