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DeSales Offers First-in-the-Valley Computer Science Teaching Certificate

by Janelle Hill M’23 Mar 8, 2024
Carol Lopez_ Education_Classroom

Future educators who are looking to teach computer science have a new pathway to certification. 

The DeSales University Department of Education’s Teacher Intern Certification Program is one of just six programs in the state—and the only one in the Lehigh Valley—to offer a new computer science certificate for grades 7-12. 

The certification is offered at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. First-year students in the 4+1 program can earn their traditional undergraduate degree in computer science before entering the TIP program to complete their intern certification, master’s degree, and full certification in just one year. 

“This certification is brand new in the state,” says Katrin Blamey, Ph.D., education department chair and director of M.Ed. programs. “A lot of people who are teaching in high schools might have the technology education cert or general math or science, but not anything specific to computer science. The technology has changed so much. The state wanted people who are specialists in computer science.” 

DeSales’ computer science program already teaches courses in coding, cyber security, programming, data structures, machine learning, and other specialty areas. That meant that Blamey and the education department didn’t need to add any additional courses in content knowledge. 

“We knew that the undergraduate program prepared DeSales students well for the knowledge that they would need for certification. All we needed to do was create a pedagogy course of teaching computer science.”   

 Katrin Blamey, Ph.D., education department chair and director of M.Ed. programs 

Under the new state guidelines, educators currently teaching computer science will not need to obtain the new certification unless they switch schools. But, anyone applying for a computer science teaching position must have the certification. 

DeSales’ education department was an early adopter of the TIP program, which helps to fast-track teaching careers by allowing students to earn while they learn. The program is currently marking its ninth anniversary and has been steadily growing amid a worsening teacher shortage. 

DeSales currently has teacher interns in parochial schools, charter schools, and public schools across the Lehigh Valley. This semester, it placed teacher interns in Philadelphia for the very first time.  

“The administrators in our local school districts understand what the intern certificate is, and they appreciate the quality of the DeSales student who has the intern certificate,” says Blamey. “In many ways, it’s almost better than hiring a brand-new certified teacher for their first year of instruction because while our interns are doing their first year of teaching, they are highly supported by the University.”