Since 1993, more than 20,000 military veterans have made their way to the classroom as teachers for their follow on career after military service. According to the Department of Defense program and Defense Activities for Non-Traditional Educational Support (DANTES), military members with 4 year college degrees can become teachers in the school systems and teach kindergarten through 12th grade. The program is known of the Troop To Teachers Program (TTT). See official website: ProudtoServeAgain.com.
Military members with a baccalaureate degree or higher are eligible to begin the teaching certification process to become an academic subject teacher. However, many service members may already qualify to become a vocational/technical teacher. Military members only need the equivalent of one year of college courses and six years of experience in a vocational or technical field to begin the certification process.
To complete the process, individuals can use an Alternative Certification Program (ACP) or University Teacher Preparation Program. Military Members within the European theater may benefit from an ACP, since this method offers online courses to obtain the teaching certification. Even better, there is no cost to participate in the program for the military member. This is free on the job training. The TTT program provides counseling, referrals, and job assistance to all current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces who want to transition to a teaching career.
Military members from all of the armed forces can use tuition assistance for their teaching certification while on active duty. Members may also be eligible for financial assistance for teacher certification expenses - a $5,000 stipend or up to $10,000 bonus based on eligibility. A commitment to teaching for three years in a “high-need” school district or at a high school with a high percentage of low-income families is part of the obligation for receiving some forms of financial aid.
The Defense Human Resources Activity (DHRA) and the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) are authorized by statute which permits the Secretary of Defense to make grants to states in order to support efforts of recruiting eligible current and former members of the military for the Troops to Teachers program. This helps to facilitate the employment of participants as K-12 teachers, and career or technical teachers in Vocational Schools. Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 grants help the states selected provide services for a term of up to 5 years through May 2023.
There are 31 state TTT offices nationwide that offer placement assistance for the more than 50 states and territories participating in the program. Offices can assist military members with state certification requirements. Service members can take advantage of the TTT Web site to correspond with representatives and receive alternative certification information.
“It’s important to focus on where you want to teach, to start checking what your state’s requirements are. Teacher certification is done state-to-state, not nationally. But some states will recognize another state’s certification,” said John Gantz, director of the TTT program.
The program began in 1993 during the military downsizing of the early 90's as transition assistance towards a teaching career. The military members who have become teachers have established a good reputation for the program with school administrators and principals. “School systems are finding former military members to be very valuable assets. They bring leadership skills, a concern for their students (similar to their troops) and a lot of experience to the classroom," said Gantz.
Schools are also seeing a higher retention rate from former military members than teachers who just finished college.
The cultural diversity of the military is proving an added bonus, as the program is providing individuals from a variety of backgrounds. “Schools are looking for a stronger presence of male and minority teachers at the elementary level. A lot of kids are being raised by one parent, and schools are looking for positive role models to help fill that void,” added Gantz.
Teaching positions are available at the elementary, middle and high school levels in suburban, small towns, rural and inner-city areas. There is a higher demand for math, science and special education teachers. Positions for other subjects are obtainable, but applicants may need to be more flexible with location.
Vision of the Troop To Teachers Program
Every service member interested in a career in teaching will receive assistance to transition his or her leadership, training, and core values to teaching in kindergarten through grade twelve schools.
Mission of the Troop To Teachers Program
Assist transitioning Service members with meeting the requirements necessary to become teachers
Assist program participants with finding employment as a teacher when eligible
Goals of the Troop To Teachers Program
Reduce veteran unemployment
Improve American education by providing motivated, experienced, and dedicated personnel for the nation's classrooms
Increase the number of male and minority teachers in today's classrooms
Address teacher shortage issues in K-12 schools that serve low-income families and in the critical subjects - math, science, special education, foreign language, and career-technical education.
Military Members can consult their TTT representative on job availabilities, or check the Department of Education Web site at www.teachers-teachers.com. The Web site lists teaching vacancies for each state.
Service members interested in the Troops to Teachers program can get more information from their state TTT office, stateside DSN 312-922-1241 or on-line at www.ProudToServeAgain.com.