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Part of Western Governors University

September 23, 2021

Championing a Better Way to Learn

Read about the WGU School of Education and its Teachers College including history, accreditation, and programs for the education professions

(This story was revised in December 2022)

Western Governors University was founded in 1997 by the governors of 19 Western states to provide high-quality, affordable degree programs in high-demand, high-growth occupations, with a particular focus on meeting the needs of underserved populations. In 2001, the U.S. Department of Education awarded $10 million to expand WGU and found the WGU Teachers College.

Today, the WGU Teachers College is part of the WGU School of Education, which also includes the College of General Education. WGU’s deep connection to the workforce helps students advance their careers and see a strong return on their educational investment – including social impact. In the School of Education, 66 percent of students are in one or more underserved populations (first-generation college students, low-income, students of color, or rural) and 79 percent are working while enrolled.

A private, non-profit online university, WGU is based on an innovative competency-based education model that provides a student-centered Community of Care with a full suite of wrap-around support services and specialized faculty. As part of our competency-based model, students gain a working knowledge of mastery-based education, online/blended instruction, and the strategic use of new education technologies (ie., AR/VR, metaverse) – building their expertise as future educators and leaders. The personalized, flexible model allows us to meet each student where they are and help them get where they need to go, including each student’s ability to speed up or slow down within each six-month term.

WGU has strategically contained costs in its model for 25 years and provides a variety of financial aid and scholarship options, so more students can afford a high-quality education. Today, the average debt of a WGU graduate is about half of the national average because WGU’s diligence to maintain lower costs reduces the need to borrow. In fiscal year 2021, WGU funded $7.9 million in scholarships for Teachers College students. 

The Teachers College is now the largest non-profit college of education in the nation, and in 2021, the Teachers College graduated more than 13,000 students. There are approximately 70,000 working educators in the WGU alumni network, with licensed teachers leading classrooms in all 50 states. 

WGU’s Teachers College programs have been continuously accredited since 2006. They are currently accredited by both the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), a prestigious combination of accreditations. CAEP’s set of rigorous Teacher Preparation Standards was developed to ensure excellence in educator preparation programs. Additionally, WGU teacher licensure programs’ AAQEP accreditation acknowledges that the program prepares effective education professionals who continue to grow as teachers and leaders. The larger university maintains regional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

CAEP logo

WGU Teachers College is a leader in STEM education and a top producer of math and science teachers throughout the nation. The WGU Teachers College currently offers 11 bachelor’s degree programs and 18 master’s degree programs for teachers and/or leaders across the education professions including higher education and workforce training. We also offer an endorsement program in English Language Learning to meet the rapidly growing need for educators with ELL expertise. The initial licensure degree programs can prepare students for licensure in all 50 states. One of many compelling facets of our offerings is the support of a nationwide Clinical Experience team that partners with more than 2,800 school districts across the U.S. to ensure our students have access to local, high-quality, on-ground research, capstone, clinical, and student teaching experiences.

WGU's office building

The Teachers College initial licensure programs are nationally recognized by TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics), ACEI (American Association of Childhood Education International), NSTA (National Science Teachers Association), and NCTE (National Council for Teachers of English).

In 2020, WGU won the University Research & Review Best Value School for the 7th consecutive year and the U.S. Distance Learning Association 21st Century Distance Learning Award for the 10th time. Learn more about WGU Teachers College.

To read more about the Teachers College in practice, explore stories in our Learning Community at

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One online university. Four colleges. Flexible degrees.

Our focus on your success starts with our focus on four high-demand fields: K–12 teaching and education, nursing and healthcare, information technology, and business. Every degree program at WGU is tied to a high-growth, highly rewarding career path. Which college fits you?

Want to see all the degrees WGU has to offer? View all degrees