After seven years of working in child development, Rebecca Cuadra was ready for a change in her professional life. However, she wanted to find a new career path that would allow her to continue to make an impact in children’s lives, and that’s when she decided to apply to the Educator Preparation Institute (EPI) at Broward College.

The EPI program is for individuals who hold a Bachelor’s degree outside of education and are looking for a career change to teaching. For Rebecca, it made sense. She could keep her full-time job at the Boys and Girls Club while preparing to change fields.

“The EPI is a wonderful program because it has great advantages for working professionals,” says Leo Julien, advisor in Teacher Education for EPI. “The most important one being the fact that it’s only 21 credits, and it’s almost fully online.”

Changing Career Paths Smoothly

Educator Preparation InstituteJulien explains that EPI also allows students to go at their own pace, another valuable perk to students that already hold a full-time job such as Rebecca. The program can be completed in as a little as six months thanks to courses offered in the accelerated format.

Rather than pursuing a second Bachelor’s degree, which would require a major time commitment and cost, the EPI offers students a professional teaching certificate through a non-degree certification program.

“The EPI taught me so much that I feel so confident about my skills to succeed in the classroom,” says Rebecca. “Even though I’ve been working with children ever since I finished college, going through the program gave me the reassurance that I was making the right choice to move into education.” Rebecca plans to go back to school to pursue a Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in school counseling in the future.

The Classroom Experience

Before applying to the program, students are required to apply for a Statement of Eligibility (SOE) through the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE). After receiving the SOE, students then complete the steps listed on the EPI website.

Throughout the program, students must complete seven classes, two of which will require field experience. As they work to complete their courses, they will prepare to take the three required Florida Teacher Certification Exams: General Knowledge, Subject Area, and Professional Education. Lastly, as students complete each course, they will build their portfolio, which must be reviewed and approved by EPI faculty.

Julien encourages students to submit a mid-program portfolio after completing three courses to assess their strengths and weaknesses.

Are you interested in changing your current field of work? Obtain a five-year renewable professional certificate in teaching through the Educator Preparation Institute at Broward College.