In the next five years, 145,000 teachers will be needed to meet the nation’s critical shortfall. The School of Education’s Center for Professional Development has taken a proactive approach to resolving the shortage locally with initiatives to streamline the process of getting highly qualified educators into area classrooms.
Located at the Eduardo J. Padrón Campus, the Educator Preparation Institute (EPI) is an intensive competency-based alternative pathway to teacher certification. Through an accelerated program, approved and endorsed by the Florida Department of Education, individuals who have earned at least a bachelor’s degree in a non-education major can satisfy the requirements for a professional teaching certificate in the State of Florida.
The program, which is available to professionals as well as individuals who desire a career change, offers a structured and robust career pathway into the teaching profession. It is also an alternative for foreign trained professionals to begin working in professional careers again, in the United States.
MDC’s EPI has been ranked number one in the state by the State of Florida Bureau of Educator Recruitment, Development, and Retention for positively impacting student learning. To date, nearly 500 students have completed the program, with an additional 20 set to complete in the spring and summer semesters. Most graduates are employed as teachers in Miami-Dade County Public Schools.
In addition, the Center for Professional Development offers teacher certification and recertification courses, endorsements in ESOL, gifted, prekindergarten disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders. Courses are offered in four-weekend formats to support working teachers. Among the more innovative recertification courses are: Data- Driven Instruction Change, Conflict Resolution and Introduction to Brain-Based Teaching.