Already taught abroad, need help with my initial certificate

brentk
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:57 pm

Already taught abroad, need help with my initial certificate

Post by brentk »

Hi everyone,

I have been scouring these forums, reading back over questions that have been asked regarding the teaching license situations of Americans from various states. I wanted to specifically ask my questions and hopefully get some good advice from you experts on here!

I am a 32-year-old American who has taught abroad multiple times. Back in 2017, after returning to the US from a stint teaching ESL with EF in China in 2014-2015, I obtained my initial teaching certificate in the state of South Carolina after completing an MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) graduate program at a university in South Carolina. I'm certified to teach Social Studies in grades 5-8 in South Carolina, through June 2020, with my current SC initial certificate.

Immediately upon completing my MAT degree and student teaching in June 2017, I accepted a job with a British Columbia offshore school in China. I taught in the Social Sciences department of one of the private high schools, run by this well known British Columbia-affiliated international school company, in a major city in China from August 2017 to June of this year (2019). As part of this position, and utilizing my initial teaching credential in South Carolina, I obtained a 5-year British Columbia Conditional Certificate of Qualification (CoQ) that is valid through 2022. This major international school company in China had told me I was going to receive a lifetime/non-expiring British Columbia teaching credential, but that did not turn out to be the case. I left that school/company when my contract was complete back in June of this year.

At the moment, I am back in the States and have started a full-time teaching position in Social Studies at a public middle school in South Carolina. However, for a number of reasons I do not desire to stay in South Carolina any longer than I feel I have to. The public school I am in at the moment is a challenging inner-city school and is lacking in support, has extremely high teacher turnover, and is generally not a place I want to be beyond this year. Many teachers regularly don't make it one year at this school. On top of that, I am a native of the state of Ohio and only moved to South Carolina out of necessity a number of years back, when I was unable to find work after completing my undergraduate degree in Columbus at the height of the Great Recession. I want out of South Carolina and am seriously considering any options I can find to teach abroad permanently, if possible.

What advice is there for my situation, currently holding a South Carolina initial teaching certificate that expires in June 2020, and that requires going through the state's "ADEPT" evaluation process here in SC to be moved from the 3-year initial cert to a 5-year professional cert?

The public school I am currently at has me on 'induction' this year and said they will apply for an extension of my initial SC certificate at the end of this school year, basically putting me in a situation here in South Carolina I further don't want to be in. I am looking for a state to proactively apply for a teaching certificate in immediately, in order to not depend on South Carolina and my cert here. I have seen some past threads mentioning that New Jersey, Missouri, California, and a couple of other states might be good options to apply for.

I want a state that will issue a license, where I won't have to worry about an INITIAL certificate expiring in three years if one is not working in the public schools in that state towards a professional cert in that state. That is: I want a license I can use internationally and send PD info to to extend, not needing to actually be in the public school system of the state itself.

South Carolina's Dept of Education is really terrible in that they don't really recognize anything from out of their state, as it comes to holding on to a teaching credential in this state. So one has to be in the public school system of SC to hold onto their license at all: people teaching at private schools in SC also only have a small waiver and can lose their license if they don't get into the SC public schools within a specified period of time.

So should I apply for a New Jersey license? If I get an initial NJ license will this allow me a license that I can renew from Vietnam, China, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, or wherever I decide to venture to next?!! Does New Jersey or Missouri have initial licenses that can be renewed from abroad with PD evidence only? I have also applied to the Department of Defense Education system, so I wonder what licenses are used for the schools serving US military bases abroad.

Thank you so much!

Brent K


PsyGuy
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Response

Post by PsyGuy »

What was your first/bachelors degree in?

Assuming your bachelors as in something related to social studies/humanities I would first try applying for QTS from the UKs TCL/TRA. QTS is a lifetime, no renal credential, that if your academic background is congruent with your teaching field would be a very easy option. the application take maybe 15 minutes and youll get a response including issuance if granted within a few weeks of providing a complete application.

If that doesnt work or doesnt suit meet your needs than yes NJ would be the next recommended pathway, because even if you dont meet the experience requirements for the standard credential you met the requirements for the CEAS which is also a lifetime credential that requires no PD. However, given your experience you may want to wait on the NJ application until you are sure you meet the experience requirement because you can not transition to the standard credential once you have the CEAS without teaching in NJ and completing their induction program. The other option seeing as you have three years of experience is to apply for the HI standard (professional grade) credential which is a 5 year renewable credential but the internet would be during those 5 years to either meet the experience requirements for NJ or to add an ESOL credential through PRAXIS testing in HI and then apply for the CA CLEAR credential.

I wouldnt try Vermont, sure you would likely get an initial credential from them, but youll have the same renewal problem in 3 years as you do now, except you could use Uni credits to renew.

brentk
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:57 pm

Re: Already taught abroad, need help with my initial certifi

Post by brentk »

Thank you so much, PsyGuy.

