The requirements for teacher certification differ from state to state, but there are fast track options for teacher certification in every state. According to a 1985-2008 study conducted by the National Center For Alternative Education, the state that consistently certified the most teachers through alternative routes was Texas. Other states that use alternative certification frequently are California, Massachusetts, Virginia, and New Jersey. Three common types of fast track certification programs are four or five year programs, emergency certification, and associate licensure.

Four and Five Year Programs

Four and five year teaching programs offer students a bachelor's degree in education and a teaching certificate. These programs tend to be faster than earning a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in teaching. In addition to passing academic courses, students must also pass their state's basic skills exam in order to receive a license.

Emergency Certification

In some situations school districts need teachers quickly and will fast track employees for certification. Often people who receive emergency certification are teachers who need to be endorsed in a particular subject area quickly. In some states, teachers in training are contracted teachers for their time student teaching. The details of emergency certification by state can be found at the website of the National Center For Alternative Certification.

Associate License for Paraprofessionals

Several states provide accelerated teaching certification opportunities for paraprofessionals. Because paraeducators often have years of classroom experience, they are sometimes offered the option of becoming certified while enrolled in an undergraduate program. Paraeducators who are bilingual will have an advantage in many states.