Note: The Department of Defense (DoD) has canceled the Troops to Teachers Program, effective FY 2021. The DoD released the following message:
As part of the Defense Wide Review, the Department of Defense (DoD) has realigned the Troops to Teachers (TTT) resources to higher priority programs more closely aligned to the National Defense Strategy.
As a result, the Defense Department has cancelled the TTT Program, effective October 1, 2020. The program is scheduled to sunset by the end of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. Click here to review the FAQs for more information.
If you are a military veteran who is interested in becoming a teacher, then you should look into the Troops to Teachers Program, which was launched by the US Department of Education and the Department of Defense in 1994. It is designed to assist eligible military members start a new career as teachers in public school environments.
In 2002, then President George Bush signed into law the ‘No Child Left Behind Act of 2001’. Part of the law included the continuation of the Troops to Teachers program for an additional five years. The program places an emphasis on developing quality teachers for schools and districts in urgent need of teachers in American schools.
Troops to Teachers Program
How the Troops to Teachers Program Works
The Education Appropriations Bill was passed through Congress which give $18 million for financial assistance as part of the Troops to Teachers program. Financial assistance is offered to eligible service members in stipends of up to $5,000 to help pay for the costs associated with teacher certifications. The recipients of the stipends require teachers to agree to teach in school locations meeting the Department of Education criteria for a period of three years.
There are also bonus awards of up to $10,000 for those military members who agree to teach in schools which serve a high percentage of students coming from low-income families. Funds are dependent on availability of monies and eligibility of military personnel.
Mission of the Troops to Teachers Program
The goal of the Troops to Teachers program is to help relieve the burden of teacher shortages in school districts, especially in the areas of math, science, and special education. The program also actively works with military personnel to make a successful transition from a military career to a career in teaching in public schools. The Troops for Teachers program has a network of state offices which provide counseling and help with teacher certification requirements, job leads for employment, and resume preparation.
Troops to Teachers Program Eligibility
In order to determine eligibility for the Troops for Teachers program, military members can take a self-determination test available online through the program’s website. Depending on the current status of your military membership, you will have to answer a series of questions to determine eligibility.
A complete list of eligibility requirements can be found on the TTT website. In general, the service requirements for military members for eligibility include Active or Selected Reserve personnel who are either:
- Separated with six or more years of creditable service towards retirement on or after October 1, 1990
- Separated with a service-determined physical disability on or after January 8, 2002 and registered within four years after separation
- Current members with six or more years of creditable service towards retirement. The last period of service must be in honorable status. Personnel selected to participate in the Troops for Teachers Program before retirement, separation, or release from active duty may continue to participate but only if the last period of service is characterized as honorable.
Military personnel must also meet one of the following education requirements:
- Must hold a Baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited institution at the time of program registration and in a teacher certification program or licensed as a teacher for referral in that subject.
- Must have the equivalent of one year of college with six years of work experience in a vocational or technical field or meet state requirements for vocational/technical teacher referral.
Military members who do not meet the last two requirements can use their GI Bill benefits or tuition assistance to achieve the educational requirements. They can apply for the Troops to Teachers Program once they achieve the required educational levels.