I had already applied for a Vermont license, based on the original recommendation posted here. That is in process. I had also already applied for a QTS from the UK. I am waiting for them to make a decision there, had to have the South Carolina people send them a letter on my status. It is always a pain getting South Carolina to do anything.

I am also considering exploring how tedious it would be to advance my British Columbia Certificate of Qualification to the non-expiring level. Seems like it will be a pain, as I am considering how to enroll in distance learning from a Canadian university as an American.

If I get the QTS I will be happy. In addition, I will look at what you mentioned about NJ, HI, and CA CLEAR. It really stinks how difficult things are made with all these bureaucracies. I enjoy teaching so much, but all this crap takes the joy out of it and makes it hard to plan for the future.

brentk
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:57 pm

Re: Already taught abroad, need help with my initial certifi

Post by brentk »

Just got my reply from the QTS folks in the UK. They turned me down saying I only hold an initial license in South Carolina and to come back when I have a professional license. :(

Can I appeal this with them somehow on experience grounds, PsyGuy? My bachelor's is in history. I guess I will look more into NJ and even how I can move my British Columbia certificate from 5-year conditional to non-expiring with more coursework crap!

I inquired with the person I was guided by with the Vermont license application and they said that I would just need to show 45 hours of "professional learning" every 3 years to maintain a level I Vermont license. When I inquired further, this person said that this can be PD stuff and does not need to be university credits. I wonder??? Thanks :)

PsyGuy
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Post by PsyGuy »

@Brentk

It was worth a shot, the potential advantage was significant and there really arent any negatives other than not getting approved for QTS.

You could advance the BC certificate, it depends what your evaluation deficiencies were. This would be on your evaluation report from the BC DOE.

You could appeal based on applying with the CAN BC certificate, but it will very likely be denied as well and for the same reasons. The BC conditional certificate of qualification is essentially a temporary permit. Experience doesnt matter to the TCL/TRA its not a criterion. You could apply to CT for their initial credential (entry grade) based on the two years of experience, which still wont get you QTS. The other option is to wait until the end of this year (2020) and apply for the HI standard (professional grade) credential after you have the required 3 years experience and then use that to apply for QTS.

When you look at the acceptable forms of PD to renew the Vermont initial credential as an IT OS you either have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get something to work and risk your renewal being denied because they didnt accept your activity or doing Uni coursework and yes, 3 credits (45 contact hours) is only a single (typical) course.
Why bother with all of that though? Apply for the NJ CEAS which is a lifetime credential that you wont need to ever renew or do PD for. Where is the benefit of the Vermont initial credential, it has more costs, more work, more resources, and is time limited. If luck is on your side NJ may even accept the 2 years of OS IT experience for the standard credential, which you could use to get QTS as well, but even if they deny the standard credential youre still getting the lifetime, no renewal or PD required CEAS credential. Of course once they issue the CEAS you wont be able to transition to the standard credential.
You dont have any pressing needs, your SC credential is valid for this recruiting season, so in May/June 2020 with your three years experience apply for the HI standard credential, and then go from there with QTS and potentially either NJ or CA, unless you want to be done with it now and having the NJ CEAS vs. the standard credential doesnt matter to you in which case you can apply for the CEAS now.

If you have to use Uni coursework to renew a credential its cheaper, and less work just to transfer credentials from state to state, but eventually (sooner rather than later) either NJ becomes an option for the lifetime standard credential which gets you QTs or the HI standard 5 year credential gets you QTS the only difference is whether you want to keep a US credential on top of the QTS.

GrumblesMcGee
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Re: Already taught abroad, need help with my initial certifi

Post by GrumblesMcGee »

CEAS?

PsyGuy
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Post by PsyGuy »

@GrumblesMcGee

CEAS = Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing. NJ professional grade credential. When issued through mutual recognitiony requires completion of a EPP/ITT program that included both field work and exam assessment; for those who graduated since 2017 it also requires them to have successfully been formally evaluated.

brentk
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:57 pm

Re: Already taught abroad, need help with my initial certifi

Post by brentk »

@PsyGuy

Thanks. I have now applied for a NJ certificate. Their application site just had me type in my info, not upload anything or deal with transcripts, and then pay the fee. Do you know if they request uploads of documents and transcripts from my universities after an initial review or something? It didn't really even have a spot to specifically say where my out-of-state certificate is from. I just inserted that myself on the information I entered in for my educational background.

On the list of what I was applying for, the CEAS didn't seem to correspond with what I thought I was looking for (Social Studies Grades 5-8 certification), so I just clicked the box for 'Standard' on the application. Wonder if I will have to talk with them about this, to 'correct' it, or if they'll just default me to the CEAS when they see my SC initial certificate?

