Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Jianping Shen

Second Advisor

Dr. Sue Poppink

Third Advisor

Dr. Regena Fails Nelson


The alternative teacher certification policy has been firmly in place for more than a decade, but there have been conflicting reports on its effects. I conducted the study to investigate whether the policy has materialized its promise. I compared the characteristics of alternatively certified (AC) and traditionally certified (TC) teachers by analyzing data from a nationally representative sample of public school teachers (N = 27,810). The sample was constructed from the Schools and Staffing Survey 2007-08, a national survey conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. I investigated what teacher characteristics (such as age, gender, ethnicity, total years of teaching, certification level, bachelor’s degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math [STEM], and teaching level) and school characteristics (such as percentage of minority students, percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, school size, and school location) predicted the membership of AC teachers. I also investigated whether AC and TC teachers were different in their levels of job commitment and satisfaction. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was used in the analyses.

The following were key findings. First, AC appeared to diversify the teaching force by recruiting a higher percentage of older individuals, minorities and males into teaching. Second, AC appeared to alleviate the teacher shortage by having a higher percentage of AC teachers in larger, secondary schools where a higher percentage of minority students were found. Third, AC recruited a higher percentage of STEM-trained candidates into teaching. However, there was no difference between AC and TC teachers in their likelihood of teaching STEM subjects. Finally, there were no statistically significant differences between AC and TC teachers in their levels of job satisfaction and commitment. Implications for policy and further studies were discussed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Campus Only

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