Incentives for future science teachers?

Dear ScienceWoman,
I am starting a career as a teacher and would very much like to enroll in a masters specializing in teaching high school science. I am wondering if you could help direct me to some grants or incentives that are geared towards encouraging women to pursue graduate teaching degrees in these areas. Any help you could give me would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Future Teacher
P.S. I’d also like to stay in Texas if possible.

Dear Future,
That’s fabulous that you want to be a high school science teacher. We need lots more enthusiastic and knowledgable science teachers. College instructors around the world are thanking you right now. But, as much as I wish I could help you, I don’t know of any programs or grants geared towards women. One thing you might look into are programs funded by NSF’s GK12 program. They are at universities nationwide. Usually, though, they are for students pursuing a graduate degree in a science field who also have an interest in teaching. I’m not sure they apply in your case, where it sounds like you are looking for an MAT program. Maybe our readers know of something that could help you out?
Good luck,
P.S. Future Teacher and all ScienceWomen readers who care about science education should take just a minute or two to head over to the BigThink website. BigThink and Pfizer have a deal where for every person who clicks on the “Vote for this video profile” button on this page (, Pfizer will give $1 to DonorsChoose, up to $10,000. Unfortunately, they’ve only raised about $1,900 so far. We can help send more money to K-12 science classrooms simply by clicking “vote for this video profile.” Thanks for your help.


  1. #1 Jaci
    August 7, 2008

    You might look in to the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation: A friend of mine is a science teacher who participates in this program, I don’t know what it covers financially, but she’s always spoken highly of it. Hope that helps!

  2. #2 Andrea Grant
    August 8, 2008

    A topic close to my heart! My searching has turned up a couple of options. Some are geared towards mid-career types, and none are gender specific. It’s pretty frustrating because places like the UK or New Zealand, where there are similar shortages in science teachers, have pretty good incentive programs in place to get people certified.

    1) The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships–the Leonore Annenberg one is a pilot program operating at a handful of universities (for the initial licensure). None in Texas, though.

    2) A number of metro areas have started offering “teaching fellow” programs modelled on the New York City Teaching Fellows. These programs take people with appropriate undergrad degrees and some work experience, give them a quick ~6 week orientation, and then place them in extremely high-needs inner city classrooms. The fellows pursue traditional certification credits in night courses while also teaching, which I imagine could be a heavy load the first few years. Google “teaching fellow” and you will find many programs in different states.

    3) AmeriCorps “Teach for America” program, which is similar to the teaching fellows in (2) but on a national basis.

    4) Most school districts have an alternative route to certification. These vary wildly, and as far as I could work out, the process is this: The school district can’t fill a teaching position, so someone with the right BS degree but without certification is hired (with an “emergency certification”). In order to continue teaching the next year, the person has to be enrolled in traditional certification courses (in the evenings and summer) while also teaching full time.

    5) there are also some alternative certification programs such as the Upper Valley Teacher Institute which fast track the certification courses or structure the program differently. The one at UVTI is geared towards career-changers.

    The ones where you go to night school to get certified while teaching full time don’t seem like a very good “deal” to me: yes, the certification coursework is usually free/subsidized, but the first few years in a classroom are by far the most stressful time, and I can’t imagine wanting to also be in school part time on top of that. Especially at midlife when I no longer can pull all nighters like in my college days. I definitely think I’m missing something, though, because they seem to be very popular programs!

    In the end, I wound up settling on the traditional master’s certification route, and looked for programs that I could do in one year.

  3. #3 Leanna Kendall
    August 8, 2008


    I am a research scientist turned high school science teacher and LOVE it!!! We absolutely need better, qualified, enthusiastic teachers! I went through a master’s program (master of arts in teaching, MAT) at the University of North Carolina in the school of education. I had to pay for my program, but I know they have one that pays you at Wake Forest Univ. I am sure if you looked into it, they have programs like that at universities near you! There are government programs that can cancel or defer loans, more info here

    Also check out the national science teacher association, What science do you want to teach? There are many individual science associations that might have more info. I belong to the National Association of Biology teachers (NABT) as well as the National Earth Science Teacher Association (NESTA) found here

    Hope this helps! Feel free to contact me if you want!

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