CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) -- An alert to those with math and science backgrounds.
The College of Education at the University of Central Arkansas is looking for people interested in becoming licensed math and science teachers.
Funding from the U.S. Department of Education is offering up to $5,000 to help mid-career professionals, or even recent graduates, make the transition into the classroom by receiving a Master of Arts in Teaching degree (M.A.T)
Jesse Emerson is a substitute teacher in the Bryant School District and a student at UCA.
"With the M.A.T it makes you a whole lot more marketable. It was exciting when I received the call and they said it would be awarded," Emerson said.
His goal is to become a full time teacher at Bryant High.
"I've been very pleased with the way the administration, staff and the professors at UCA have worked with me," Emerson said.
Dr. Diana Pounder is the Dean of the College of Education at UCA. She says each of the students awarded the federal funds...work to pay it back but not with cash.
"They must agree to work for a high-needs school or district for three years or more. So a minimum of three years to pay back, if you will, to the system. Math and science teachers have been in short supply, not just in Arkansas, but nationally for 40 years or more," Dr. Pounder said.
Dr. Gary Bunn is the Program Coordinator for the Master of Arts in Teaching, and interviews all applicants.
"We've actually placed well over 300 teachers into the school systems because we do offer a P-4 elementary early childhood track, middle level and a high school track," Dr. Bunn said.
"If you have a love for children, love to help people learn, love to help them progress and see their future...pursue it if that's something you've been interested in and would like to do," Emerson added.
In five semesters at UCA, students can earn a Master of Arts in Teaching and work to secure a job in the Little Rock/North Little Rock School Districts.