Paraprofessional to Certified Teacher Track: Elementary Education

Due to the statewide teacher shortage, applications are still open. 

If you are applying to Gordon State College as a transfer student, please mark "summer" for the admission term and, in addition to sending transcripts to the admissions office, please send unofficial copies directly to Doing so will enable us to help you meet any outstanding requirements to begin with the fall 2024 cohort.

What degree will I earn from this program/track?

The Parapro-to-Teacher track leads to a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. With this degree, graduates can complete the GACE in Elementary Education/Special Education General Curriculum to gain initial certification from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (teacher licensing body in Georgia). You may review Gordon State College's certification status on the PSC website.

Who is this track designed for?

This track is for paraprofessionals who want to become certified teachers in Georgia. Since the degree earned will be in elementary education, it is preferable that those applying be parapros in K-5 settings. Paraprofessionals in a non-K-5 setting can complete the program. It is also preferable that students entering the program be employed in a public school system. If you are interested in the program and are a parapro in a private school, please reach out to determine if it is a possibility for your school. You must be a current paraprofessional to be accepted into the Parapro-to-Teacher Program.

The coursework for this program is online, so paraprofessionals can remain employed. If you are unsure whether you prefer the parapro or traditional track in the elementary education program, please review this document to see the differences.

What courses will I need to complete before starting the track?

All students will be required to complete certain pre-courses before being accepted and starting the elementary education program. The courses may be transferred from other institutions or may be completed at Gordon. Students can choose the number of classes they want to take each semester. Courses are offered every Fall (August-December), Spring (January-May), and Summer (May-June, June-July). A list of the pre-courses required can be found in this document.

What is the Elementary Education Program - Parapro track like? 

The Parapro-to-Teacher Program begins in the Fall (August) and will take two years of coursework to complete. This is usually noted as Fall 1, Spring 1, Summer, Fall 2, and Spring 2. Paraprofessionals will be full-time students completing 4 or 5 classes a semester. These courses will be offered online. While in the program, students are in a cohort format and must take the courses in the correct semester. The course rotation for the program can be viewed at this link.

Students will also participate in field experiences during the semester. In the Parapro-to-Teacher track, students work with their principal to secure field placement in the correct grade bands (as listed below). The student may complete the fieldwork in the school where they are employed or another school in the county. Once accepted into the program, parapros and principals must sign the MOU (see it here) agreeing to the field experience requirements.

Grade bands for field experiences in the elementary education program: 

  • 1st Fall Semester in the Program: Kindergarten or 1st grade, 100 hours
  • 1st Spring Semester in the Program: 2nd or 3rd grade, 100 hours
  • Summer Semester: No field experiences
  • 2nd Fall Semester in the Program: 4th or 5th grade, 100 hours
  • 2nd Spring Semester in the Program: Choice of K-5 grade, 600 hours (student teaching)

What should I do to be accepted into the education program? 

To be accepted into the education program, students will need to do the following:

  • Apply to Gordon State College! Make sure to mark the Elementary Education Pathway as the major.
    • If you are a transfer student, someone will evaluate your transcript after admission to Gordon State College to advise you of what courses, if any, you need before applying to the parapro-to-teacher track of the BSED in Elementary Education/Special Education. Application to the BSED program in Elementary Education/Special Education is a separate process.
    • Complete all the required pre-courses with an overall GPA of 2.75 or higher.
  • Complete the Parapro-to-Teacher Application during your last semester taking pre-courses.
    • Complete THREE recommendation forms. We suggest that these come from partner teachers or those who know your work in the school system. 
    • Complete TWO disposition forms. These should come from (1) the principal of the school in which you are employed, (2) another administrator- vice principal, counselor, curriculum specialist, etc. These should not be the same people from the recommendation forms. 
    • Complete the Georgia Educator Ethics (360) course via the Professional Standards Commission - (required for all students completing a teacher prep program in Georgia). This document will provide the steps for registering for the Ethics (360) course.
      Note: Starting with Fall 2022 cohorts, students are no longer required to complete the GACE Program Admission exam (reading, writing, & math).

Application documentation (which should include: application, recommendations, dispositions, & proof of GACE Ethics completion/scores) should be submitted to: Dr. Stephen Raynie at

Have questions?

Watch the Program Overview Video below for more information or Email Dr. Stephen Raynie at