Can I Claim an Alternative Teacher Certification Program on My Taxes?

by Marie Huntington
Teacher residents work in classrooms while completing college programs.

If you have been accepted into an alternative teacher certification program, you will be required to work and complete courses within a certain time frame, which usually ranges from one to three years. If you pay a portion or all of your tuition-related expenses, you can claim these payments on your federal taxes. You also may be able to deduct work-related expenses for certain costs while being employed by the school district.

Alternative Teacher Certification

An alternative teacher certification program is designed to allow non-certified teachers to complete the educational requirements for teacher certification. It is usually offered by K-12 public and private school institutions. These programs are typically offered to individuals with bachelor’s degrees in career industries that might not be related to the field of education. However, prospective candidates for alternative teacher certification enter the programs with the intent of changing their careers to teaching. In return for working for specific schools for a certain amount of time, many school districts will pay up to a certain amount of tuition and fees associated with your teacher certification program. You will also receive a salary for the work that you perform for the school district during the program.

Tuition Deductions

Most school districts require teacher residents who are employed by the districts under alternative teacher certification programs to attend colleges that are approved by the districts. You can deduct from your taxes tuition-related expenses that you have paid to an eligible educational institution. Other expenses that you incur during your enrollment may not qualify for the qualified education expenses deduction, including personal, family and living expenses. You can deduct tuition expenses paid for each academic period, such as semesters or quarters. You can also deduct tuition expenses paid from the proceeds of student loans.


Even if you were required by the school district to pay your tuition expenses while being employed under the alternative teacher certification program, you will not be able to deduct qualified tuition expenses if someone else claims you as a dependent or if you are married and filing separately. You also may not deduct any portion of the tuition expenses paid by your employer.

Work-Related Expenses

Once you begin working under an alternative teacher certification program, you will implement lesson plans and perform other teaching responsibilities. Depending on the requirements for the program set by the school institution, you may work part-time or full-time hours. Any books, research costs or supplies that aid in your responsibilities to perform your teaching duties can be deducted as work-related expenses, as long as the expenses are related to your current profession as a teacher resident.

About the Author

Marie Huntington has been a legal and business writer since 2002 with articles appearing on various websites. She also provides travel-related content online and holds a Juris Doctor from Thomas Cooley Law School.

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