For Future Students

If you're interested in enrolling at Relay, this page will help you get started!

Welcome to Relay Graduate School of Education!

Founded in 2011, Relay is an accredited institution of higher education that seeks to ensure all students are taught by outstanding educators. Our goal is to create a relay of teachers and leaders racing towards the improvement of educational outcomes for all students. Our vision is to build a more just world where every student has access to outstanding educators and a clear path to a fulfilling life.

This page will walk you through the process of learning about, applying to, and getting prepared for Relay. We also encourage you to explore the rest of the relay.edu website (especially the Student Stories section!) to get a feel for how Relay can help you.

Need help? We are here for you every step of the way. You can reach out to the Prospective Student Advising Team anytime by doing any of the following:

  • Complete our interest form: This form helps us get to know you and a Prospective Student Advisor will reach out soon to address your specific needs!
  • Attend office hours: Drop in to office hours with any questions
  • Email us: Email support@relay.edu for quick questions
  • Review detailed articles: In the Relay Support Center
Step 1: Find the right program for you

Relay offers programs for teachers at various points in their careers - from people who have never taught before, to those who have taught for many years. Which sounds like you?

Aspiring Teachers

  • You are interested in becoming a teacher and haven’t yet accepted a teaching role (including Teach for America corps members).
    OR
  • You are already working in schools in a role that is not a full-time teaching role, but does have instructional responsibilities (For example, a paraprofessional, a co-teacher, a specialist, etc), or you have accepted such a position.

Current Teachers

  • Currently a full-time teacher in a classroom (i.e. a “teacher of record”), or have accepted such a position.

In either case, you can apply to Relay as early as you would like and be admitted. But you must secure a program-aligned instructional position before certain deadlines. Learn more about this in Step 7.

Note: If you are not a teacher but rather an instructional leader at the school or central office level, you’re looking for Relay Professional Education. Find out more here.

Relay's Teacher Programs

Since 2011, 14,000 teachers have graduated from Relay’s teacher programs. Across our institution, you can expect the same foundational experience:

  • A diverse community of educators — Relay serves educators at every point in their careers and is committed to recruiting and retaining educators of color to meet the tremendous need across this country.
  • Evidence-based, practical curriculum — Our approach is based in current research and field experience. We emphasize continuous improvement through observation, feedback, and practice, practice, practice.
  • Equity-focused, relevant and responsive pedagogy — We include equity, inclusivity, and cultural responsiveness in all of our coursework, as we firmly believe it is a fundamental part of all teaching and leading.
  • Experienced and supportive faculty and advisors— All Relay faculty and student advisors were selected because they have been highly effective PK-12 educators who can impart actionable, real-world strategies. Dedicated student advisors support students through every aspect of their experience with a culturally responsive approach focused on meeting the needs of each individual.
  • A flexible and accessible education—We focus on keeping costs affordable for educators and school partners. As such, all courses are available live online - using best practices for virtual learning, community building, and engagement - and we do not require our students to purchase any textbooks. This allows our students to fit their professional learning around their schedules and into their careers.

Our Community

Read Student and Alumni Stories and check out our blog to get a feel for what it’s like to be a Relay student!

Quick Facts About Becoming a Teacher

In the table below, you’ll review the different programs that Relay offers. Before we get there, we want to make sure everyone understands a few key terms:

  • Certification/ licensure: In order to be a teacher, you need to earn state certification or licensure (They are the same thing; different states use different terms). You earn certification/ licensure by completing required coursework and/ or degrees at an approved educator preparation program, passing exams, and fulfilling other criteria (e.g. submitting vaccination records). Many states will allow you to teach for a period of time as you work to earn certification/ licensure. Therefore, you can enroll in some Relay programs before you have this credential. Relay does not confer state certification/ licensure, but we provide you ample support to meet this requirement through coursework and other resources. (See Step 2 for more).
  • Graduate degree: Relay is accredited to offer Master of Arts in Teaching degrees in many states. (See Step 2 below for the full list) In some locations, earning a master’s degree can boost your salary.
  • Graduate certificate: In our graduate certificate program, you will earn graduate-level credits and will be prepared for state certification or licensure in Special Education, but you do not earn a master’s degree.
  • Residency: A teaching residency is an “on-ramp” to a teaching career. Residents work in schools under the guidance of a mentor teacher, gradually taking on more instructional responsibilities and earning a salary, while also completing Relay coursework. The following year, they will be prepared for a full time role.

