The Teacher Education Program at Furman is very rigorous and requires all participants to work hard and to demonstrate ethical and professional values. Our nationally-respected program is known for its high entrance and exit standards. We prepare teachers to be scholars and leaders in their field – many make presentations at local, state and national conferences. The additional time that candidates spend after graduation preparing for certification is consistent with our reputation as an institution that produces teachers of the highest quality.
We certainly do! Our teaching candidates complete the portfolio during the senior year when they can demonstrate the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions that they have acquired over time. They refine the portfolio during the fifth year.
Do you offer Special Education as an undergraduate degree? If not, is there any way that I could tack on a certification or a minor in Special Education as a part of my undergrad work?
We do not offer Special Education as an undergraduate degree but you can add special education certification at the post-baccalaureate level (after graduation). Our program is designed to permit students to graduate at the end of 4 years (BA in Education). All students (current and transfers) return in the 5th year to complete the teaching internship (new name for student teaching).
If you want to add special education certification to your initial elementary certification, then you would take two courses (Intro and Nature) at the undergraduate level and the other courses in the summer immediately after graduation and immediately after the first year of teaching. You really have two options as follows: one allows you to add Special Education certification, the other one allows you to add certification AND a master's degree.
Option One: Graduate at the end of 4 years; take summer courses during the summer after graduation; teach one year as a teacher of record while you complete the internship and the induction-year of teaching experience; receive elementary certification in December of the 5th year; receive special education certification at the end of the second summer – no master's.
Graduate at the end of 4 years; take summer courses during the summer after graduation; teach one year as a teacher of record while you complete the internship and the induction-year of teaching experience; receive elementary certification in December of the fifth year; receive special education certification at the end of the second summer – receive a master's degree because you take courses beyond those in option one
What are the requirements for out-of-state applicants who are applying as transfer students to the Education Department and the university?
In-state and out-of-state students have the same requirements (see the application form). If you plan to transfer to Furman, it is best to take general education courses since methods courses are not likely to transfer.
Do you offer undergraduate teacher certification for those majoring in English? Also, I am interested in speech pathology. Does Furman offer classes in American Sign Language?
Students wishing to certify to teach English can finish all course work at the undergraduate level. They return to complete the internship (new name for student teaching) during the fifth year in connection, usually, with an opportunity of employment in a neighboring partner school district and/or completion of a master's degree (M.A.with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction). We do not offer a Speech Pathology program. Speech Pathology is an advanced program done at the graduate level. In the last few years, 2-3 of our students interested in Speech Pathology have completed certification programs at Furman and had 1-2 years of teaching experience before applying for graduate work in Speech Path. The teaching experience gave them the credibility needed for later work with school children.
Does Furman have any sort of classes or concentration in ESL that can be added to an Education degree?
Furman offers an undergraduate interdisciplinary minor in ESOL. The departments of Education, English, Modern Languages and Literatures, and Sociology share the responsibility for the concentration. The courses you take depend on your interests.
Can I complete the program of certification in four years?
No, unless you plan to certify to teach Music which allows candidates to graduate and certify in four years. The completion of certification for all other programs takes place in the fall term after graduation.
What happens if I graduate at the end of four years and do not return for the internship?
Nothing happens but we will NOT be able to recommend you for certification.
I would like to major in Early Childhood Education. What do I have to do?
Furman has an outstanding and highly recognized program of teacher preparation with certification to teach in the elementary grades and options to add certification in other areas such as early childhood education. In your case, you would have to major in Education and complete the program of certification to teach in grades 2-6 and then add certification to teach in grades PK-3. Most students interested in early childhood education also complete a program that results in a master’s degree. Specifically, if you want to add early childhood education certification to your initial elementary certification, then you would take two courses (Intro and Literacy) at the undergraduate level and the other courses in the summer immediately after graduation and immediately after the first year of teaching. You really have two options as follows: one allows you to add Early Childhood Education certification, the other one allows you to add certification AND a master's degree.
