Teach in Five

Complete an undergraduate degree in a field of your choice and remain to complete your graduate teaching degree, including initial New York State teaching certification, in five years at Ithaca College.

Our Teach in Five program provides guidance and advice to undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in elementary, middle, or high school teaching. You can join the program as early as your application to Ithaca College as a first year student, or as late as your senior year (depending on your major). The program is flexible and has multiple points of entry. Through Teach in Five, you will also be invited to participate in educational and social activities to help you get to know other students interested in teaching, alums who share their experiences, and guidance on the graduate school application process. Upon successful completion of all graduate school prerequisites and undergraduate degree program requirements, you’ll be fast-tracked for admission to our graduate program.

Through Teach in Five advising, you will understand how to complete your bachelors degree, masters degree, and New York State initial teaching certification right here at Ithaca College! During your first four years, you can lean on us for support as you complete a major in a field of your choice and participate in our popular Education Studies minor. 

Selecting Your Undergraduate Major

If you are interested in teaching elementary school, you will find that you can major in almost any undergraduate degree that you want! You will need to make sure you take 6-9 credits (generally, two classes) in each of the following areas, as well as college coursework or demonstrated proficiency in a language other than English:  

  •  English language arts (for instance, English, Writing, Communications) 
  •  Mathematics (for instance, Mathematics, Statistics) 
  •  Science (for instance, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Physics) 
  •  Social Studies (for instance, History, Government/Political Science, Geography) 

If you are interested in teaching middle school or high school, New York State does not require a major in the discipline you’d like to teach, but it does require substantial coursework in the discipline. So, you should plan to major in the discipline you would like to teach. For example, if you’d like to teach English, you would be an English major. This pathway would ensure that you would meet the disciplinary prerequisites. However, you may also be able to meet the disciplinary prerequisites by being very thoughtful in your course selection. The Teach in Five program will help in providing more guidance based on your specific interests.  

You will have several teaching degree options to choose from when you remain for graduate school at Ithaca College, depending upon your area of interest. Your graduate degree is completed within thirteen months of your undergraduate graduation. You'll finish your graduate degree fully prepared for your own elementary, middle, or high school classroom.  

Preparing for Graduate School

The Teach in Five program will help you with making sure you meet prerequisite requirements for graduate school in education. Ithaca College does offer graduate education teaching degree programs. Our programs are open to all students who meet prerequisite requirements, including those who completed an undergraduate degree at IC and those who are coming from other undergraduate institutions. As a member of the Teach in Five program though, you will be fast-tracked to enter our graduate education teaching program and are exempt from writing a personal statement, submitting letters of recommendation, or paying an application fee!

In general, some things to know about being ready for graduate school include: 

  • You must earn a cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • Each teaching certification area (ex: Social Studies grades 7-12, Childhood Education grades 1-6, Agriculture Education grades 1-12) has specific coursework prerequisites as well; you should work with your major advisor and Education Studies advisor to make sure you complete these course requirements. 
  • For the Ithaca College graduate program, you must take EDUC 21010: Educational Psychology, EDUC 34000: Social & Cultural Foundations of Education, and EDUC 22900: Early Field Experience: Theory & Practice, all of which are included in the Education Studies minor.  

At Ithaca College, most of our education graduate students are eligible for sizeable tuition discounts as well as paid graduate assistantships. Further, if you are either a STEM field major OR pursuing your graduate degree in a STEM teaching field, you would be eligible to apply for a NOYCE scholarship

Completing graduate school will increase your base pay in New York and many other states. Research also shows that teachers who enter the field with masters degree level preparation are more likely to stay in the teaching profession, which will ensure a steady income in the years to come.  

More Information About Teach in Five

Sara Levy Chair, Department of Education