for Students, Employers, and Advisors

 The innovative Teacher Apprentice Program offers an alternative route to licensure that many students and school districts have taken advantage of and benefitted from in the past 6 years. Like other paths to licensure, this program has clearly defined parameters and guidelines for how students make the transition from a paraprofessional to a licensed teaching position within a school district or childcare facility. 

There are 6 main sections in this document:

  1. Program Qualifications
  2. Internship Requirements
  3. Limited TAP License
  4. Exceptions
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. Resources

Program Qualifications

In order to be admitted to the TAP program, students must meet these qualifications:

  • Must serve as a paraeducator or long-term sub with instructional responsibilities at the Early Childhood level (birth-3rd grade); or Elementary Education level (Kindergarten-6th grade) for at least 8 hours per week in the initial semesters of the program and full time the final semester.
  • The paraeducator position can be in an interrelated (special education) or general education classroom.
  • The paraeducator position must be held in a building that is accredited by KSDE (Kansas State Department of Education) or licensed by KDHE (Kansas Department of Health and Environment) or a similar setting.

Most potential TAP students will be hired full-time as paraprofessionals with instructional (and some non-instructional) duties. Typically, they will work with students for a majority of their time in a small group setting and may have additional responsibilities (i.e. lunch duty, recess duty, bus duty, etc.). Historically, TAP students work in a wide variety of positions and situations within a school district or community–wherever they are needed most.

While these qualifications may seem straightforward, they do allow for flexibility for students and school districts. In the initial semesters of the program, as long as a TAP student is in a para position where they are instructing students for at least 8 hours per week, the district can choose to use them in other capacities throughout the remainder of the week.  This includes being a substitute teacher, performing non-instructional duties (i.e. administrative assistant, lunch duty, etc.), or any number of situations where a school might need a little extra help throughout the day.

This information is given with a generous amount of caution, however. It is important that TAP students are in a consistent teaching position in order to effectively plan, teach, and work with a mentor teacher as much as possible. If students are bouncing from classroom to classroom subbing on a daily basis, they lose the opportunity to consistently work with a classroom teacher to develop and teach lessons. This is a crucial requirement of all internship courses in the TAP program (see list of Internship Requirements in the next section).

Also, TAP students will more easily meet their teaching requirements if they are allowed the flexibility to collaborate with more than one teacher. Our most successful students are connected to a team who will allow the student to come in and teach a wide variety of subjects, students, and in different situations. While this is not always possible, it helps our students immensely to feel supported by their peers and in their growth as a professional.

One important requirement that is often forgotten is that students must be classified as a full-time para or teacher of record in their final semester of the program. While a student could be in a variety of situations up until that point, it is required that TAP students are in a full-time instructional position in their final semester. This semester serves as their “student teaching,” so to speak, and the stakes are high. In addition to their internship requirements, students are also completing their Teacher Licensure Capstone (a licensure requirement) during this semester. Needless to say, it is imperative that they have as many opportunities to teach as possible during this time.

Overall, TAP students should be teaching as much as possible to meet the requirements of their courses and become more comfortable being in charge of a classroom. However, it is important to remember that observation of and collaboration with an experienced teacher on a daily basis is just as essential to their future success.


  • Must serve as a paraprofessional or long-term sub with instructional duties a minimum of 8 hours per week
  • Must be in a Kindergarten-6th grade general education or birth-3rd grade special education classroom during the required 8 hours
  • 8 hours per week in initial semesters (part-time), full time position in final semester
  • Should be in a consistent teaching position in order to effectively plan, teach, and work with a mentor teacher
  • Must be classified as a full-time para or teacher of record in their final semester of the program
  • Should be teaching as much as possible to meet the requirements of their courses

Internship Requirements 

During the course of the semester, students will submit a series of lesson plans, videos, and reflections to their success coach and internship instructors for feedback. While a student is teaching, the lesson will be recorded using a device (phone, tablet, etc.), then uploaded to the WSU secure assessment system (PASS) for evaluation. 

Students in different internships have different requirements. In general, the further along in the program a student is, the more they are expected to teach.


