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Competency-Based Teacher Education Program

This elementary education competency-based education pilot program is for 2nd degree or licensure-only teachers seeking a pathway to teacher licensure.

Competency-Based Education

Finally, a for-credit teacher education program that allows you to leverage the skills you already have and earn a degree. In this competency-based education (CBE) pilot program, you will have the freedom to be self-directed without the confines of deadlines and due dates through a demonstration of your knowledge by developing real-world projects applicable to your classroom.

Accelerated Pathway to Graduation

Average graduation is one year or less plus student teaching. This could be faster depending on your knowledge level, experience, and the time you dedicate to the learning process.

Mastery Equals Progress

In this pilot program, students work towards demonstrating mastery of competencies. There is no failure; there is only try again.

Project-Based Learning

In project-based learning, you will be developing realistic workplace projects instead of taking exams or developing essays. For example, you’ll develop lesson plans and training presentations. You’ll be able to leverage the skills you already have to progress faster. If you have experience developing lesson plans, you’re already halfway there!

Adult-Learner Centered

Competency-based education provides you the opportunity to own your learning. You’ll be able to be creative with this hands-off teaching approach. You will be able to use your critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, in an environment where you set the pace. This program lets you be in the driver's seat while you earn your degree.

Low Cost & Fully Online

This CBE pilot is testing a new way for students to leverage the educational skills you already have in an online learning environment. The program will offer electronic learning resources without any additional cost to the students. We do this by utilizing Open Educational Resources instead of the traditional textbooks. Tuition and fees for an entire year is under $7,000.

Completion Guide

The CBE pilot program has a 1:1 correlation between credit hours and competencies. It consists of 16 for-credit courses in Professional Studies and Elementary Methods, with each course worth 3 credit hours and addressing 3 competencies. Additionally, candidates must complete a state-approved student teaching internship worth 12 credit hours and address 12 competencies. Within each competency is one project that allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of the competency. To graduate in a year or less, you will need to develop and master one project (i.e., one competency) per week.

Example Pathway to Graduation

First 12 Week Term
EDU 2600 Introduction to Teaching
EDU 2800 Computer Utilizations in Instruction
EDU 3000 Educational Psychology
EDU 3010 Human Growth and Development

Second 12 Week Term
EDU 3030 Diversity, Pedagogy, and Social Change
EDU 3120 Inclusive Teaching
EDU 3150 Instructional Planning
EDU 3170 Assessment of Learning

Third 12 Week Term
EDU 3180 Healthful Living in Elementary Schools
EDU 3210 Curriculum I (Art, Music, Drama)
EDU 3230 Teaching Social Studies
EDU 3310 Foundations of Assessment in Literacy

Fourth 12 Week Term
EDU 3400 Teaching Language Arts
EDU 3410 Principles of Teaching Reading
EDU 3520 Teaching Math
EDU 3540 Integrated Science, Math, and Technology

Final Term: Student Teaching
EDU 4108 Methods and Materials in Elementary Education
EDU 4208 Directed Teaching in Elementary Education


Who is eligible?
Teacher assistants, instructional assistants, paraprofessionals, and lateral entry teachers (especially at the K-6 level) are encouraged to apply, as background in these areas leads to faster progression in the program. However, eligibility is not limited to those with experience in elementary education. Interested applicants must hold a Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution with a final cumulative GPA of 2.7 or better. Once admitted, all applicants must take and pass the Reading, Writing, and Math sections of Praxis Core in order to be eligible for admission the School of Education’s Teacher Education Program.

Can I apply for financial aid?
Financial aid is not available for the CBE 2nd degree or licensure-only path, but students considered full-time may have the opportunity to apply for scholarships and private funding. Flexible payment plans will also be available to students. The average cost per 12-week term for the CBE program is estimated at $1,725.96.

How does a student progress faster versus other programs?
Students in CBE programs are able to leverage the skills they already have through the development of real-world projects. You’ll connect what you already know with new information in a flexible and dynamic way.

When will the program begin?
This program is slated to begin July 1, 2018. The pace is rigorous. There are no holidays, vacations, or term breaks. You’ll have access to a minimum of four courses on April 1st and can withdraw from the program anytime within the first 10 days. A new term will start every 12-weeks.

Is CBE right for me?
Are you self-motivated (see self-directed learning below), possessing a wealth of knowledge and experience, eager to be a licensed teacher in elementary education, comfortable with technology and online learning, able to regulate yourself to drive the pace without due dates, and comfortable with working towards mastery instead of earning a certain passing percentage on an assignment? If you said yes to all of these, CBE is right for you!

What is self-directed learning? CBE students inherently learn in a self-directed way. That’s right, you’ll be able to direct your own learning with the support of a dedicated learning coach and quality, experienced, and knowledgeable faculty members.


The CBE program is not accepting applications at this time. We will post the date the next cohort of students will be accepted. Please contact the School of Education for information on our other programs.

NCCU complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all programs and activities (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) in the University's educational programs and activities. For additional resources or to file a Title IX complaint, visit the NCCU's Title IX webpage.
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