Thanks again.

brentk
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:57 pm

Re: Already taught abroad, need help with my initial certifi

Post by brentk »

I have obtained the initial, three-year Vermont teaching license. Been told that I will be able to provide PD evidence to advance this if I am not in Vermont itself. I'm looking internationally, strongly, at the moment. Probably for next school year, just surviving the terrible situation at the public school here in South Carolina. My New Jersey application, for a Standard license (Grades 5-8), is listed as "In-Process" still. I have submitted all my documents, transcripts, etc. to them, so keeping my fingers crossed for New Jersey!!

PsyGuy
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Post by PsyGuy »

@brentk

You can not transition the level 1 (entry grade) credential to the level 2 (professional grade) credential without teaching in VT having obtained the VT credential through reciprocity/mutual recognition. You can meet the PD requirements outside of VT to renew the level 1 credential. The problem always comes down to is that its a gamble what may or may not be accepted. Uni course credits little risk there, a 6 hour Saturday workshop your ISs leadership gives you, much more risky. Why bother with that at all the NJ CEAS and standard credentials are both lifetime credentials. Why bother with outlining a 3 year PD plan for renewal EVERY 3 years?

Historically, NJ use to be fail safe, of its three credentials (all are lifetime credentials) an IT that was professionally credentialed qualified for one of them. However, there changes to the CE credential left a hole that ITs could potentially fall through.

brentk
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:57 pm

Re: Reply

Post by brentk »

PsyGuy wrote:
> @brentk
>
> You can not transition the level 1 (entry grade) credential to the level 2
> (professional grade) credential without teaching in VT having obtained the
> VT credential through reciprocity/mutual recognition. You can meet the PD
> requirements outside of VT to renew the level 1 credential. The problem
> always comes down to is that its a gamble what may or may not be accepted.
> Uni course credits little risk there, a 6 hour Saturday workshop your ISs
> leadership gives you, much more risky. Why bother with that at all the NJ
> CEAS and standard credentials are both lifetime credentials. Why bother
> with outlining a 3 year PD plan for renewal EVERY 3 years?
>
> Historically, NJ use to be fail safe, of its three credentials (all are
> lifetime credentials) an IT that was professionally credentialed qualified
> for one of them. However, there changes to the CE credential left a hole
> that ITs could potentially fall through.

I was just "denied" on my New Jersey application. This is such crap! I have the Vermont license, not sure how/who to appeal with in New Jersey.

I applied for the: 1104-Elementary School with Subject Matter Specialization: Social Studies in Grades 5 - 8

And it now shows denied, when it had been showing in process for the longest time. I have emailed them asking for an explanation, how I can request a reconsideration, and showing them both my South Carolina license and my new Vermont license again!

PsyGuy
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Post by PsyGuy »

@brentk

The VT credential isnt worth anything to NJ, its nothing more or better than the SC credential. Having more than one or a bunch of entry grade credentials do not equal more than an entry grade credential.

I read that you qualified for the SC credential as part of an EPP/ITT Masters (MAT) program. Did you complete any professional edu exams for your SC initial credential? My preliminaryinclination is that you didnt and that your EPP/ITT program didnt meet the requirements for the CE because those requirements are a lot more nuanced, and that is why it was denied.

You call them at 6092922070.

brentk
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:57 pm

Re: Already taught abroad, need help with my initial certifi

Post by brentk »

@PsyGuy

I talked with a NJ DOE person on the phone today. She said that the reason I was denied for their Middle School Social Studies (1104) license was because of the rules NJ has specifically for middle school certification. She told me that to get a middle school certification in NJ, in any subject, one actually needs to already possess a different NJ license.

She told me that my SC and VT licenses, because they are for middle school (5-8) level, are not considered for reciprocity in New Jersey. She said I would need to get another NJ certificate, via the whole process for it, to THEN try to get the middle school certificate in NJ. In place of this, she mentioned that I could look at applying for a "general" K-12 Social Studies license in NJ (code: 2300), using my transcripts and university credits and taking their Social Studies Content Area Praxis, if all I was looking for was to have a NJ license to teach abroad again going forward.

What is EPP/ITT? I did earn my MAT degree as part of getting my SC license.

brentk
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:57 pm

Re: Already taught abroad, need help with my initial certifi

Post by brentk »

I find it especially "humorous" that I would need to take the Social Studies content area Praxis in NJ, if I go for their general K-12 Social Studies cert (code: 2300), because I already passed the Social Studies content area Praxis in SC back when I got my SC license during my MAT at Clemson.

The NJ DOE person said it is only middle school certification that is treated this way in NJ. She said that their middle grades cert there is only a "co" certificate that one can add-on to another, already existing NJ certificate. I think she said some form of Special Needs licenses also have this policy as well in NJ. PsyGuy, have you ever heard of this in NJ?? She said it was basically bad luck for me that my SC and VT certificates are for grades 5-8 in SC and 5-9 in VT, as she again said NJ doesn't consider the middle grades level certifications of other states for reciprocity until one has a different, non-middle grades NJ cert ALREADY. So the middle school cert is only an "add-on", according to what I was told by her out of their office.

My plans are taking me in a different direction at the moment, but I will keep studying things out there.

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