Option One: Graduate at the end of 4 years; take summer courses during the summer after graduation; teach one year as a teacher of record while you complete the internship and the induction year of experience; receive elementary certification in December of the 5th year; receive early childhood education certification at the end of the second summer – no master's.
Option Two: Graduate at the end of 4 years; take summer courses during the summer after graduation; teach one year as a teacher of record while you complete the internship and the induction year of experience; receive elementary certification in December of the fifth year; receive early childhood education certification at the end of the second summer – receive a master's degree because you take courses beyond those in option one.
I am considering the idea of completing a master's degree. How long does it take to get your master's at Furman?
You can actually begin your masters immediately after you graduate (during the summer). Depending on the master’s program that you select, you could complete a master’s program in 15 months – two summers and one academic year while you are teaching.
I am strongly considering a double major. I know education would be one but I am not quite sure of the other yet, possibly graphic design. I have heard that over 50% of the students at Furman do double majors. How demanding of a schedule is it to double major?
Double majors at Furman are quite demanding. The percentage that you cite (50%) is too high. Some students that come to Furman with AP credit and foreign language background can exempt two or three courses. For them the double major is quite possible. Planning, beginning in the freshman year, would be imperative.
When does one start taking education classes? Do you have to wait until your junior year?
You may take introductory courses in the freshman year. Ideally students will not wait until the junior year to begin to take certification courses. Doing so is likely to extend completion of the program by one year.
Are there any scholarships for students who want to major in education at Furman?
The Admissions and Financial Aid Offices at Furman will provide you with information regarding scholarships. One of the available scholarships allows you to apply as part of the admissions packet.
Why do some certification programs at Furman require an extra term after graduation?
A growing body of evidence indicates that teachers who lack adequate initial preparation, strong induction (first-year) support, and mentoring in the first years of teaching are more likely to leave the profession. The extended program offers Furman opportunities to provide additional preparation in the areas of school culture, assessment, and the integration of technology in instruction. The mentoring program during the fifth year has been found to improve feelings of efficacy, instructional skills, and dispositions. Furman’s rate of beginning teacher retention exceeds 94% in the first several years of teaching.
I heard that Furman getting NCATE certification means you can teach in 40 states. Does that mean that after my fifth year I can go right to another state (if it's one of the 40) and start teaching? Also, could you tell me which states are and aren't on the list?
Unfortunately, the terminology is confusing. There is a difference between "certification" and "accreditation". "Certification" is the recognition given to someone who has successfully completed a program of teacher education. In our case, Furman University recommends that an individual who has completed the program of teacher preparation be issued a certificate by the State Department of Education. "Accreditation", on the other hand, is given to an institution (not an individual) after it has met state, national, and professional standards of educational quality. Although NCATE has recommended that Furman's Teacher Education Program receive national accreditation, that does not mean that you will be nationally certified. In fact, there is no such thing as national certification (despite the existence of a program called "National Board Certification"). NCATE has partnerships in one way or another with most states and many states recognize South Carolina's certification credential through an agreement known as "reciprocity". "Reciprocity" means that if you go to one of those states, you don't have to repeat the whole certification process. (At most, you might have to take a few additional courses within a certain period of time in order to get full certification in that particular state.) Many of our graduates have little or no difficulty getting their certification credentials recognized by neighboring states (i.e., GA, NC, TN, AL, VA, and KY). If you are contemplating re-locating a significant distance from South Carolina (for example, California), then it might be wise to investigate what those states require of individuals who have been certified in another state.
How do I become a Reading teacher? Does Furman offer reading teacher certification as part of the undergraduate program?
Although we do not offer Reading, now called Literacy, as an undergraduate degree, you can add literacy certification at the post-baccalaureate level (after graduation). If you want to add literacy certification to initial elementary, early childhood, secondary, or PK-12 certification, you can do so by completing approved courses and successfully passing Praxis examinations. Most students complete literacy certification requirements as part of a master's degree (M.A. with a concentration in Literacy). Furman's Literacy concentration is designed to help teachers improve their classroom practices. It also prepares teachers to work as literacy teachers and coaches.