We offer different programs to meet the varied needs of teachers. Which one(s) would you like to explore?

Who is
it for?

Master of Arts in Teaching - Residency

  • A gradual on-ramp into teaching.
    In Year 1, learn under a mentor. By Year 2, you will be a full time teacher.
  • Develop your teaching skills to improve student outcomes.
  • Receive regular, personalized feedback on your instruction.
  • Earn a master’s degree, which provides in-depth training on core teaching skills and the potential for a salary boost.

    Learn more→
  • A gradual on-ramp into teaching.
    In Year 1, learn under a mentor. This prepares you to become a full time teacher, though in most cases no longer taking Relay courses.
  • Develop your teaching skills to improve student outcomes.
  • Receive regular, personalized feedback on your instruction.
  • Earn credits which can be applied to a master’s degree at Relay, if you decide to move to that program for a 2nd year.

    Learn more→

Aspiring Teachers

1 year

Teacher certification/ licensure

Teaching Certification Programs -  Residency

2 years

Aspiring Teachers

Master of Arts in Teaching - Non-Residency

  • Develop your teaching skills to improve student outcomes, while serving as a full time teacher
  • Receive regular, personalized feedback on your instruction
  • Earn a master’s degree, which provides in-depth training on core teaching skills, and the potential for a salary boost
  • Appropriate for first year teachers and those with a few years of experience who want to up-level their skills

    Learn more→

Current Teachers

Graduate degree

Teacher certification/ licensure

2 years

Graduate degree

Teacher certification/ licensure

Teaching Certification Programs - Alternative Certification / Non Residency

  • Develop your teaching skills to improve student outcomes, while serving as a full time teacher
  • Receive regular, personalized feedback on your classroom instruction
  • Earn credits which can be applied to a master’s degree at Relay, if you decide to move to that program for a 2nd year.
  • Appropriate for the first year teachers

    Learn more→

Current Teachers

Teacher certification/ licensure

1 year

  • Develop your teaching skills to improve student outcomes for neurodivergent or exceptional learners
  • Receive regular, personalized feedback on your classroom instruction
  • Earn qualifications to pursue the range of roles available to certified special educators
  • Appropriate for novice or experienced educators who want to develop specialized skills

    Learn more→

Current Teachers

1 year

Graduate-level certificate

Teacher certification/ licensure

Advanced Certificate in Special Education

Typical
duration

What can
you earn?

Step 2: Check out programs, certifications, licensure info, and eligibility in your state

Relay offers a wide variety of programs to aspiring and current teachers all over the country. However, our programs differ based on the certification/ licensure requirements in each state. Below, you’ll find important links for each state. Please read each one carefully to find out the information that’s right for you!

Quick Facts About Becoming a Teacher

  • Institution of higher education vs educator preparation program: Relay Graduate School of Education is both an institution of higher education that can grant degrees like the Master of Arts in Teaching, and an educator preparation program that prepares you for teacher certification/ licensure. If you plan to pursue certification/ licensure, you may be admitted to both the institution of higher education and an educator preparation program, or just an educator preparation program, depending on what path you choose.

  • Endorsement Area vs Content Area: On each state page, you’ll see the term “endorsement area.” This refers to the subject and/ or grade level for which you are pursuing certification or licensure. You may also see the term “content area.” This refers to the subject and/ or grade level that you specialize in at Relay. Usually, your content area and endorsement area are the same, but may be different if pursuing certification/ licensure in Special Education.

  • Support for certification/ licensure: Relay is committed to supporting students to successfully complete certification/licensure requirements. We provide a variety of resources to help our enrolled students:
    • Exam preparation resources
    • Virtual or in-person support from faculty and staff
    • Certification Officers for every state, who know all the details of the process


Once you submit your application, you’ll receive personalized guidance on what’s required for you. In the meantime, learn more about certification/ endorsement this guide and this checklist

Step 3: Understand tuition and financial aid

Paying for grad school is tough - we get it! As a nonprofit, we believe that finances should not be a barrier to becoming a teacher or to accessing high quality professional development.

