The certification of teachers through programs other than those based in colleges and universities, rare before 1980, has become a prominent part of the teaching profession. Alternatively certified teachers are appearing in increasing numbers in private and charter schools and in poor urban neighborhoods where school districts have difficulty finding regularly certified teachers. This trend has inevitably given rise to the question of the relative effectiveness of alternatively and regularly certified teachers, but empirical research focused on students’ achievement test performance gives no clear answers. There are many good reports describing programs of alternative certification of teachers. This brief neither supplants them nor updates or corrects them. Rather, it represents an attempt to cast the major issues in the debate over alternative certification in a somewhat new light and in a concise form.