PETAL, MS (WDAM) - Some teacher assistants who want to become certified teachers are using an online program at the University of Southern Mississippi that helps them reach their education goals while continuing to work in the classroom.
It's called TAP, or the Teacher Assistant Program.
It allows qualified, working teacher assistants to earn a Bachelor of Science degree while maintaining their current job.
Lacy Brown, of Petal, benefited from TAP.
She is a teacher at Petal Primary School and she began her career there as a teacher assistant.
She had two college degrees and did not want to go back to being a regular student.
"The thought of going back to school after six years of school is overwhelming and this program made it just very easy," Brown said.
"(Students) complete the same program that our other students do, it's just they're able to do it completely online and in a cohort of other teacher assistants," said Mary Ariail, Chair of the department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education at Southern Miss.
Ariail said the program is also helping address Mississippi's teacher shortage.
For more information click here.