MARIETTA— Washington State Community College is updating its Education Transfer program for fall in an effort to support a resolution for local school districts’ teacher shortage. The institution is overhauling its course schedule to accommodate those who are currently employed.
WSCC Dean of Transfer & Public Services Dr. Jona Rinard said education transfer courses will now be offered later in the afternoon, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., in an effort to reach people who want to become teachers, but who also have day jobs.
“In speaking with local school district leaders as well as potential students, we discovered an unmet need,” acknowledged Rinard. “By extending our course schedule to include late afternoon classes, we are able to support those who want to pursue a teaching certificate, but have restraints on their time.”
She went on to explain that these classes will be taught in person with a Hyflex option, which is a hybrid between online and in-person. With Hyflex, students who are unable to make it to campus, have the flexibility to log in from their computer and engage with the instructor and their classmates in real time.
Additional benefits WSCC offers its students include 8-week classes, which will allow students to take two classes each session during the 16-week semester. And while education transfer courses are delivered in-person and Hyflex, most of the general education courses can be taken online, which gives students even greater flexibility.
“Our focus at the college is on removing barriers, and if offering classes later in the afternoon is the answer, then that’s exactly what we are going to do,” said Rinard.
She expects the changes to be especially appealing to those currently employed by school districts as paraprofessionals. In 2022, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed a bill that allowed Ohio schools to employ substitute teachers according to their own established education-level requirements to address the substitute teacher shortage. Rinard explained that some school districts are allowing those with a high school diploma to serve as substitutes.
“Once they’ve gained some classroom experience, some will realize that they want to become full-time teachers. This program gives them the flexibility to continue to serve as a substitute and work toward their degree.”
She pointed out that some school districts have tuition reimbursement programs that will cover the expenses of earning a degree. Furthermore, earning a degree could be beneficial to those who want to maintain their position as a substitute because some school districts’ pay scales differ based on the level of education.
The Education Transfer program at WSCC can be completed in four semesters and results in an associate degree. The estimated cost is $11,000 which includes tuition, books, and test fees. Scholarship funds are available for students enrolling for fall.
While a significant portion of WSCC’s scholarships has already been awarded, the institution offers The Be More scholarship for students currently committing to begin this fall and is valued up to $1,000. Application deadline to be eligible for these funds is July 23.
For more information about the Education Transfer program at WSCC, visit wscc.edu/education-transfer or contact Dr. Rinard at 740.885.5754.