TYLER, TX (KLTV) - At John Tyler High School in Tyler, James Slaughters guides students through the subject of chemistry. Less than a year ago Slaughter wasn't a teacher and had no plans to switch careers, he was an agronomist, studying the growth of grass.
"I figured why not go into a field that has a little more lasting meaning to it," he explained.
A natural teacher, Slaughter enrolled in a teacher certification course. A short time later, he was ready to teach. Making a career switch is gaining popularity. Sharon Rose with human resources at Tyler I.S.D. has noticed the boom.
"I probably have about a hundred more than I did this time last year," she said.
Rose said alternatives to the traditional teaching path is why.
"You can go to several websites that say you can become a teacher in almost a year and a half," said Rose. "The alternative certification is the new wave."
The new teacher project that helps people switch careers to the classroom, already has 29,576 applications for programs this year, a 44% increase over last year. Other web sites like Texas Teaching Fellows looks to make the career change as smooth as possible, certifying students in just a year. Now comfortable in his classroom, Slaughter seems to have found his perfect job formula.
"Hopefully, one day I'm gonna have some students come back to me some day and say, 'hey, Mr. Slaughter. It's good to see you. You'll never believe what I've become or what I've done.'"