The Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship


Given the national shortage of special educators, many are entering the profession through alternative certification, assuming full responsibility for classrooms or caseloads before they are fully licensed as special education teachers. This qualitative study explores the support provided to beginning alternative certification teachers in a special education program. Through several sources of data, we describe the perspectives of first-year versus second-year interns about the frequency, helpfulness, and nature of support they received from their assigned mentors, other sources of support at their school sites, and their university intern program. The findings illustrate the need for universities and schools to immediately identify a school site mentor for first-year interns and the need to provide more intensive support for an initial period when the intern first assumes responsibility at a school.