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Texas Tech University will slow the pace of its TechTeach Across Texas educator preparation program for Hill Country students starting in the fall of 2021, changing it from an accelerated, one-year format into a two-year format. 

Students will still gain experience through a teaching residency and earn a bachelor’s degree and teaching certification upon completion, but they will do so at a more relaxed pace, the university announced in a media release July 1.

The change was made to meet the needs of non-traditional college students, those who are older and often work while attending school. TTU reports that 94 percent of its TechTeach Across Texas students in the Hill Country fit into that category.

“The accelerated, one-and-done format is nice, but it is also incredibly rigorous, and students can’t work while in the program,” said Michele Hicks, advisor for TechTeach Across Texas. “The area’s cost of living and demographics are such that most students are non-traditional and need the flexibility to work at least part time.”

Students who enter the program participate in a yearlong teaching residency in either the Marble Falls or Fredericksburg school districts, working with a mentor teacher four days a week. Site coordinators, who are Texas Tech faculty members, are based in the school districts to provide more mentorship and guidance. Most coursework is completed online, but students also have a face-to-face class each semester with their local site coordinator.

Admission to the program requires an Associate of Arts in Teaching degree, or equivalent coursework, usually earned locally at Central Texas College

“It is very exciting that Texas Tech is adjusting the experience for Hill Country students based on their needs,” said Dr. Chris Allen, superintendent for Marble Falls Independent School District. “We like to hire TechTeach Across Texas graduates because they are prepared within our community, specifically for our schools. They are able to begin their careers with the skills and experience of a second-year teacher.”

TechTeach Across Texas is a clinically intensive, competency-based educator preparation program offered by Texas Tech in partnership with school districts and community colleges across Texas. The program focuses on meeting the needs of aspiring teachers who wish to remain in their home communities.

For more information, visit the TechTeach Across Texas webpage.