Alternate Pathways to the Classroom

If your goal is to:

  • Become a professional educator.
  • Change the lives of students.
  • Contribute to your school, district and community.
  • Be a part of an award-winning teacher preparation program.
  • Obtain an excellent education for one of the lowest four-year tuition rates in the country.
  • Be in charge of your education through online courses and flexible internship and student teaching placements. 

Then the Teacher Preparation Program at FHSU has something for you! 

Fort Hays Routes to the Classroom

Master of Science in Education:
Dr. Valerie Zelenka, Professor
[email protected], 785-628-4688

  • Requires a Bachelor’s degree to begin (check website for admission requirements)
  • Cannot serve as teacher of record until successfully completing licensure courses and exams
  • One semester of student teaching
  • Available 100% online
  • 36 credit hours: 27 hours (licensure); additional
  • 9 hours and comprehensive exam (MSE degree)

Transition to Teaching (PreK-6)

  • Requires a Bachelor’s degree to apply
  • Eligible for a Limited Elementary Apprentice License (LERP) after successfully completing a “preliminary semester” of coursework
  • Must have an offer of employment in Kansas as an elementary teacher to obtain a LERP License
  • Available 100% online
  • 36 credit hours: 10 hours (LERP licensure); additional 17 hours (full licensure); added 9 hours and comprehensive exam (MSE degree)

Early Childhood Unified (0-Age 8)

  • One semester of student teaching
  • Cannot serve as teacher of record while in the program
  • Available 100% online
  • Undergraduate program leading to bachelor’s degree
  • Licensure for regular education/special education

Transition to Teaching (T2T)

Mr. Kyler Barlow, Academic Program Specialist

[email protected], 785-628-5498

  • Program available for most subject areas
  • Must hold a Bachelor’s degree in a specific subject area or equivalent coursework
  • Must pass relevant Praxis test
  • Must be hired as teacher of record in Kansas in the qualified subject area (no student teaching)
  • Must have 2.75 GPA on most recent 60 credit hours
  • 2 year program with coursework 100% online
  • Graduate Program: 24 credit hours for licensure, 36 hours and comprehensive exam (MSE degree)

More Information

Apply Here

K-State’s online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is a flexible, practical, and convenient pathway to teaching and licensure for individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree. 

  • Pathways Include: Elementary (PK-6), or Secondary (English Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Modern Languages, or Ag)
  • Multiple Start Dates: Begin in summer, fall, or spring semesters. Applications are accepted year-round
  • Quick and Personalized: Complete the program in as little as 12 months or go at your own pace
  • Initial License Eligible: Completing the MAT degree and state-required test(s) leads to eligibility to apply for a Kansas Initial Teaching License

Two, flexible tracks

  • Practitioner track: For students who pursue the MAT while teaching full-time. K-State will help MAT students who teach in Kansas to get a KSDE LEAP or Restricted license while they complete the degree program
  • License-seeking track: For students who pursue the MAT while continuing their current employment or life adventures

Register for the monthly informational Webinar and Q&A.

MAT Elementary Pathway Website

MAT Secondary Pathway Website

More information

Apply Today!

Para to Teacher Pathway Project Grant

The University of Kansas Department of Special Education invites applications for a federally funded personnel preparation program that provides tuition and a stipend to prepare successful paraprofessionals to earn a teaching license in low-incidence disabilities.

Earn a Limited Residency License in Low-Incidence Special Education with an Optional Master’s degree in Special Education.



Scholarship Participant Benefits

  • Tuition and fees paid
  • Additional $3,000 stipend to cover other costs such as books, Wi-Fi, and dependent care in Fall and Spring semesters
  • Extensive mentoring from KU faculty and staff, KU graduates, and school district personnel
  • Funding to attend at least one national conference (out of state travel)
  • Complete the program while you are teaching in your school

More Information

Eligibility for the Scholarship:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be a Kansas Resident
  • Meet KU Admissions eligibility requirements
  • Agree to and be eligible to fulfill US Department of Education service obligations
  • Earned a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
  • Completed at least one full year of experience as a special education paraprofessional working with students with low-incidence disabilities (“severe” disabilities)
  • Can verify that a Kansas school will employ and support you as a low-incidence teacher

Other qualifications for the Limited Residency License (LRL):

Qualifications of Candidates

  • Earned a Bachelor’s degree (from a regionally accredited university)
  • Obtained a GPA of 2.50 on a 4.0 scale for the most recent 60 semester credit hours earned by the candidate 
  • Completed a minimum of one full school year as a full‐time special education paraprofessional under the supervision of a special education teacher
    • Extensive long‐term special education substitute experience will be considered on an individual basis for equivalency to the described paraprofessional experience. 
  • Verify that a local education agency (school district) will employ and support you in an appropriate low-incidence special education teaching assignment during the completion of the program under the LRL license. 

