STEM Alternative Certification Programs & Pre-Service Teacher Preparedness

  • Adrie A. Koehler
  • Charles Robert Feldhaus
  • Eugenia Fernandez
  • Stephen Hundley
Keywords: STEM K-12 Teacher Certification, STEM Pre-Service Teaching Preparedness, STEM Career Changers,


This explanatory sequential mixed methods research study investigated motives and purpose exhibited by professionals transitioning from careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to secondary education. The study also analyzed personal perception of teaching preparedness, and explored barriers to successful teaching. STEM career changers were surveyed and interviewed. Study participants without industry experience and graduate degrees perceived themselves as being more prepared than study participants with industry experience and graduate degrees when dealing with lesson plans. Additionally, study participants without graduate degrees felt more prepared than those with graduate degrees in the area of classroom management. Overall, participants perceived themselves as most prepared in assessment and their content area and least prepared in classroom management and handling the psychological needs of their students. Specific recommendations for educational programs designed for STEM career changers, instructors within these programs, and STEM career changers are included.