The University of Miami School of Education offers over 20 undergraduate programs to its students, but perhaps one of the most useful programs is the one geared towards those not necessarily in the School of Education. The Professional Training Option (PTO) is a program consisting of an 18-credit education minor that allows students to obtain a temporary teaching certificate.
According to a School of Education issued pamphlet, “The PTO is a Florida Department of Education approved pathway for non-education majors to complete the Professional Education component, one of the requirements to become a certified teacher in the State of Florida.”
Shawn Post, associate dean of the School of Education, said the program is open to any UM student with 18 free credits.
“We’re expecting that this program will be large as a minor program because it is open to any student across campus,” Post said. “I’ve had business students come over to us and communication students.”
One of those communications students is Ileana Hernandez, a junior double majoring in broadcast journalism and theatre arts with a fine arts PTO in secondary education. Hernandez originally considered a major in education, but realized it was not her passion. Instead of wasting credits already taken, the School told her about the PTO.
“I think it’s a great opportunity and it gives me an option when I graduate,” Hernandez said. “If I’m not able to pursue a career in the entertainment world, then I would probably teach high school drama, film, or TV production.”
If she does end up teaching, Hernandez feels the PTO program will prepare her well.
“We take specific classes designed to gear us towards teaching and for most of the classes you have to complete 20 hours of field experience at a designated school,” Hernandez said.
Aside from the 60-80 hours of field experience accumulated over four courses, students in a PTO will also have their transcripts stamped upon graduation.
“Once the state sees the professional training stamp on their transcript, they consider all their coursework complete to get a teaching certification,” Post said. “However, they’re only granted a three-year temporary certificate.”
Students who complete a full education major become licensed teachers and receive a five-year permanent certificate that can be renewed after it expires. The three-year temporary, on the other hand, cannot be renewed. However, there is the option to change the temporary plan into a permanent one.
“If at any time [PTO students] decide to add the associate teaching semester and its one course in ESOL, English for Speakers of Other Languages, then they can get the five-year plan,” Post said.
With this opportunity and with the on-the-job training students can do with their temporary certificate, Post, like Hernandez, believes the PTO prepares students well. Approved in June 2007 for the University of Miami, the PTO is only one of many attempts by the state of Florida at alternative certification programs. In the past, other programs produced teachers, but those teachers were not retained in schools.
“With this PTO the state got it right,” Post said. “We’re very happy to be part of this program.”
The multimedia section could include a box with contact information for Robin Shane, Director of Undergraduate Academic Services, who is the contact for the Undergraduate PTO Program and Dr. Gloria Pelaez, Director of Teacher Education Programs and Accreditation, who is the contact for the Graduate PTO Program:
Ms. Robin Shane Dr. Gloria Pelaez
Director of Undergraduate Director of Teacher Education
Academic Services Programs & Accreditation
Dr. Post teaches a course in the PTO curriculum and actually has Ileana Hernandez as one of her students. This would be the best photo opportunity since I could have a picture with both sources used in my article.