What is the Initial Certification Program?

Any public school teacher in the State of Georgia is required to be certified by the Professional Standards Commission (PSC). The University of West Georgia (UWG) offers an initial certification program for people who have at least a bachelor's degree and wish to take just the classes needed for state certification. We offer several different initial certification programs. The program requirements will vary by subject. Once a person successfully completes the initial certification process with UWG, he or she will be recommended for certification with the PSC. Listed below are the certification programs, the certification grade levels, and the program contact person:

Who are the Initial Certification Advisors?

Early Childhood Education, Grades P-5
Classes offered daytime only.
Contact Bethany Schmelzer at (678) 839-5539 or bschmelz@westga.edu.

Middle Grades Education, Grades 4-8
Daytime classes, or Evening and Weekend classes (Georgia Responds Program).
Contact Bethany Schmelzer at (678) 839-5539 or bschmelz@westga.edu.

Secondary Education (Biology, Broad Field Science, Chemistry, Earth/Space Science, Economics, English, History, Math, Political Science, Physics), Grades 6-12
Contact Bethany Schmelzer at (678) 839-5539 or bschmelz@westga.edu.

Art Education P-12
Contact Kevin Shunn at (678) 839-4960 or kshunn@westga.edu.

Business Education, Grades 6-12
Contact Bethany Schmelzer at (678) 839-5539 or bschmelz@westga.edu.

Foreign Language Education P-12
Contact Dr. Gary Schmidt at (678) 839-5967 or gschmidt@westga.edu.

Music Education, Grades P-12
Contact Dr. Kevin Hibbard at (678) 839-6516 or khibbard@westga.edu.

How do I apply to the Initial Certification Program?

There are three steps to being accepted into the Initial Certification program: having your transcripts evaluated, applying to the Graduate School, and being advised for your classes once you have been accepted into the program.

  1. Transcript Evaluation:
    Initial Certification program sheets have specific education and subject content class requirements. A transcript evaluation will need to be done to determine which classes that you have taken can be used on your program sheet. Once the evaluation is completed, you will receive a program sheet detailing everything you will need for certification in the State of Georgia. The cost of each subject evaluation is $25. Please allow 2-3 weeks for the evaluation. A transcript evaluation request form may be printed from this website.

  2. Application to the Graduate School:
    You may apply to the Graduate School online at www.westga.edu/~gradsch/
    The minimum GPA requirement is a 2.5 GPA. The Graduate School will calculate both the cumulative and last 60 hour GPA and will use the highest GPA.
    If your GPA falls below the 2.5 minimum, you may apply to Undergraduate Admissions at www.westga.edu/~admiss/ You may take subject classes until your GPA reaches 2.5 and then re-apply to the Graduate School.

  3. Advisement:
    Once you have received your acceptance letter from the Graduate School or Undergraduate Admissions, contact your Education advisor to review your program and to be advised for the next semester's classes.

What is the difference between provisional certification (non-renewable 5 year certificate) and UWG's Initial Certification (clear and renewable certificate)?

The University of West Georgia offers an Initial Certification program where students with bachelor's degrees may take just the classes they need to obtain clear and renewable certification. Once our initial certification program is successfully completed, the applicant will receive a clear and renewable certificate. Examples of the certificate levels include: a T4 (Bachelor's), a T5 (Master's), a T6 (Education Specialist) or a T7 (EdD).

For those students who wish to teach while completing UWG's initial certification program, the Professional Standards Commission (PSC) issues provisional teaching certificates that are non-renewable 5 year certificates. Students holding these certificates may convert their non-renewable certificates to clear and renewable certificates by completing UWG's initial certification.

What are the College of Education Policies and Procedures?

  1. The complete Policies and Procedures for the College of Education may be found online in the Teacher Education Handbook. This includes GPA requirements, Teacher Education Admission requirements and field experience requirements.

  2. Test requirements for initial certification students include: Prior September 1, 2006 the Praxis I Reading, Writing, and Math exams (total 526); after September 1, 2006 passing scores on the GACE basic skills exams, or exemption scores (total 1000/SAT critical reading/verbal and math; total 43/ACT English and math; total 1030/GRE verbal and quantitative) and passing scores on the GACE content assessment which are subject specific.

  3. Technology requirements for initial certification students include: MEDT 2401 / Introduction to Instructional Technology, the MEDT exemption test, or a suitable computer class substitute.

    In addition, candidates applying for their first clear renewable Georgia certificate must meet the Computer Skill Competency requirement as outlined in the A+ Education Reform Act (House Bill 1187). The Computer Skill Competency requirement must be met through a PSC approved course. A complete listing of PSC approved courses are found on http://www.gapsc.com/ApprovedPrograms/EducationProgram.asp The College of Education at UWG currently offers the following PSC approved courses to meet this requirement: MEDT 6401 - Instructional Technology and MEDT 3401 - Integrating Technology into the Curriculum. Please note that the AssessOnline test-out option and the GACE Computer Skill Competency Assessment are not acceptable means for meeting this requirement within your program.

  4. Upper level Education classes require a 2.7 GPA. Check the Teacher Education Handbook for more information.

  5. Teacher Education requirements for initial certification students are detailed in the
    Teacher Education Handbook.

How do I request a Transcript Evaluation?

To request a transcript evaluation, read the following cover letter. Then print out the application and follow the application directions.

Cover Letter

Request for Evaluation of Transcripts

If you are interested in the following programs:

Art Education, Business Education, Foreign Language Education, Music Education:

You will need to contact the Department and the Advisor for each program. See above listing of contact information in the Who are the Initial Certification Advisors section of this web page.

Non-Degree Initial Certification Program Sheets

What kind of Financial Aid is available?

The initial certification programs are not covered by the HOPE scholarship or the HOPE Promise scholarship. For more financial aid information on the initial certification program, please contact the Financial Aid office at (678) 839-6421. Please note that only classes listed as needed on your program sheet will be covered by financial aid.