Montana Teacher Certification: How to Become a Licensed Teacher in Montana
To become a certified teacher in Montana, you must have a bachelor’s degree, a completed course of teacher education, and pass a background check. Teaching certification in Montana may be streamlined for those who can help fill the state’s pressing teacher shortage.
Requirements for certified teachers in Montana
To become a certified teacher in Montana, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree. You must also complete a professional educator preparation course from a state-accredited institution of higher education. Your area of concentrated study must also be approved for endorsement in the state of Montana. After that, you must successfully complete a course of supervised teaching. This requirement can be met as part of your educator preparation course, or as a one-year course of teaching experience in a state-accredited elementary or secondary school.
If you have graduated from an accredited college or university but your bachelor’s degree was not in education, you may still qualify for teaching certification in Montana. You may be able to obtain an alternative teaching certificate by meeting certain other requirements.
Other requirements for teaching certification in Montana include agreeing to the Professional Educators of Montana’s Code of Ethics and submitting to a background check that requires fingerprinting. Applicants will also be expected to submit a form outlining their relevant teaching experiences along with several personal or academic references. Once you earn your license, it will be valid for five years, with the exception of Class Five alternative licenses. These are only valid for three years. If you let your licensing lapse, you will be expected to submit to a new background check and fingerprinting through the Montana Department of Justice.
Montana jobs for licensed teachers
Teaching certification in Montana has several professional levels. The most common is the Class Two or Standard license. It is issued to those who wish to teach at the elementary or secondary level and also for those who will be teaching career and technical education. A Class One or Professional license is awarded to teachers who have earned a master’s degree and who have three years of teaching experience under a Class Two license. Other certificates include those for career and technical educators, Native American language and culture educators, and for college instructors who teach dual-credit classes for high school students.
If you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for Montana for the 2015-2016 school year:
- Career and Technical Education
- Social Studies
- Special Education Teachers
- Speech-Language Pathologist
- World Languages
A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.
Teaching license reciprocity in Montana
According to the Montana Office of Public Instruction, Montana does not have reciprocity with any state for teacher licensure. That means all teachers must go through the Montana application process.
Montana, however, participates in a teaching license reciprocity agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). When you apply for a teaching certificate in one state using an existing license from another, the “destination state” is actually recognizing your credentials as verification that you are qualified to teach. You must still meet all requirements before you can teach there.
Fortunately, the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for Educator Licensure usually expedites the goal of teaching in your new state. For more information, see Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.
Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.