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Transitional Certification Program

Certification Track One

UNK offers this online program for primarily secondary education (high school) teacher certification to Nebraska residents who have earned a baccalaureate (bachelor's) degree or higher.  This program is designed to allow participants the opportunity to maintain their current employment while pursuing a teaching position and completing the coursework needed to obtain an initial Nebraska Teaching Certificate. 

Classes that you have already taken may be eligible to be substituted into your education program.  Once we receive your "Online Request for Information Form" and "Consent Form", the Educator Certification Office will email you further important information about the program.  Please read that information carefully and follow the steps within that email to continue the transcript review process.  

Available Endorsements

The following endorsements are available through UNK’s Transitional Certification Program: TRACK ONE: 

  • Art K-12 Field Endorsement
  • Biology 7-12 Subject Endorsement
  • BMIT (Business, Marketing, Information Technology) 6-12 Field Endorsement
  • Chemistry 7-12 Subject Endorsement
  • English Language Arts 7-12 Field Endorsement
  • French 7-12 Subject Endorsement
  • Geography 7-12 Subject Endorsement
  • German 7-12 Subject Endorsement
  • Health 7-12 Subject Endorsement
  • Health & PE K-12 Field Endorsement
  • Mathematics 7-12 Field Endorsement
  • Music K-12 Field Endorsement
  • Physical Education 7-12 Subject Endorsement (PE K-6 Subject Endorsement may be earned with PE 7-12) 
  • Physics 7-12 Subject Endorsement
  • Political Science 7-12 Subject Endorsement
  • Psychology  7-12 Subject Endorsement
  • Secondary English 7-12 Subject Endorsement
  • Sociology 7-12 Subject Endorsement
  • Spanish 7-12 Subject Endorsement


The program consists of: 

  • Three 6-credit hour classes, taken in sequence one per semester, for a total of 18 graduate credit hours of online study (includes 100 minimum total clock hours of field experience to be completed across the three semesters) 
  • One 6-credit hour semester of student teaching 
  • Total equals 24 graduate credit hours of professional education coursework.**  To estimate your financial commitment, please see our Student Accounts website and follow the “tuition” link.  You may also want to visit our Financial Aid website for loan and scholarship information.

Depending on previous academic work completed, there may be additional coursework required in the specific endorsement area of choice. Additional courses required will be indicated on a program of study that will be mailed to after your transcripts have been reviewed.

**The online professional education coursework sequence consists of the following: 

  • TE831: Professional Knowledge and Skills I - 6 credit hours 
  • TE832: Professional Knowledge and Skills II -  6 credit hours 
  • TE833: Context of Education - 6 credit hours 
  • TE836: Post-Baccalaureate Student Teaching - 6 credit hours 

Arrangements will be made for participants to complete their field experience hours in their local or nearby school districts. Service-learning hours are included in the total number of field experience hours required, where participants may work with adolescents outside of the classroom setting.  Because field experience arrangements are made with participating school districts and communities across the state, UNK’s Transitional Certification Program is only available to participants who physically reside in Nebraska or within commuting distance to a Nebraska school district.

Test Requirements

1.  Praxis Core - Passing scores on the Praxis Core exam (a basic skills test of Reading, Writing and Math) need to be submitted to UNK for full acceptance into Teacher Education. While this exam is not required prior to enrolling in the Transitional Certification Program, it is strongly recommended prior to program entry.  
2.  Praxis II Subject Assessment - a content test taken at the end of an endorsement program just before student teaching.
3.  Request the scores be sent to UNK (score recipient code 6467).  You will not be able to obtain full teaching certification without these passing scores. Official testing centers are located across the state. More information about the Praxis exam and testing guidelines can be found at: www.ets.org or call the UNK Testing Center at 308-865-8054.

Steps to Complete

Potential candidates for Track One of this program should complete the following steps in this order:

 Carefully review the information presented above. Does the program seem to be a potentially good fit for you? Is it possible for you, in your current life situation, to pursue teacher certification given the requirements?

Note:  Please be aware that some misdemeanor and felony convictions can prevent applicants from participating in a UNK Teacher Education program and obtaining a Nebraska teaching certificate.  If you have a misdemeanor or felony conviction, even if it occurred many years ago or has been set aside, please contact Jenny Jansky, Assistant Director, Educator Certification Office (308) 865-8266 for more information. 

STEP TWO: If you decide that you are ready to enter the program, proceed to STEP THREE.  If you still have questions at this point, contact the TCP Coordinator - contact information below.

NOTE:  Completion of these forms does not admit you to the program.  This is a request for information only.  

STEP FOUR:  After the receipt of your request for information has been confirmed by email from the Educator Certification Office, have official transcripts, sent by each institution from which you have received college credit, to:

Kristy Buchmeier, Office Associate
Educator Certification Office
College of Education Building, C128
University of Nebraska Kearney
1615 W 24th Street
Kearney, NE  68849
Phone:  (308) 865-8264
Email:  buchmeierkl@unk.edu

NOTE:  Carefully read and follow all directions in the confirmation email you receive from the Educator Certification Office.  Allow 6-8 weeks for the transcript review to be completed and Program of Study mailed to you. 

STEP FIVE:  After your receive your Program of Study in the mail, contact the TCP program coordinator to verify that you meet the qualifications of the program:
Seventy-five percent of the content coursework required for the selected teaching endorsement area(s) must be completed prior to beginning the professional education coursework sequence, along with a 2.75 minimum GPA in that coursework.  
Once you qualify, you would be eligible to enroll in the next available section of TE831.  Remember, we strongly suggest that you pass the Praxis Core Exam before taking classes; request the scores be sent to UNK (score recipient code 6467).

STEP SIX:  After the TCP Coordinator confirms that you qualify for the program, apply to UNK through the Graduate Admissions website.  When applying, choose Initial Certification as your program.  This is a non-degree program, so you do not need to take the GRE.  However, this is a post-baccalaureate program, so it qualifies as graduate school.  The credit hours earned in the TCP may be applied to the requirements for a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction;  contact the program director (contact information belowto discuss this option.


Contact information for the Transitional Certification Office:

Chilene Black, Coordinator
Transitional Certification Program 

College of Education Building, B117 

1615 W 24th St
University of Nebraska – Kearney 

Kearney, NE 68849 

Office Telephone:  308-865-8056 

Office Fax:  308-865-8097 
Email:  blackc@unk.edu

Dr. Wendy McCarty, Ed.D, Director 

Transitional Certification Program 

College of Education Building, B159 

1615 W 24th St
University of Nebraska – Kearney 

Kearney, NE 68849 

Office Telephone:  308-865-8074 

Office Fax:  308-865-8097 

Email:  mccartywl@unk.edu