Just like with college, you’ll see your baseline tuition cost, which can be greatly reduced by several forms of financial aid. There are almost 600 teacher preparation programs in the country; Relay is one of the most affordable, high quality and accessible options available. We are proud of that and will continue to prioritize our commitment to quality, affordability and accessibility. 

Learn more about tuition and financial aid

Contact Student Financial Services with specific questions

Step 4: Check deadlines and consider your schedule

Most Relay students follow this pattern:

  • Spring: Apply
  • Summer: Start Relay classes
  • School year: Continue Relay classes (while working in schools)

However, specific dates vary based on your program, preference, and your circumstances. Go back and check Step 2 for the admissions deadlines in your states!  

If you are doing summer classes, you will also want to consider which summer session you want to attend. If you are attending Summer Session 1-4, you will need to apply earlier than the final deadline for all applications. Some sessions are also not offered in certain states or programs. See the table below for an overview of summer session dates and visit this page for early deadlines and more details.

Summer Start Session 1

Thursday, June 20th through Friday, July 12th, 2024

Daytime (Weekdays)

Summer Start Session 2

Summer Start Session 3

Monday, June 24th through Friday, July 12th, 2024

Evenings and Saturdays

Monday, July 15th through Friday, August 2nd, 2024

Daytime (Weekdays)

Summer Start Session 4

Tuesday, July 16th through Friday, August 2nd, 2024

Evenings and Saturdays

Summer Start Session 5

Saturday, August 3rd through Friday, August 30th, 2024

Daytime (Weekdays) (Except the 1st class)

Summer Start Session 6

Fall Start Session 7

Saturday, August 3rd through Friday, August 30th, 2024

Evenings and Saturdays

Tuesday, September 3rd - December 2024

Mostly evening classes, however schedules will vary based on the program.

Step 5: Apply to the Relay program of your choice

You’re ready to apply! All applications to Relay's programs include the following action items:


1. Check your eligibility and certification requirements and deadlines. Find these under step 2.

2. Submit Transcripts. Submit official transcripts showing a conferred bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a minimum Undergraduate GPA of 2.5. Please note some states may require a higher GPA for certification/licensure. Learn more about GPA requirements here

3. Complete Application Materials.

  1. ~ Basic personal information (name, email, phone, etc.)
  2. ~ An updated resume
  3. ~ A short essay
  4. ~ Email address of a recommender who can attest to your work ethic

4. Complete Enrollment Requirements. After you submit your application, you will receive a link to an admissions portal website. Log in to follow up with all items on your admissions checklist, personalized to your state and program.

For detailed support in completing your application, visit this site.

Step 6: Secure a position in a school, if not already completed

While waiting for your admissions decision, you should make every effort to secure a program-aligned instructional role. A program-aligned instructional role is a role within a school, teaching or supporting PK–12 students. Instructional role requirements differ depending on the Relay program. Learn more here.

Step 7: Accept your offer

We look forward to welcoming you at Relay! If accepted, review your admissions decision and accept or decline admissions by signing your Enrollment Agreement which will be emailed to your email address on file.

Step 8: Take final steps to prepare for your Relay experience
  • Check your new (@relay.edu) email address. Information regarding this email will be sent to your personal email. After you accept your admissions to Relay, we will only contact you through your official Relay email address and will discontinue using your personal email address.
  • Read your Relay Welcome Email and subsequent emails about certification/licensure.
  • Complete and submit any remaining admissions and enrollment requirements listed on the Admissions Portal. Log in to the Admissions Portal here.
  • If you need to change any information in your student record, please access the Student Record Update Form, located on the “Status Page” within the Admissions Portal. 
  • Meet with your student advisor - they will reach to you via your Relay email by mid-summer.

Wherever your journey takes you, we are so thrilled that you want to become a teacher or deepen your skills. As we like to say at Relay: “Teaching is an expression of love.” We can’t wait to hear about the amazing things you and your K12 students will do!