New UHV Library

Construction crew members work on a door in the new University of Houston-Victoria library.

Area residents who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field but have always wanted to be a teacher now have an option to make that dream a reality through the updated online VOICE program at the University of Houston-Victoria.

The UHV School of Education, Health Professions & Human Development’s VOICE program started in 2003, but the university recently revamped the online program to make it more affordable and give students the option of applying course credits toward earning a master’s degree. Students participating in the program can earn a teaching certificate in as little as a year.

“Texas is faced with a shortage of teachers, and VOICE helps those who want to teach receive quality preparation in a short time so they can be ready to move into the classroom and make a positive impact on students,” said Fred Litton, dean of the school.

To participate in the program, students must have a bachelor’s degree and pass the Texas Pre-Admission Certification Test. Students also must have a GPA of at least 2.75 in the last 60 hours of their college work or as an overall GPA. In addition, Students must pass a criminal history background check through the Texas Department of Public Safety and an interview with UHV’s education faculty.

A major change the education school made to the VOICE program was to make it more affordable. Students can earn their teacher certification in as little as a year for $3,750, not counting books and supplies.

In addition, the school adjusted VOICE so that 12 of the 18 credit hours required for the program can be used toward three new Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction concentrations: early childhood to eighth grade, higher education and secondary education, and English as a Second Language/Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

“The program is a real advantage for professionals who already have a bachelor’s degree because it doesn’t force them to go back to do more undergraduate work – rather, they take graduate-level courses online,” said Mary Lasater, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, and coordinator of the VOICE and graduate curriculum and instruction programs. “This way, they already have started on the path to earning a master’s degree.”

As students go through the VOICE program, they have two options for the practicum portion. They can do 66 days of student teaching, or they can find a paid internship that will allow them to work as classroom teachers for a full year while also completing the last two courses in the program. Interns will be evaluated and advised by supervisors from UHV, many of whom are former education professionals and administrators.

“The primary purpose of the VOICE program is to bring new teachers into the classroom,” Lasater said. “These changes will enable students to step into teaching positions with confidence and at the same time set them up for future growth through graduate studies. We always want to prepare educators for success, and these changes will help us do that.”

To learn more about the program, contact Lasater at 361-570-4335 or lasaterm@uhv.edu.

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