New Data: AACTE Finds College and University-Based Alternative Teacher Preparation Programs More Effectively Address Educator Shortage than Alternative Programs Outside of Higher Ed

(December 1, 2022, Washington, D.C.) – Today AACTE (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education) released a new analysis focusing on alternative preparation programs run by institutions of higher education (IHE-based alternative programs). The study shows that IHE- based alternative teacher preparation programs are bringing more educators to the strained workforce than alternative programs run by organizations other than colleges and universities.

“This new analysis confirms that colleges and universities serve a critical role in preparing qualified future educators for the profession,” says AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone, Ed.D. “These IHE-based alternative-based programs are doing the critical work of addressing the teacher shortage by providing those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree with a streamlined path to becoming fully licensed teachers.”

Earlier this year, AACTE collaborated with the Center for American Progress (CAP) to update and expand an analysis CAP had originally published on alternative teacher certification programs run by entities other than institutions of higher education. Today’s newly released AACTE issue brief is a companion to that report — focusing on IHE-based alternative programs, with newly available data for the 2019-20 academic year.

Of the 747 alternative teacher preparation programs that reported enrollment during the 2019-20 academic year, 515 were operated by colleges and universities. The new data show that IHE-based alternative programs produce more graduates than non-IHE programs given their enrollment, both overall and for candidates of color.

According to the AACTE brief, while enrollment in non-IHE alternative programs swelled by almost 150% from 2011 to 2020, the number of students completing these programs actually declined by 12%. In contrast, the number of students enrolling in IHE-based alternative programs during the same period declined by a comparatively modest 8%, but the number of students completing these programs rose by 10%.

“This research will be beneficial to state policymakers as they consider ways to address the teacher shortage,” said Anne Tapp, Ph.D., AACTE Advisory Council of State Representatives Chair. “State departments of education need to also be aware of this research as they determine the needs of P-12 students and advocate for the best route to train their teachers.”

The report was authored by AACTE senior consultant Jacqueline King, Ph.D., who also co-authored the companion report with the Center for American Progress.



Established in 1948, AACTE is the leading voice in educator preparation. AACTE’s member institutions and programs prepare the greatest number of professional educators in the United States and its territories, including teachers, counselors, administrators, and college faculty, for careers in PK-12 classrooms, colleges and universities, state and governmental agencies, policy institutes, and non-profit organizations. The AACTE alliance of colleges and universities and educator preparation programs collaborates with members and partners to advance the field of education by prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion, and engaging in research-based inquiry, advocacy, and innovative practice. Learn more at

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