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Initial Certification

What is the Initial Certification Program?

Any Georgia public school teacher in the State of Georgia is required to be certified by the Professional Standards Commission (PSC). The University of West Georgia (UWG) offers an initial certification program for people who have at least a bachelor's degree and wish to take just the classes needed for state certification. We offer several different initial certification programs. The program requirements will vary by subject. Once a person successfully completes the initial certification process with UWG, he or she will be recommended for certification with the PSC. Listed below are the certification programs, the certification grade levels, and the program contact person:

Who are the Initial Certification Advisors?

Early Childhood Education, Grades P-5
Classes offered daytime only.
Contact Bethany Schmelzer at (678) 839-5539 or bschmelz@westga.edu.

Art Education P-12
Contact Kevin Shunn at (678) 839-4960 or kshunn@westga.edu.

Foreign Language Education P-12
Contact Dr. Denise Overfield at (678) 839-6405 or doverfie@westga.edu

Music Education, Grades P-12
Contact Dr. Kevin Hibbard at (678) 839-6516 or khibbard@westga.edu

How do I apply to the Early Childhood Initial Certification Program?

There are three steps to being accepted into the Initial Certification program: having your transcripts evaluated, applying to the Office of Graduate Studies, and being advised for your classes once you have been accepted into the program.

  1. Transcript Evaluation:
    Initial Certification program sheets have specific education and subject content class requirements. A transcript evaluation will need to be done to determine which classes that you have taken can be used on your program sheet. Once the evaluation is completed, you will receive a program sheet detailing everything you will need for certification in the State of Georgia. The cost of each subject evaluation is $25. Please allow 2-3 weeks for the evaluation. A transcript evaluation request form may be printed from this website.
  2. Application to the Office of Graduate Studies:
    You may apply to the Office of Graduate Studies online at http://www.westga.edu/~gradsch/
    The minimum GPA requirement is a 2.5 GPA. 
  3. Advisement:
    Once you have received your acceptance letter from the Office of Graduate Studies, contact your Education advisor to review your program and to be advised for the next semester's classes.

What is the difference between provisional certification (non-renewable 3 year certificate) and UWG's Initial Certification (clear and renewable certificate)?

The University of West Georgia offers an Initial Certification program where students with bachelor's degrees may take just the classes they need to obtain clear and renewable certification. Once our initial certification program is successfully completed, the applicant will receive a clear and renewable certificate. Examples of the certificate levels include: a T4 (Bachelor's), a T5 (Master's), a T6 (Education Specialist) or a T7 (EdD).

For those students who wish to teach while completing UWG's initial certification program, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (PSC) issues provisional teaching certificates that are non-renewable 3 year certificates. Students holding these certificates may convert their non-renewable certificates to clear and renewable certificates by completing UWG's initial certification.

What are the College of Education Policies and Procedures?

  1. The complete Policies and Procedures for the College of Education may be found online in the Teacher Education Handbook. This includes GPA requirements, Teacher Education Admission requirements and field experience requirements.
  2. Test requirements for initial certification students include: Prior September 1, 2006 the Praxis I Reading, Writing, and Math exams (total 526); after September 1, 2006 passing scores on the GACE basic skills exams, or exemption scores (total 1000/SAT critical reading/verbal and math; total 43/ACT English and math; total 1030/GRE verbal and quantitative) and passing scores on the GACE content assessment which are subject specific.
  3. Upper level Education classes require a 2.7 GPA. Check the Teacher Education Handbook for more information.
  4. Teacher Education requirements for initial certification students are detailed in the
    Teacher Education Handbook.

How do I request a Transcript Evaluation for the Early Childhood Initial Certification program?

To request a transcript evaluation, print out the request for Evaluation of transcripts form and follow the directions.

Request for Evaluation of Transcripts

If you are interested in the following programs:

Art Education, Foreign Language Education, or Music Education:
You will need to contact the Department and the Advisor for each program. See above listing of contact information in the Who are the Initial Certification Advisors section of this web page.

Non-Degree Initial Certification Program Sheet

What kind of Financial Aid is available?

The initial certification programs are not covered by the HOPE scholarship. For more financial aid information on the initial certification program, please contact the Financial Aid office at (678) 839-6421. Please note that only classes listed as needed on your program sheet will be covered by financial aid.