Teacher Assistant Program

Are you currently a teacher’s assistant? If so, you know what it takes to lead a K-6 classroom. In fact, you have probably thought about leading your own classroom one day. The fully online Teacher Assistant Program (TAP) at The University of Southern Mississippi is designed specifically to support you to achieve that goal.  It offers you a convenient pathway to earning a Bachelor of Science degree and becoming a certified teacher while continuing your job as a teacher assistant.

The online TAP program at Southern Miss meets the unique educational needs of teacher assistants who desire to advance their knowledge and skills and become exemplary, licensed teachers. Students enrolled in the TAP program have the opportunity to complete all or part of their coursework online with highly qualified and dedicated university faculty. The exciting and innovative curriculum includes opportunities to apply new knowledge and skills through clinical experiences that are completed while you are engaged in your day-to-day responsibilities as a teacher assistant.

Students enrolled in the TAP program at Southern Miss will major in Elementary Education. Graduates of the Elementary Education program are eligible to become certified teachers for grades K-6 with a reading endorsement and the choice of an endorsement in Math K-8, Math 9-12, Science, Social Studies, Foreign Language, or English.

TAP Program Design

If you are employed as a teacher assistant in a public or private school accredited by the Mississippi State Department of Education, you may qualify for our program. The following information is provided to clarify program requirements based on your employment:

  • If you are employed as a teacher assistant in an elementary classroom at an approved school, you may complete your clinical lab experiences and student teaching (with district approval) in your classroom at your school.
  • If you are employed as a teacher assistant in any setting other than an elementary classroom (e.g., special education classroom, middle school or high school classroom, computer laboratory, library, etc.), you will complete your clinical lab experiences and student teaching at an approved elementary school classroom.
  • If you are employed as a teacher assistant in a state other than Mississippi, you will be responsible for verifying that your program of study meets your state’s licensure requirements.  Our programs are designed to meet licensure programs in the State of Mississippi.  We do not guarantee to meet the licensure requirements of other states.  If you need assistance in verifying that your program of study meets your desired state’s licensure requirements, please contact Jennifer Wild.
  • USM teacher candidates in good academic standing who wish to transition between the TAP and traditional program may join either program at any time throughout their course of study as long as all program and university requirements are satisfied and departmental consent is granted.  Typically these decisions should be made before the university drop date.
  • Continuous employment as a teacher assistant in an approved school is required throughout the program.
Prior to being admitted, discuss your goals with your principal to obtain support and to clarify expectations for your clinical labs and student teaching experiences. Complete the verification of employment form and have it signed by your principal.  Please also request an email from the principal or principal’s designee to verify your employment.  This email should be sent Michelle Dawson.