The purpose of this study was to examine the factors associated with enrolling, continuing, and completing alternative certification programs in music education. Data were collected via surveys and semi-structured interviews of music teacher candidates from 43 program completers from seven alternative certification programs in three states. In general, participants were attracted by program efficiency, program feasibility, personal support and employment potential. Few disadvantages of alternative certification were indicated, but participants considered balancing a personal life with a new career, and the certification requirements to be a huge challenge. Participants most valued courses in certification programs that were immediately relevant to the practical aspects of teaching; however, the perceived usefulness of specific courses varied, even among students enrolled in the same program. Suggestions are provided for music teacher educators who work with students enrolled in alternative certification programs.



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