Teacher Education Handbook 

Para to Teach Program


  • Currently employed as a paraeducator


  • 100% Online
  • Designed for working professionals to earn their Elementary Education Unified Degree
  • Prepares future educators to teach students in general or special education
  • Partners with community colleges and P-12 special education interlocals
  • Can leverage your Associate’s degree or college credit hours to jumpstart degree

More Information

Early Childhood Unified (Birth-Kindergarten)


  • Prepares you to nurture babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners
  • Graduates are eligible for a Kansas teaching license covering general and special education up to kindergarten
  • Pitt State houses a preschool for local families, acting as a training lab for Child Development and Early Childhood Education majors

Elementary Education Unified Major


  • Students gain proficiency in teaching both general education and special education in grades K-6
  • More than 50 percent of our students choose the Unified path 
  • This path requires two additional special education courses in your academic plan  
  • This plan will teach you to implement inclusive practices, instruct students with diverse learning needs, and conduct individual assessments of developmental milestones/academic achievement

Master of Arts Degree




  • Designed for those making a career change to education 
  • Leads to an initial teaching license and a Master of Arts degree

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree from accredited institution
  • 3.00 cumulative GPA
  • Professional Disposition Assessment (includes personal interview)
  • Background check

Course Delivery

  • online courses
  • 6 credit hours per semester
  • prescribed sequence of courses

More Information

PSU College of Education 

Apply here

Limited Apprentice Program (LAP) in High Incidence Special Education, K-6 or 6-12

If you want to work with special education students, this program will help you earn the knowledge and skill to make a difference in the classroom. Our graduates now work in a variety of settings: self-contained classrooms, resource rooms, in consultation with others, in public or private schools, and in institutions including adolescent correctional facilities.

Qualifications & the Process

  • Bachelor’s Degree (from a regionally accredited university)
  • GPA requirement of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the most recent 60 semester hours earned by the candidate
  • Minimum of one full school year as a full-time special education paraprofessional under the supervision of a Special Education Teacher
  • Those with extensive work as a long-term special education substitute will be considered on an individual basis for equivalency to the paraprofessional experience requirement, with the recommendation of local school district(s)
  • Verification that a local education agency (LEA) will employ and support you in an appropriate Special Education High Incidence teaching assignment during the completion of this program
  • Admission to Washburn University
  • Admission to the Washburn University Department of Education Graduate Program in High Incidence Special Education

More Information

Apply Here

Wichita State TAP Program

Prepare for a licensure as a Kansas teacher with a flexible program of study, specially designed for Para Educators and Long-Term Substitutes to earn their Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Unified/Elementary Education.

This program leads to licensure only in the state of Kansas. The license options with this degree include:

  • Early Childhood Unified (Birth-3rd Grade)
  • Elementary Education (K-6th Grade)
  • Early Childhood Unified & Elementary Education (Birth-3rd Grade, K-6th Grade)

More Information

Apply Here

MAT ECU/EEU – (Masters of Arts in Teaching – Early Childhood Unified with concentration in Elementary Education Unified Details)

The MAT ECU/EEU program is offered for students seeking initial KSDE licensure in early childhood unified with concentration in elementary education unified: birth through sixth grade


  • Emphasis in urban schools
  • Prepares teaching residents to meet the needs of children with and without disabilities in varied settings
  • Involves students working in the classrooms as paraprofessionals while working on their graduate degree and initial license 


  • Completed at least a BA/BS degree from an accredited higher education institution prior to entry into the program
  • A GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of graded coursework (or a 2.75 to be admitted on probationary status)

More Information
Program Information Sheet

Master of Education in Special Education High Incidence Alternative Certification


  • 37 credit hour program for individuals who have at least one year of experience as a paraprofessional and a Bachelor’s degree outside the field of education
  • Certification to become a special education teacher
  • Fully online (Cohorts starting in both the summer and fall semesters)
  • Students earn field experience credit while working as the Special Education Teacher of Record
  • Ongoing university mentoring support throughout the program is provided

Admission Requirements

  • GPA of 2.75 or better
    • Applicants with a GPA below 2.75 are required to meet one of the following:
      • GRE scores of at least 150 in verbal reasoning, 148 in quantitative reasoning and 3.5 in analytical writing
  • Full admission to the WSU Graduate School
  • Email the following to Dr. Reagan Murnan
    • Signed documentation from a building or district administrator confirming work as a paraprofessional for at least one year
    • Letter of recommendation from a building or district  level administrator that highlights strengths as an educator and the school district’s commitment to mentoring
      • This letter must be on a school or school district letterhead

Course Requirements

  • Preparatory course (7 credit hours) taken as a cohort during the first semester of the program while still employed as a paraprofessional (If summer start, employment as a paraprofessional is not required. Students must receive departmental permission to enroll in preparatory coursework by securing a teaching position to start by the second semester of the program and completing KSDE Form 24)
  • Required Core Courses (23 credit hours)  – student must start full-time employment as a special education teacher of record at the start of their second semester

Apply now
More Information