FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
FOR THE EDUCATION PREPARATION INSTITUTE
of Hillsborough Community College
How long does it take to complete the EPI program?
The program is designed to be completed in less than one year. Coursework is sequential, competency-based, and founded on the Florida Educator's Accomplished Practices (FEAPs) and the Professional Educator Competencies (PECs).
What is the cost of the program?
The approximate cost of $2,192.19 is to be paid in increments over the duration of the program with course fees due at time of registration. Fees can fluctuate based on changes in HCC per credit hour charges. Additional fees are charged for Florida DOE applications/exams and a Hillsborough County School District background check.
How much do the Florida DOE exams cost?
According to the 2012 Florida Teacher Certification Examination (FTCE) Program Information Guide exam fees are as follows - General Knowledge Exam - $130; Professional Education Exam - $150; Subject Area Exam - $200. Retakes will cost $150 for the General Knowledge Exam; $170 for the Professional Education Exam and $220 for the Subject Area Exam.
Is financial aid available?
Financial aid is available for students who qualify. Beginning July 1, 2012 EPI students applying for Financial Aid must provide a standard High School transcript or GED scores as part of the Financial Aid application process. Contact the Financial Aid Department through an email to the group box at FinAid-BR@hccfl.edu.
Are EPI course fees refundable?
Course fees are refundable when the required, completed paperwork is submitted to the HCC Admissions Office within the published time frame - normally three business days after the first day of the class to be dropped.
Are EPI courses transferable?
Since EPI courses are for institutional credit only, credits will not transfer into a degree program. However, EPI courses completed at HCC may be transferred to an EPI program offered at a participating community college in Florida.
Does the EPI program provide help with job placement?
Formal assistance is not provided, however, website and recruitment information for local public school systems is made available. Additional networking can occur with the course instructors since many of them are current or recently retired local school principals and/or administrators. EPI coursework information will include instruction in how to create a winning resume and make a lasting impression during an interview.
What is Field Experience and what are the requirements for Field Experience 0940 and Field Experience 0945?
Both of the Field Experience courses - 0940 and 0945 - consist of a series of visits made to an activie school setting providing the Teacher Candidate the opportunity to apply educational theory through observation and direct instructional contact with students. During FE 0940 the Teacher Candidate progresses from performing guided classroom observations to direct instruction of students. In FE 0945 Teacher Candidates build from the previous classroom experience in FE 0940 and are expected to teach personalized lesson plans as part of the learning experience. Candidates are also observed/assessed by a program mentor at least one time in the active classroom setting. This combination of direct student instruction during FE and the knowledge gained within the seven theory courses provides the EPI Teacher Candidate with not only an understanding but also an implementation of the six Florida Educator Accomplished Practices (FEAPs).
A minimum of 30 clock hours is required in an active P-12 classroom setting during FE 0940 and FE 0945. Both 0940 and 0945 starts with an introductory In-Person-Instruction (IPI) class that meets on the HCC campus. Attendance at each class is mandatory. Subsequent course assignments will be provided by web/internet instruction (Blackboard).
Before ANY active classroom experience can begin, Teacher Candidates must be fingerprinted and undergo a background check. (Information will be provided upon program entrance.)
What is a Personal Professional Development Plan (PPDP) meeting?
This interactive, group session is offered toward the end of the program and is designed to prepare Teacher Candidates for the Exit Interview. Participation in a PPDP meeting is a program requirement.
PPDP meeting agenda items include the following;
Discussing resume tips
Preparing for Job Interview questions
Determining the best way to present your professional self.
Steps to take in applying for a professional Florida Teaching Certificate
EPI program suggestions for future Teacher Candidates
Final preparations for the Exit Interview
What is an Exit Interview?
Based on directions given at Orientation, EPI students must provide designated learning assignments saved to a thumbdrive. Additionally, EPI students must provide a signed Code of Ethics form, a signed Active Teaching FEAP Performance Evaluation form (indicating completion of Field Experience 0940 and 0945) and a professor-signed FEAP Evaluation Form for each of the other seven EPI courses.
Toward the end of the program, EPI students must schedule an Exit Interview to review course evaluation sheets, FTCE score sheets and other evidence of the satisfactory completion of the program. DOE paperwork (CT133) is then sent to the state requesting a professional Florida Teaching Certificate be awarded to the Teacher Candidate.
What is a cohort?
Webster's Dictionary defines a cohort as a group of people united in an effort. EPI establishes a cohort of 20 to 25 program participants who enroll at the same time and take the same courses as they progress toward program completion. Program activities provide ample opportunity for cohort participants to learn from each other as they brainstorm creative ideas and relate valuable classroom experiences thus establishing the beginnings of an educators' network.
What is a hybrid course?
Hybrid courses incorporate an online classroom component as part of the learning experience. The time spent in the online classroom can range from 50 to 75% of the overall contact hours. Currently three courses in HCC's EPI program are hybrid courses. These courses are Professional Foundations, Technology, and Diversity.
What is an official Statement of Eligibility and how do I get one?
An official Statement of Eligibility (SOE) is a document that lists requirements necessary to become eligible to receive a Temporary and/or Professional Florida Teaching Certificate. It is based on the Florida Department of Education's (FLDOE) Application for Certification and a valid college transcript. Obtaining an SOE is required to teach grades K-12 in Florida. Additional application information can be found at http://www.fldoe.org/edcert.
If I am currently working full-time as a teacher with a temporary certificate, can I participate in the program? Also, since I am already teaching full-time do I need to take the Field Experience courses?
Those currently working as full-time teachers with temporary teaching certificates are welcome to enroll in the EPI program. ALL EPI students are required to pass the two field experience courses regardless of current employment as a full-time teacher.
How do I study for the General Knowledge test, the Professional Education test and subject area test(s)?
Study guides are available for purchase at major book stores and via the internet. Details about date, location and costs are found at www.fl.nesinc.com.
I have passed all sections of the Florida Teacher Certification Exams (FTCE). Do I still need to complete the EPI program before I apply for a Florida Teaching Certificate?
Yes. EPI is an alternative certification program designed to provide coursework that would normally be the essence of an education degree. EPI preparation of students, combined with passing exam scores makes them eligible to apply for a Florida teaching certificate.
As far as the exams go, only examination results earned within 10 years prior to the date of application for a new certificate may be acceptable for certification eligibility requirements.
Additionally, beginning July 1, 2014. new applicants for an initial Florida Educator's Certificate may no longer use a passing score on the College-Level Academic Skills Test (CLAST) earned prior to July 1, 2002, to satisfy the General Knowledge (GK) requirement.
How do I enroll in the program?
Call (813) 253-7983 to schedule an interview with the Program Director, Dr. Mary Ann Ratliff. Information needed to help you take the initial steps toward preparing for a career as an educator will be provided!!