Required Internship Teaching Situations

Teacher Apprentice Program
Course # of Lessons to Plan and Teach Subject Area(s)
TAP 437-440 1 Varies
TAP 605 1 ELA
TAP 606 2
Social Studies
TAP 607 3
Math Mini-Unit (2)
 PreK-3 ELA (1)
TAP 608 4
Social Studies

There is a cycle to this lesson planning/teaching process that looks like this:

Infographic showing a circle made up of six smaller circles. Each smaller circle details a step in a process. Arrow icons are placed clockwise from step to step, with no stopping point, as the cycle repeats. The points are: Student writes lesson plan and sends to coach; Coach gives student feedback on lesson plan; Student applies feedback then teaches and/or records lesson; Student uploads video to PASS, then watches video and reflects on teaching; Coach watches video and gives feedback on student’s lesson; and Student views feedback, reflects on feedback, and applies feedback to next lesson plan.

Note: This is only applicable to TAP 605-607. TAP 608 students do not need to submit their lesson plans before teaching.

As one can see, it is imperative that a TAP student is consistently in the same classroom with the same teacher and students in order to effectively plan lessons to best meet the needs of those students. Ideally, the instruction should be in the natural order of the curriculum and not a “pull-out” type lesson that could be taught at any time. TAP students need to see what students in a particular grade level know and what is normally taught before and after a specific lesson. They also need practice in effectively evaluating if re-teaching is necessary. Students may have difficulty learning these important skills if they are in a different classroom every day.


  • Students will submit a series of lesson plans, videos, and reflections throughout the semester
  • Students in different internships have different requirements
  • Ideally, students should be in 1-2 classrooms with the same teachers and students on a regular basis

Limited TAP License

During their time in the TAP program, students have the opportunity to obtain the limited TAP license. This license enables a student to be the teacher of record in a classroom. Students are not required to obtain this license in order to be in the program; however, it is a good opportunity for qualified students to fill a classroom vacancy while finishing up their program.

Meeting the qualifications of the limited TAP license are the responsibilities of the TAP student. Information is provided every semester to students through various means (courses, success coaches, website, meetings, etc.). It is in the students’ best interest to be knowledgeable about the process to attain the license because it generally takes several months from beginning to end. See the TAP Limited License Checklist for more information. Here’s a quick list of the requirements:

  • Student is offered a job within the parameters of the license (Birth-Grade 3 Early Childhood Special Education or K-6 general education)
  • Must have at least 60 college credit hours
  • Previous Bachelor’s Degree: Completed 1 semester of WSU approved courses
  • No previous Bachelor’s Degree: Completed 2 semesters of WSU approved courses
  • Minimum cumulative 2.75 grade point average on a 4.0 scale on required WSU professional coursework in the relevant program of study
  • Maintain continuous enrollment in the TAP Program
  • Documented performance of EFFECTIVE or higher overall on the summative KEEP assessment during the semester of application
  • Satisfactory performance of EFFECTIVE or higher on disposition evaluation
  • Submit a letter of support from district or building administrator regarding employment
  • Must attend a meeting with academic advisor to discuss progress in the TAP program
  • Must attend a meeting or watch a video about the limited TAP license

Attaining all of these requirements is not easily done. There is no guarantee that a student will meet all of the requirements to earn the license. It is rare that a beginning TAP student will score high enough on the summative KEEP assessment in their first semesters of the program. We want to ensure that students are ready to meet the challenges of being a full-time student and first-year teacher and that they have the potential to be an effective teacher for their students. 

When considering whether they are ready to take on a full-time teaching position, students should evaluate how prepared they are to do so:

  • How much do I know about standards-based lesson/unit planning?
  • Am I prepared to effectively deal with student behaviors that detract from the learning environment?
  • Do I know basic classroom management strategies for the grade level I am applying for?
  • What is my experience in working with parents and colleagues in a professional manner?
  • How confident am I that I will be able to effectively teach reading? Math? Social Studies? Science?
  • Do I know developmentally appropriate strategies to use in assessing student progress on a daily, quarterly, and yearly basis?
  • Do I know what to do if students don’t “get it?”
  • What is my experience in working with students who have an IEP?

