School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Deanna L Keith

Primary Subject Area

Education, Teacher Training


barriers, nontraditional females, support systems, teacher education


This study examined the experiences of nontraditional female students age 30 and older as they persisted in teacher education programs. The impact of life roles, internal and external risks to persistence, and support systems were considered. Case studies of five nontraditional female students from three university settings were conducted to understand the overall experiences, barriers encountered, and supports utilized in teacher education programs. Interviews, two-column memoing, and document analysis were used to triangulate data. The findings revealed that situational barriers, followed by institutional barriers, posed significant threats to persistence in teacher education programs. All of the nontraditional females struggled to balance home and school responsibilities at some point while enrolled in a teacher education program. Participants primarily relied on family members for emotional support throughout their programs. The major implication of this study is the need for teacher education programs to consider revising policies and procedures that limit participation by nontraditional female students.