Alternative pathway to licensure

You’ve earned your bachelor’s degree, worked in the professional field, then felt the call to the classroom. Or perhaps you’re a Bluffton University undergraduate student interested in teaching a high school subject other than history, English, mathematics, visual arts or music.

The State of Ohio has developed a way for you to obtain an alternative teaching license. Bluffton is one of a select handful of universities approved by the Ohio Department of Higher Education to provide coursework and experiences for this alternate pathway to the classroom.

Before you begin this program, please review all Ohio Department of Education requirements.


Step 1

The Alternative Resident Educator Institute, which consists of six courses (seven for the intervention specialist alternative license,) can be completed in classes on Bluffton’s campus and in just one semester.  Undergraduate students fulfill these requirements by completing the minor in education studies.

You may teach for four years with the alternative license.

For approval of the alternative four-year resident educator license you must:

  1. Hold a bachelor's degree with at least a 2.5 GPA 
  2. Complete Ohio Department of Education Alternative Evaluation Request Application
  3. Submit passing scores on the required Ohio Assessment for Educators (OAE) content assessment(s)
  4. Apply and be admitted to Bluffton University
  5. Complete the required Bluffton Alternative Resident Educator Institute (education studies minor) coursework with at least a C in each class
  6. Have positive recommendations from the academic dean, dean of students, major department chair and the director of the educator preparation program
  7. Submit complete and clear background checks (not older than 365 days)

Step 2

Teachers with an alternative license can take additional courses to earn a professional license. These courses can be completed in one year and are all available online or through videoconferencing.

Teachers who already hold an alternative license may begin studies at Bluffton with the Professional Development Institute.

For approval of the five-year professional educator license you must:

  1. Hold an alternative four-year license (copy of the license must be on file with the EPP and the ODE)
  2. Successfully complete all components of the Ohio Resident Educator Program
  3. Have four years of successful teaching experience under the alternative resident educator license. (The candidate must upload a letter on district letterhead signed and dated by the employing superintendent or human resources director during the application process. The letter must state the grade levels and subjects taught during each year of employment.)
  4. Submit passing score on the required Ohio Assessment for Educators (OAE) professional knowledge assessment
  5. Apply and be admitted to Bluffton University
  6. Successfully complete all Bluffton online modules
  7. Successfully complete the required Bluffton Professional Development Institute coursework with at least a B in each class.



Alternative Pathway Tuition and fees

Tuition    $465 per semester hour
Technology fee  

$50 per semester for 3-5.99 semester hours; 
$100 per semester for 6 or more semester hours

In Ohio, the alternative resident educator license is an accelerated pathway to classroom teaching. This pathway allows students, schools and communities to benefit from the candidates' content-related knowledge, life experience and successful career experience.  Ohio students can benefit from the rich knowledge base and successful career and life experiences of content experts in a variety of teaching fields.  As Ohio focuses on assuring a high-quality teacher in every classroom, it is important that a wide range of professionals are invited to bring their talents and expertise into our schools. 
(ODE website)

More information about state requirements for the alternative resident educator license

If you are interested in information about the alternative license pathway at Bluffton University, please contact Dr. Gayle Trollinger, Director of Educator Preparation (