Also, TAP students and employers should be mindful of how difficult it could be for a student to be a full-time classroom teacher and college student. Our number one goal for each of our students is to complete the program and pass all licensure exams to become a licensed teacher. If a student struggles to successfully complete courses and fulfill responsibilities while a para, it is highly unlikely they will be successful with the additional responsibilities of being a teacher of record. Balance is necessary, and students need to consider whether they can take on the added stress and responsibility of being a first-year teacher and be able to be successful in their coursework. We want to make sure that we create a positive school-work-life balance  in which each individual student will feel supported and be successful.


  • Obtaining the license is optional for TAP students
  • Students must meet all requirements to receive the license
  • Meeting the requirements is not easy, especially for beginning students
  • Students must consider how much knowledge they have about being a teacher
  • Balance between school, work, and home life should be considered at all times
  • Number one goal is for students to complete the program and pass all licensure exams 


In unique circumstances, a student may be able to continue in the TAP program in a role other than that of a para or teacher of record. One such way is that of a long-term substitute teacher.

If a TAP student has an established relationship with a school district (as a para or other support staff), the student could move into a long-term substitute position under the following conditions:

  • Student is in good standing in the TAP program (GPA 2.75 or better)
  • Student passed all courses with a B- or better in the previous semester
  • Student has earned scores of Developing or higher on the summative KEEP assessment in the previous semester
  • Student has earned scores of Developing or higher on the disposition assessment in the previous semester
  • Student is willing to work towards the limited license in the first semester as a long-term substitute and obtain the license by the beginning of the next semester Administrator or director of hiring district/facility must meet with TAP coordinator to discuss student’s employment situation

The long-term sub position must also be in the same classroom every day–not a permanent sub position where the student would be in a different classroom from day to day. 

Student’s eligibility to remain in a long-term substitute position will be evaluated at the end of the semester. As a reminder, the ultimate goal for each of our students is program completion and licensure. If a student has a noticeable slide in academic progress while being a long-term substitute, their role as such will be re-evaluated and the exception may be revoked.


  • A student with an established relationship with a school district may become a long-term sub under specific conditions
  • The long-term sub position must be in the same classroom every day
  • Students who take a position as a long-term sub must work towards a limited license in their first semester in that position
  • Exception may be revoked if a student’s academic progress stalls

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I enter the TAP program as a substitute teacher?

No. The program is designed for paraprofessionals to transition into licensed teaching positions. Being a substitute teacher will not allow students to meet the various requirements of their courses and internships in the TAP program. However, being a long-term sub in one classroom would be an exception to this rule (see Exceptions above).

I work in a daycare facility. Does that qualify for the TAP program?

It depends. If the facility is a licensed KDHE facility and you will work alongside other licensed teachers, then it is likely to be a qualifying position. Talk to your advisor for more information on your specific situation.

My district has an opening for a PE teacher–my dream job! Can I apply using the limited TAP license?

Unfortunately, no. A PE position falls outside the limits of the license. You can only apply for positions that are in a Birth-3rd grade special education or K-6th grade general education classroom.

Can I take a position as a para in a middle school?

Yes, as long as you are working primarily with 6th grade students AND have the ability to teach all subjects (see Required Internship Teaching Situations). You will need to prepare at least two lesson plans for each subject area while in the program, so plan ahead. Many times, other teachers in your building will graciously work with you to help you plan and teach lessons, even if you are not in their classroom on a regular basis. 

Can I take a position as a para in a high school?

No. You must be employed in a Birth-Grade 3 interrelated classroom or a K-6th grade general education classroom to be admitted to the program. This program leads to licensure in these two areas, so you will need to be teaching and working with students in these ranges.

I heard that I can now get a Temporary Emergency Authorized License (TEAL) license through KSDE. Subs get paid more than paras in my district!  Can I do that and stay in the TAP program?

No. Being a substitute teacher is a much different experience than being a para due to the random and inconsistent nature of the position.  It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to meet the requirements of the TAP program while being in a different classroom every day.


Questions? Please contact:

Jill Wood

Coordinator, Teacher Apprentice Program

(316) 978-6210

Emily Stevens

Academic Advising Coordinator - Teacher Apprentice Program

(316) 978-6948

Tierney Mount

Licensure Officer and Academic Program Manager

(316) 978-3300