College of Education

Graduate Teacher Certification Program (GTC)

"Transition to Teaching"

"Grand Valley's GTC Program has been a wonderful experience for me. I was blessed to not only be placed at historic Grand Rapids Central High School, but with an awesome mentor teacher as well. Ms. Baker allowed me to try various teaching strategies to enhance student learning. Thanks to her tutelage and my GTC instructor's encouragement, I have found my niche so to speak. I am what is known as a "teacher performer." My job is not only to teach my students English; but to "infotain" them. It is important for my students to be able to relate the literature to their lives! The GTC Program gave me the opportunity to touch many young minds and hearts. I just gave my students what they (GTC instructors and staff) gave me...a chance."  Kate Carpenter


Individuals who are thinking about making a transition to a  teaching career may consider the Graduate Teacher Certification (GTC) program. It is an intensive, one-year, full-time teacher training program for adults who hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college and who already have, or are willing to acquire, a "teachable" major (and possibly a teachable minor) prior to joining the program, as well as meet additional entrance requirements. Teachable majors and minors are referenced below.

The program combines teacher education course work with two consecutive semesters of field placement in a local school. At the completion of the program, students will have earned a teaching certificate as well as graduate credit toward a master's degree. The full master's degree can be completed following certification. All prospective candidates are advised to attend an information session for more detailed explanations. Please call 616-331-6650 to register for one of the monthly information sessions. Additional information is available here.

Elementary Level Teaching: An individual interested in elementary level teaching is required to have to a teachable subject major, and would be certified to teach all subjects K-5. In addition, the elementary certification allows an individual to teach grades 6-8 (middle school) in the subject major.
Secondary Level Teaching: An individual interested in teaching at the secondary level is required to have a teachable major and minor and would be certified to teach grades 6-12 in the subject major and/or minor.

Those who wish to become certified as elementary or secondary level teachers are required to have a teachable subject major completed before entering the GTC program. Secondary level candidates also need to have a nearly complete teachable minor.

To self-evaluate your transcripts for a teachable major/minor that you are interested in, visit the CLAS academic advising center website for a complete selection.  (Note: Self-evaluation of your coursework is helpful but not official.)
Teachable subject areas offered at Grand Valley

Elementary Level Teachable Majors Secondary Level Teachable Majors
Secondary Level Teachable Minors
Integrated Science Language Arts
Social Studies

Elementary Minor
The elementary minor is included in the elementary teaching coursework   

Earth/Space Science
Music (K-12)
Physical Ed.(K-12)
Social Studies

Visual Arts (K-12)

Computer Science
Earth/Space Sci
Health Education
Physical Ed.
Political Science


    "Great teachers fill you up with hope and shower you with a thousand reasons to embrace all aspects of life."
Pat Conroy-My Losing Season

Kathie Carruth

GTC Program Coursework

Candidates who meet admission requirements are accepted into the program in February and are placed in either an elementary or secondary level cohort group. The cohort groups are a resource for friendship and support throughout the program. The sequence of teacher education courses leading to certification begins spring/summer term. Both groups conclude their studies at the end of April the following year.

 Elementary Certification with Elementary Minor
 36 Credit Hours

Spring/Summer Sessions 

May - June  (six weeks)
EDI 631 Teaching Science: K-12 (3 credits)
EDI 632 Teaching Creative and Performing Arts (3 credits)

May  - July  (on-line course)
EDS 652  Foundations of  Special Education (3 credits) Online

June  - August  (six weeks)
EDI 635  Development and Needs of Students (3 credits)
EDI 633 Teaching Social Studies and Diversity (3 credits) 

Fall Session

August  - December

EDI 685  Practicum/Graduate Field Placement, (20 hours per week, 3 credits) plus cohort group meeting and four seminars
EDI 638  Facilitating School Environments (3 credits)
EDI 630 Teaching Mathematics:  K-8 (3 credits)
EDR 622 Developmental Literacy for Children (3 credits)

Winter Session

January  - April

EDI 685 Practicum/Graduate Field Experience, (full days, 6 credits)
Monday through Friday all day, plus cohort meeting and seminar
EDR 627 Literacy Strategies for the Content Areas (3 credits) 

Secondary Certification
27 Credit Hours  

Summer Session

June  - August
EDI 635  Development and Needs of Students (3 credits)

EDS 652  Foundations of Special Education (3 credits)

Fall Session

August  - December
EDI 685  Practicum/Graduate Field Placement, (20 hours per week, 3 credits) plus cohort meeting and four seminars

EDI 638  Facilitating School Environments (3 credits)
EDR 623  Development Literacy for Adolescents (3 credits)
EDI 636 Instruction in Middle and High Schools (3 credits)

Winter Session

January 11 - April 30
EDI 685  Practicum/Graduate Field Placement (6 credits)
Monday through Friday all day, plus cohort meeting and seminar

EDT 627 Technlogy Integration for Secondary Teachers (3 credits on-line)   

"If you have harbored or developed a passion for teaching the next generation, the Graduate Teacher Certification Program at Grand Valley State University can allow you to pursue that dream. Challenging class work and field experience taught and supervised by experienced and dedicated faculty may revise preconceived notions about teaching but only strengthen the determination for a goal meant to be. The GTC program is a rigorous academic experience - the result is thorough preparation for a second career as an effective educator of young people."

Robert Johnson, MD

To speak with an advisor, call 616 331-6650.


Page last modified June 12, 2013