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Teacher Education Pathways

With high demand for teachers nationwide, it’s an excellent time to start your education career. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics estimates that we'll need 69 million new teachers by 2030 to meet global education goals. At Western Michigan University, we understand this demand and are making it easier than ever before for students to earn their initial teacher certifications and expand their knowledge base through both traditional and fast-track programming.

  • CAEP accreditation

    Accredited

    The WMU teacher education unit is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

  • 99% icon

    Highly effective

    Michigan school principals ranked 99% of new teachers prepared at WMU as “effective” or “highly effective” in 2020-21.

  • 1903

    Historic

    WMU was founded as a teacher's college in 1903. A passion for teaching is in WMU's roots.

  • 96%

    Successful

    96% of 2020-21 WMU CEHD graduates were employed in their field or continuing education within three months of graduation.

Initial teacher certification pathways:

  • Art education (K-12)

    Art education (K-12) trains artists/educators in studio skills, art history, and educational theory and methods.

    Website 

    **Students must seek advising in the School of Music advising office.**

  • Business education (6-12)

    Business education (6-12) prepares students at the secondary level to teach business, marketing, management and technology courses. Business and marketing teachers are in high demand across the country. This program offers an accelerated degree program option

    Website | Advising

  • Early childhood unified education (B-K, PK-3)

    Early childhood unified education (B-K, PK-3) prepares educators for work in a variety of early care and classroom settings serving infants through children in 3rd grade. It prepares educators to teach and work with young learners and their families, to meet the socio-emotional needs of the whole child, and to implement developmentally appropriate practices in response to both typical and atypical development. 

    Website | Advising

  • Early learning and intervention (B-K)

    Early learning and intervention (B-K) prepares educators for work in a variety of early care and classroom settings serving infants through Kindergarten-age children. It prepares educators to teach and work with young learners and their families to meet the socio-emotional needs of the whole child and to implement developmentally appropriate practices and intensive interventions in response to both typical and atypical development. 

    Website | Advising

  • Elementary education (PK-3, 3-6)

    In the elementary education (PK-3, 3-6), students complete content and methods courses in language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. Students will work with diverse communities on and off campus to continually deepen their commitment to and demonstration of anti-racist, anti-biased and inclusive instruction. Certified teachers are eligible to teach pre-K through 6th grade. 

    Website | Advising

  • Family and consumer sciences teacher education (K-12)

    Family and consumer sciences teacher education (K-12) prepares students to teach family and consumer sciences curriculum. Family and consumer sciences teachers are in high demand across the country. This program offers an accelerated degree program option

    Website | Advising

  • Industrial technology education (6-12)

    Industrial technology education (6-12) is a program that prepares you to teach industrial technology-type courses. This program offers an accelerated degree program option

    WebsiteAdvising

  • Music education (K-12)

    Music education (K-12) prepares future choir directors, instrumental directors and general music teachers for a successful career in teaching.

    Website 

    **Students must seek advising in the School of Music advising office.**

  • Occupational education studies (6-12)

    Occupational education studies (6-12) prepares students to teach technical programs at a technical center, comprehensive high school or trade academy. 

    Website | Advising

  • Physical and health education (K-12)

    Physical and health education (K-12) promotes health and wellness through movement and exercise as a teacher or coach. Health educators specialize in assisting individuals and schools by preventing and changing negative health behaviors and health outcomes that are linked to disease, disability, and poor quality of live. This program prepares physical and health education students for Michigan teacher certification with a K-12 health and physical education endorsement. 

