Ball State University, in partnership with the Pursuit Institute and Hamilton County Schools, launched a Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Program to diversify and expand the teacher pipeline in Indiana.
By Kristen McCaw | February 8, 2023
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY | Ball State University’s Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Program plans to diversify and expand the teacher pipeline by providing a faster, paid pathway to a Bachelor’s degree for high school students interested in the teaching profession. The program starts with 2 years of dual credit courses and classroom experience while students are in high school. Then, students complete 5 semesters of coursework in college paired with paid work experience, and then a final student teaching semester back in their home district.
The Ball State University Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Program is designed to diversify the teaching force and increase the size of the teaching pool by making it more affordable for students, reducing the time that students spend away from their home community, and enabling students to get paid while they learn.
The program is designed to be a five-year apprenticeship that starts during students’ junior year of high school. Students complete 2 years of the program during high school for dual enrollment credit, then 3 years of the program in college to earn a Bachelor’s degree. The 3 years of the college program include 5 semesters of instruction followed by student teaching back home. There is no cost to the student for the first two years of the program due to CTE course reimbursements. Once the student graduates high school, there are regular fees associated with the cost of college attendance. However, students save about $25K in tuition and fees through the dual enrollment portion of the program and earn about $75K in wages over the five years of the program to help offset the costs. The pilot of this program started in the fall of 2022 with a single student in Noblesville Schools, one of the largest school districts in Indiana. Next year, the program anticipates enrolling 30 students.
Students apply to Ball State’s dual credit program. The program requires that students are on track toward fulfilling the basic academic preparation for admission to a four-year college or university, that they rank in the upper third of the high school class, that they have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and that they have endorsements from teachers and guidance counselors.
Courses & Credits
Students are required to have 120 credits to graduate. 34 of those credits are completed while the student is in high school, in addition to first aid and CPR certifications. 74 credits are completed during the first 5 semesters of college. During the final semester of college, while the student is student teaching back home, they complete 12 credits. Most courses are practicum based, so students are in an actual school setting for a significant portion of their college coursework. For example, for a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class, students will do their practicum in the school on Mondays and Wednesdays while on Friday they will participate in a didactic component on campus.
While students are in high school, they apprentice locally. For example, in the pilot program, the student works at a preschool setting in the morning, goes to high school for one block, then goes home to take a Ball State course that combines synchronous and asynchronous instruction. For the five semesters when students are at Ball State University, they apprentice in the Muncie Community Schools afterschool programs, which run from 2:30pm-5:30pm at all of the Muncie elementary schools. College courses are held earlier in the day. For their final college semester, students return to their home school district to student teach.
Getting a Teaching Credential
Once students complete their coursework, they take their pedagogical exams and then apply for their teaching credentials with the state.
Students receive mentorship on-site at their apprenticeship location.
The next step for the program is to scale to serve additional students and school districts. Additionally, the team hopes that in the future, the high school diploma requirement is removed from the paraprofessional certification process so that students can get their paraprofessional certification in the first year of the apprenticeship. This way, in their second year, while they are still in high school, they could work as a paraprofessional in a classroom setting.