Licensure/Certification requirements vary from state to state. Additionally, some states offer alternative or provisional licensure. In general, it is best to complete a licensure program at one of the institutions in the state where you intend to teach. This typically reduces the bureaucratic overhead involved in getting the state teaching license you seek. Additionally, not all states offer clear reciprocity for licenses earned in other states, so additional requirements may need to be addressed when an individual chooses to teach in a state other than the one they were licensed in.
Something else to consider when choosing a licensure/certification program is that each higher education institution has their own requirements designed to address the state requirements. In other words, licensure programs may differ in length based on the school you wish to attend.
Some steps to get you going include:
1. Start talking to institutions which offer certification programs
- Ask the institution for the details of their program(s):
- Are the courses offered at times when you can attend?
- Cost per credit hour for tuition.
- Cost and type of fees.
- Average time needed to complete the program.
- Transcripts and records needed to apply to the program and application procedures.
- Is there a point-of-contact on the campus familiar with the TTT program?
- Financial aid available for potential teachers.
2. Get started! (There's no such thing as a free lunch - nobody is going to come to your house and hand you a teaching license/certificate.)
- Have your transcripts evaluated by the appropriate office at your institution of choice.
- If you have decided which program to attend, sign up!
- If you are a participant, contact us here and let us know what program you are attending, when it starts, ends, type of certification you will obtain, at what level (elementary, secondary, middle) etc. We will put this information into your file for potential employers to review.
- For those who applied and have stipend funding available, submit your initial stipend request to DANTES.
For those who are still in the military....
If you want to get started right away and you have sufficient time to take courses needed to fulfill some portion of the requirements for your program, and you are not in the same state as the institution which will be granting your final certification, you should:
- Work with your education center counselor to develop a course of action and a degree plan leading to a degree appropriate for the subject(s) you plan to teach (i.e. if you want to teach teach science or English do not earn a business management degree because you can complete it in the shortest amount of time).
- Identify your VA educational benefits. (VA and GI Bill benefits can be used to fund completion of a teacher certification program)
- Investigate the SOCED program at your education center.
- Carefully coordinate and document all course work. Insure that all of your acquired credit will transfer to the to the institution in the state you plan to move to. Before signing up and paying for courses (in your current state) have the degree or certification granting institution in the state you are moving to validate the transferability of credits toward your program. Have the institution provide you with written documentation, with the appropriate official's signature. Don't waste time and money on courses that will not help you to complete your final program!
State Requirements For Certification/Licensure
Alternate Routes to Certification
As teacher shortages escalate, more and more states are designing alternate routes to licensure to encourage mid-career changers, post-career changers, non-education majors, etc. into the profession. The extent to which these programs deviate from "standard" routes and do such things as provide credit for experience depends on the extent of a states need for new teachers, beliefs regarding the education and training of teachers, and the interaction or "balance of power" between state education agencies, institutions of higher education, individual school districts and the professional organizations representing teachers and academic administrators. That being said, be aware not only of the variety to be found among alternate routes to licensure programs but also that the effectiveness and perceived effectiveness of those programs varies from state to state. Also be aware that, in general, licensure gained through an alternate routes tend to be less transferable from state to state.
Within the Lewis & Clark Region the following alternative or provisional routes to licensure/certification currently exist:
Montana - The Northern Plains Transition to Teaching (NPTT) program is a condensed, entirely distance delivered licensure program that gets qualified individuals into the classroom (as the teacher of record, with full pay and benefits) after taking three "qualifying" courses and provides full teacher licensure within a year and a half. This program currently serves Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
Additionally, a Class V Alternative License can be gained from the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) if the applicant holds a bachelors degree with a major (or the equivalent number of credits) in a certifiable subject area, and has taken a minimum of six (6) credits of education coursework. The Alternative License has a three (3) year, non-renewable lifespan which is designed to provide time for the holder to complete the requirements for a standard license (which will vary depending on the higher education institution the individual decides to work through). The Class V allows individuals to be hired without restrictions so they can earn an income while working toward full licensure. Contact OPI for additional information (406-444-3150).
Idaho - The State Board of Education (Nov '03) voted to approve the use of the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence Passport to Teaching. Rules for implementing the program are currently being designed. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
Idaho does provide for an alternate route to secondary education certification. Essentially, with a bachelors degree and nine (9) credits of education coursework, an alternate certification may be provided. The alternate certification is valid for three (3) years during which time the holder must complete two years of on-the-job-training/internship. Specifics of the program are provided in the above link. Contact person for this program is Larry Norton (208-332-6800), Teacher Certification Specialist at the Idaho State Department of Education. Phillip Wickliff (208-332-6977), veterans education specialist, can also provide information on Idaho licensure programs.
Those interested in Teaching in Idaho should also check out the PACE (Pathways for Accelerated Certifications & Endorsements) program at Lewis-Clark State College. This program is funded in part by a Transition to Teaching grant from the U.S. Department of Education and is, in large part, available online.
North Dakota - The North Dakota State Board for Career and Technical Education, the Department of Public Instruction, and the Education Standards and Practices Commission have endorsed the North Dakota Transition to Teaching program which is a three-year alternative teacher preparation program that focuses on individuals who already have baccalaureate degrees in the content areas or who are entering teaching from industry or the military with specific technical skills. Participants complete the requirements for teacher education and full licensure through a planned program of seminars and university courses while they teach.
South Dakota - The South Dakota Department of Education offers an alternative route to teacher certification. Through the cooperation of participating colleges and universities, hiring school systems, and the department, alternative certification offers qualified individuals a process by which they may complete an approved teacher education program while being employed in an accredited South Dakota school system. Roxie Thielen (605-773-4669) is the contact person for this program.
South Dakota is also a partner with MSU in the Lewis & Clark Transition to Teaching program (go to the link or see the section on Montana above for additional information on the NPTT program).
Wyoming - The Wyoming Professional Teaching and Standards Board (PTSB) offers the option for a portfolio based review for certification. The PTSB is also willing and prepared to provide Temporary Permit to those Troops-to-Teachers participants who meet the criteria (holds a bachelor's degree in the subject area they plan to teach and have been offered a position in a school).
The Wyoming PTSB is also a partner with MSU in the Lewis & Clark Transition to Teaching program (go to the link or see the section on Montana above for additional information on the NPTT program).
Additionally, the University of Wyoming provides two options for post-baccalaureate students. One is the "fast track" where students with a degree in an appropriate content area spend a summer and fall on campus, student teach in the spring and then are eligible for certification. The other is an on-site option at their Professional Development School site in Cheyenne where people who hold a degree in a content area can participate in experiences tailored to their strengths and weaknesses, including clinical experiences in school settings and complete a portfolio certification. Contact the UW College of Education.
State Certification Information
National - NASDTEC
50 States' Certification Requirements
Idaho - Idaho State Department of Education
Montana - Office of Public Instruction
North Dakota - North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board
South Dakota - Office of Policy and Accountability
Wyoming - Teacher Certification & Employment