    Website | Advising

  • Special education (PK-3 elementary education, K-12 special education)

    Special education (PK-3 elementary education, K-12 special education) is designed to prepare students to assume teaching responsibilities in two certified grade bands: lower elementary, PK-3, and special education learning disabilities K-12. Candidates are also eligible to apply for the accelerated graduate degree program in special education master teacher to take 12 credits toward an endorsement in emotional impairments as part of their undergraduate degree. This program offers an accelerated degree program option

    Website | Advising

  • Teaching English to speakers of other languages (PK-3 elementary education, K-12 TESOL)

    Teaching English to speakers of other languages (PK-3 elementary education, K-12 TESOL) is designed to prepare educators to meet the unique needs of English learners in K-12 schools. The TESOL K-12 major is available for all interested students who are also seeking PK-3 teacher certification. This program offers an accelerated degree program option

    Website | Advising

  • M.A. in early childhood general and special education (B-K)

    In the M.A. early childhood general and special education (B-K) program, students are prepared for work in a variety of early care and classroom settings serving infants through kindergarten-age children. Following completion of the curriculum, graduates can be eligible for an initial Michigan Standard Teaching Certificate with an endorsement in early childhood general and special education: BK (ZN) or for an additional ZN endorsement to a current MI teaching certificate.

    Website

  • M.A. in teaching elementary education (K-5)

    The M.A. in teaching elementary education is a fully online cohort-based program.

    The master of arts in teaching elementary education (M.A.T.) (K-5) program is a post-baccalaureate route that prepares students for initial teacher certification. The elementary education program is designed for non-certified elementary education educators. The program is a 12 or 18-month cohorted program of study that is offered fully online.

    Website

  • M.A. in teaching secondary education (6-12)

    The M.A. in teaching secondary education is a in-person cohort based program.

    The master of arts in teaching secondary education (M.A.T.) (6-12) is a 13-month master's degree program following successful completion of a content area bachelor's degree and leads to initial teacher certification. Secondary education candidates can enter through two main pipelines: WMU pre-education undergraduate content degree with an education focus, or with a content degree from WMU or an outside accredited institution. 

    Website

  • M.A. in teaching special education (K-12)

    The M.A. in teaching special education is a fully online 18 months cohort-based program

    In the master of arts in teaching special education (M.A.T.) (K-12) program, students may focus their studies on obtaining a special education teaching endorsement, in-depth study of special education content, or preparation for advanced graduate training. Further, they gain in-field experience supervising teacher candidates, consulting and providing professional development. WMU is the first institution in the state to offer an expedited 18-month master’s level program. 

    Students can be certified in one of the following areas:

    • Autism
    • Emotional impairments
    • Learning disabilities

    Pathways:

    Website

  • M.A. in workforce education and development program: post-baccalaureate certification (6-12 or K-12)

    The M.A. in workforce education and development program is offered in-person, online and hybrid.

    Master of Arts in Workforce Education and Development: Post-Baccalaureate Certification (6-12 or K-12) prepares students to obtain initial teaching certification in one of the following general education endorsements and corresponding CTE endorsement:

    • Business, Management, Marketing and Technology (6-12)
    • Family and Consumer Sciences (K-12)
    • Industrial and Technology Education (6-12)

    Website

  • Certificate in professional workforce educator

    This graduate certificate in professional workforce educator consists of nine hours of course work in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences in the College of Education and Human Development. This route allows individuals with a bachelor's degree, work experience, and content in the requested CTE subject to complete the necessary WFED courses to obtain CTE endorsement(s).

    Website

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    Hear from our students

    "I think Western has set me up for success, giving me many best practices specific to education. I also feel like I have made connections with a lot of professors who will be there if I ever need help down the road."

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Teacher education in the news

  • special education intern

    New expedited master of arts in special education

    WMU becomes the first university in Michigan to offer an 18-month expedited master’s program in special education resulting in an initial teacher certification with an endorsement in autism spectrum disorder, emotional impairments, or learning disabilities.

    Learn more

  • benton harbor classroom

    Urban teacher residency program welcomes first cohort of future teachers

    WMU's new program is helping interested paraprofessionals and other staff pursue their dreams of becoming teachers in a unique effort that provides mentoring, financial support, and job training while they earn their teaching credentials.

    Learn more

  • classroom

    Education programs awards credit for prior learning

    Students may now apply for potential credit for prior knowledge and experiences for various programs within the CEHD. This is a great opportunity for nontraditional students to showcase their prior learning experiences and fast track their degree program.

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