Students interested in receiving their Kansas teacher certification have many schools from which to choose. The four largest higher-learning institutes in the Sunflower State, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Wichita State University, and Fort Hays State University, all have quality, state-accredited programs for students hoping to become educators.
Bigger doesn’t always mean better, of course, and it’s important that students choose Kansas teacher education programs based not on size but on the program that fits a student’s needs. Remember that secondary teachers, those teaching middle and high school, receive majors in their core area, not in education. It might be prudent, then, to choose the school offering the best program in the teaching discipline, math or science, for instance, rather than the best curriculum and instruction program. On the other hand, students interested in teaching pre-K through elementary are required to receive a degree (not just a certificate or license) in education, so it’s necessary for them to locate the best teaching schools in Kansas.
Founded in 1866, the University of Kansas ranks 101 on U.S. News & World Report‘s list of best national schools. Its School of Education is highly regarded nationwide, ranking 9th on the same publication’s list of best national education programs, and its Department of Special Education ranks 2nd in the number of published articles in peer-evaluated journals relating to special education. Further, the School of Education recently was awarded a $120 million grant from the Reading for Understanding Research Initiative to “overhaul how reading is taught to U.S. children by 2015”. The school accepts applying students as second-semester sophomores. They must have at least a 2.75 GPA; pass the reading, writing, and math sections of a Pre-Professional Skills Test; and submit two letters of recommendation along with an essay.
About 10% of the students attending K-State, founded in 1863, choose to pursue their Kansas teacher license. Its College of Education, like U of K’s, is also nationally recognized. In February of this year, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education awarded its Best Practice Award for Professional Ethics and Moral Disposition in Teacher Education to K-State’s College of Education. There are two main routes teaching candidates can take when entering the College: elementary (K-6) or secondary (6-12) education. Elementary teachers must declare a concentration, English or math, for instance, whereas, secondary teachers must receive a degree in one or more of 20 approved academic areas.
Located in Kansas’ largest city, Wichita State University was founded in 1895. Eleven percent of its student body is planning on entering education, making it the third most popular area of study. A copy of its program requirements and teacher application packet for elementary school teachers can be found here. Students pursuing teaching certificates in secondary education can choose to teach among 11 disciplines: art, biology, chemistry, Earth and space science, English, foreign language, history and government, journalism, math, music, and physical education. Special education requires a master’s degree.
Founded in 1902 amid the central plains of Kansas, Fort Hays State University has an undergraduate enrollment of 5,190, making it a cozy, relaxed institution. Despite its size, its Department of Teacher Education boasts an impressive 96% employment rate for its graduates. The class sizes are small, allowing education instructors to bond more meaningfully with their students than professors at larger institutions. The school takes great pride in its small-town, traditional education system, which is on display in this welcome video. What Fort Hays offers that some schools do not is its Transition to Teaching Program, which is designed to provide students who already hold a degree an alternate route to becoming Kansas teachers.