One hundred percent of Ferrum College’s teacher education program graduates are employed, according to data gathered across three years, from 2016, 2017, and 2018.
“Approximately ninety percent of our graduates secure full-time employment in their endorsement area by the start of the next school year,” explained Assistant Professor of Teacher Education Christine Christianson. “It is typical for several of our student teachers to interview for and be offered positions before graduation in May. Graduates who are not employed full-time by the start of the school year in August typically work part-time coaching or teaching in a district they targeted until a full-time position in their endorsement area becomes available.”
Franklin County Public Schools has hired forty-seven percent of Ferrum College’s teacher education graduates. The other graduates are teaching in South Carolina, North Carolina, and all over Virginia, including Southwest Virginia, Northern Virginia, Tidewater/Hampton Roads, Southside, and Piedmont regions. Employment data for May 2019 Ferrum College teacher education program graduates will be available in spring 2020.
This fall 2019, Ferrum College began offering courses for a new Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. This degree comes with the state education board’s approval of 53 new teaching preparation programs and allows Ferrum College students interested in teaching in an elementary school setting to earn a degree focused in elementary education.
Christianson explained that Ferrum College usually has more elementary education students than other endorsement areas. Over the last three years, sixty-three percent of Ferrum’s teacher education graduates received an elementary endorsement (pre-kindergarten through sixth grade); twenty-three percent received an endorsement in health and physical education in all grades; and fourteen percent earned an endorsement in secondary subjects, like social studies and English, for sixth grade to twelfth grade.
“Well-prepared educators are influencers at a critical time in the development of elementary-aged children,” said Ferrum College Provost Aimé Sposato. “Our new four-year elementary education degree provides future teachers with the skills and hands-on experience in the classroom they will need to gain employment in school districts throughout the state and region. Our dynamic faculty share their passion and expertise as experienced educators with the students and guide them through the licensure and job search process.”
Christianson noted there is a teacher shortage crisis across the nation. “In Virginia last year, there were one thousand unfilled teacher positions on the first day of school. At Ferrum, we have the capacity to grow our teacher education program, and we are working to do that in several ways: we are offering a dual credit education course at Franklin County High School beginning in Spring 2020; we are participating in campus activities such as the Academic Majors Fair, Academic Fair Open House, and Major Decision Day to promote our program; and we promote our program and our students’ achievements on social media,” said Christianson.
Ferrum College teacher education graduates are proud of the knowledge they received in the program. “Being part of the teacher education program at the College was simply amazing,” explained Tabatha Chitwood, who graduated this past spring and is now a third grade teacher at Ferrum Elementary School. “Not only was I provided with various opportunities to work in my desired field, I was able to make strong connections within the county I have always called home. I also felt empowered by the small class size and was able to make special bonds with friends that are now my colleagues. If I had to do it all over again, I would still choose Ferrum College.”
Learn more about Ferrum College’s teacher education program here.
Watch WDBJ-7’s coverage of this exciting news here.