Supporting the Work of Teacher Registered Apprenticeship Programs

Teacher residencies are the foundation of teacher registered
apprenticeship programs.

Innovation in Education

The Alternative Pathways to Educator Certification (APEC) program at Columbia College is a state-approved teacher residency program that holds the distinction of being the first teacher registered apprenticeship program in the state of South Carolina, as well as the first alternative program to use a teacher residency model. APEC was already recognized for improving student outcomes and providing a pathway for working adults to obtain their teacher certification in South Carolina. However, APEC thrives on innovation and impact that with the help of NCTR, leadership of the program pursued becoming a teacher registered apprenticeship program to lead the way in alternative certification in South Carolina.

Read on to learn more about APEC and its journey toward becoming a teacher registered apprenticeship program.

About APEC

APEC is a teacher residency program culminating in teacher residents earning a Master of Education degree from Columbia College and teacher certification from South Carolina. Additionally, APEC is a contributing member of NCTR’s Network of collaborative teacher residency programs from across the United States that work to improve teacher preparation in their own communities as well as regionally and nationally.

APEC prepares aspiring teachers by following the teacher residency model, meaning teacher residents spend a full year teaching and learning alongside a mentor teacher, being paid for their role in the classroom, and engaging in relevant coursework. APEC’s teacher residency model aligns with NCTR’s Levers for Equitable Teacher Residencies.

What is a Teacher Residency?

Teacher residencies are the most comprehensive model of teacher preparation in the country. Teacher residency programs play a critical role in recruiting candidates of color to the profession by providing an accessible and affordable pathway to teaching, retaining educators, and improving school district goals around teacher diversity, impact, and innovation. Teacher residencies are a form of the apprenticeship model, and teacher residency programs can apply to the State or Federal Department of Labor to become a teacher residency apprenticeship program.

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“If you are implementing a high-quality teacher residency program or clinically-based teacher preparation program, then you are well-aligned to the Department of Labor  apprenticeship model and you should definitely seek out becoming a Registered Apprenticeship Program for Teachers.” 

Dr. Marla Sanders, Director of the APEC Teacher Residency Program

APEC’s Journey

APEC’s journey toward becoming a teacher registered apprenticeship program kicked off in November 2021, when the U.S. Federal Department of Labor (DOL) named teaching as an approved apprenticeship. This new opportunity could present new funding opportunities for programs as well as contribute to providing an additional pathway for aspiring educators to enter the teacher workforce. As more information was released, in spring 2022, NCTR informed Network members of this new opportunity through a memo and a couple of webinars that highlighted the common features of NCTR’s teacher residency model with the requirements to become a registered apprenticeship program, as well as noted some of the differences and nuances between the two EPPs and next steps. 

APEC Director Marla Sanders, Ph.D., received NCTR’s memo and began actively researching how APEC could become a teacher registered apprenticeship program, seeking out assistance from a representative with the U.S. Department of Labor, along with guidance from NCTR. It wasn’t long before Dr. Sanders realized that many of the elements of her teacher residency program aligned with the elements required by the DOL to become a teacher registered apprenticeship program. Dr. Sanders made some slight modifications to the APEC teacher residency program, gathered the artifacts and program resources that demonstrated the apprenticeship elements, and applied. Because of Dr. Sanders and her team’s efforts, APEC became the first approved K-12 teacher registered apprenticeship program in South Carolina by the DOL.

Looking to Become a Teacher Registered Apprenticeship Program?

NCTR provides consulting services including the resources and tools required to support teacher residency programs or EPPs that would like to align their design to the apprenticeship model and apply to become a teacher registered apprenticeship program.

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Learn how we support teacher residencies toward becoming teacher registered apprenticeship programs.

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Read our FAQs

Read our frequently asked questions to learn more about teacher registered apprenticeship programs.

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