PHOENIX 3TV/CBS 5 -- There's a new program that aims at combatting the teacher shortage in Arizona. On Monday, state education leaders announced the Arizona Teacher Residency program. They hope it better prepares future teachers and keeps them in the classroom.
"Teaching is incredibly hard and it is even harder to stay. So in order to do this challenging and noble profession, you need a lot of preparation and support," said Dr. Victoria Theisen-Homer, director of the Arizona Teacher Residency.
The program is the first of its kind in Arizona and modeled after a medical residency. During the two-year program, students will get hands on experience in the classroom while working towards their master's degree.
"In our program we will be providing them a whole year of apprenticeship before they even become a teacher of record. They will have support the whole way," said Theisen-Homer.
During the second year in the program, students will get hired as a teacher with the partnering school district. The State Department of Education invested $5 million to help launch the program. It is teaming up with Arizona K12 Center and NAU to make it happen. Applications start this winter.
Meanwhile, some educators say more needs to be done to keep current teachers in the classroom. Glendale teacher Amber Gould says investing in education and paying teachers more is crucial.
"When we are some of the lowest paid educators in the nation, it makes it so that we can't get people to come into our state, it makes it so that we can't get people to stay in our state," said Gould.