JMU launches accelerated teacher education program to help alleviate nationwide teacher shortages

JMU News

by Clay Sutton


Harrisonburg, Virginia – James Madison University’s College of Education Secondary Education Post-Baccalaureate Program has created a new accelerated pathway into the teaching profession for aspiring secondary teachers (grades 6 through 12) who are looking to transition into education as a second career.

Schools across Virginia and the United States are facing crisis-level teacher shortages that have been exacerbated by the pandemic; education experts warn that staffing shortfalls are expected to get worse in years ahead.  

Responding to the enormous need for qualified teachers, JMU’s Secondary Education Program is taking action to help alleviate teacher shortages by educating aspiring second career teachers who are already in the workforce and inspired to leave their current job, but who may need flexibility as they pursue becoming educators.    

“Many people during the pandemic have begun to consider changing careers or have always felt drawn to inspire youth through teaching,” said Dr. Katie Dredger, associate professor and academic unit head, middle, secondary, and mathematics education at JMU. “As teacher shortages are expected to only get worse, we need this program as another option for adult learners who are aspiring teachers to get their credentials.”

The unique three-semester graduate licensure program is designed to provide an option that suits the needs of career professionals and adult learners who are inspired to become teachers. Eighteen new teachers have graduated from the program since 2021, and 13 more will graduate in 2023. 

Originally a hand surgeon in the Shenandoah Valley for 17 years, Dr. Timothy Bill is one of those 18 new teachers. Dr. Bill completed his degree this spring in 18 months and will begin teaching science at Harrisonburg High School in the fall.    

“The traditional master’s programs take more time to complete. Because of how the JMU program is organized, I obtained my degree in 18 months. I am excited to begin teaching at Harrisonburg High School this fall,” said Bill. “I always had an interest in basic science and I look forward to teaching chemistry and biology. Thirty years of my life have been as a student. Now I feel it is time to give back to education and honor my former teachers.” 

JMU’s College of Education, the second largest public preparer of teachers in Virginia, has more than 100 full-time faculty and more than 3,000 students in teacher licensure programs. 


Contact: Clay Sutton,

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Published: Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Last Updated: Thursday, January 4, 2024

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