Pulaski Technical College students now have the opportunity to experience more preparation for a career in teaching than ever before.
The college's new associate of arts in teaching program allows students who are interested in the education field to maximize the number of education hours they receive before transferring to four-year universities.
"The program, a statewide partnership, allows students to obtain a 20-hour field experience on the Pulaski Tech campus," said Ben Rains, dean of university studies, who supervises all the transfer degree programs at Pulaski Tech. "The goal of the program is to introduce the field of teaching a little earlier on in the college experience."
The teaching program is basically a major within the associate of arts degree, Rains said, adding that the program came about after six months of meetings of school representatives from four-year universities and two-year colleges.
By maximizing the number of hours taken at Pulaski Tech, students can spend more time in specialty education classes once they have moved on to a four-year university.
Rains said the completion of the transfer degree at Pulaski Tech does not immediately qualify a student to be a teacher but better prepares that student for a teacher education program at a four-year university.
He said Arkansas is very much in pursuit of this type of degree because of the shortage of teachers in the area.
"With more students getting more specialty training at the two-year college level, more education majors might graduate with bachelor's degrees from the four-year universities," Rains said.
"Most of the four-year universities in the state are cooperating with the program, accepting the classes as transfer credits."
By the end of a student's coursework in this program at Pulaski Tech, some requirements must be fulfilled. A student must take all of the required courses for the program and the student must have earned a "C" or better in each course in order for that course to transfer. A final grade-point average of 2.65 is required as well.
Each student must also pass the Praxis I teaching exam, one of the nationally-required academic assessments designed to be taken before the junior year to measure reading, writing and mathematical skills. These requirements are necessary to ensure that measurements required for continuing in an education program are present.
Students take classes, such as Introduction to K-12 Technology, that enhance student knowledge of standard technical skills and the educational use of applications. The Introduction to Education course introduces students to the art of teaching.
Currently, the program boasts a middle school teaching track, as the greatest need for teachers falls into the middle school category.
For more information on the associate of arts in teaching, contact the Admissions and Records office at Pulaski Technical College at (501) 812-2231.