The Kentucky Teaching and Certification Resource

The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board oversees the state’s teacher certification process. There are various pathways applicants may follow to become a teacher in Kentucky, depending on education and experience. However, the traditional process to obtain a Kentucky teacher certification is fairly straightforward and is outlined in detail below.

How to Become a Teacher in Kentucky

Like all US states, Kentucky requires all teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree and complete an accredited teacher preparation program. Additionally, basic knowledge exams are also required. Depending on eligibility, there are a few alternative ways to become a teacher in Kentucky.

In most cases, teachers acquire a base teaching certificate and then look to add specific endorsements to that certificate. There are seven types of base teaching certificates: Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (birth to primary), Elementary School (primary-grade 5), Middle School (5-9), Secondary School (8-12), Middle/Secondary School (5-12), Elementary/Middle/Secondary School (Primary-12) and Exceptional Children (primary-12). The appropriate base certificate varies by content area.

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Teachers may also add additional endorsements to their certificates. These endorsements include Computer Science (8-12), English as a Second Language (primary-12), Gifted Education (Primary-12), Driver Education (8-12), Reading and Writing (primary-12) and Instructional Computer Technology (primary-12).

For teachers with out-of-state teaching certificates, reciprocity in Kentucky may be possible provided the applicants meet the additional requirements. Kentucky is part of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, which is an interstate agreement of teacher certification validity. However, each application is considered on an individual case-by-case basis. For more detailed information, please contact the ESPB Division of Certification.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Kentucky

Perhaps the most important step to obtainin a Kentucky teacher certification is finding an accredited teacher preparation program. The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board approves teacher certifications based on many factors, but completing a program at an accredited institution is a must for new teachers.

To find an approved school, applicants should confirm that the institution offering the Kentucky teachers certification program is in good standing with the appropriate regional accreditation body. There are six regional accreditation agencies, which are overseen by the US Department of Education. For Kentucky, the accreditation organization is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Additionally, applicants should also look for an accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness (CAEP). CAEP is the result of the recent consolidation of NCATE and TEAC, two highly respected accreditation organizations recognized by the US Department of Education.

Applicants who are evaluating online teaching certification programs should also confirm that the school is accredited by its corresponding regional accreditation organization.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Kentucky.

Kentucky Teacher Education Requirements

Kentucky State SealAs with most states, Kentucky requires that candidates for Kentucky educator certification complete a four-year teacher preparation program along with student teaching. New teachers also receive additional assistance through the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program (KTIP). The progress of these teachers is then tracked through the Intern Management System (IMS).

Kentucky Teacher Outlook as of 2014
The Occupational Supply & Demand System projects 730 new average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 290 new average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 420 new average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in Kentucky through 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 40,920 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Kentucky (2013). The average annual salary for elementary school teachers is $50,360, for middle school teachers $50,790, and for secondary school teachers $51,960 (BLS 2013). Visit the Kentucky Education Association for information and current news regarding education legislation, public school and education professionals.

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Kentucky Teacher Testing Requirements

Kentucky uses the Praxis series of tests to assess the abilities of candidates who apply for Kentucky teacher certification. The Praxis I test may be required before entering a teacher education program, but this varies by college or university. All individuals pursuing the traditional Kentucky educator certificate pathway must complete the Praxis II in each area for which they are seeking certification as well as the Principles of Learning and Teaching at the appropriate grade level.

Under some circumstances, teachers with an out-of-state teaching certificate and two years of teaching experience in the subject area and grade level may be able to waive current testing requirements.

Additional Kentucky Teacher Certification Requirements

Like all US states, Kentucky requires new teachers applying for Kentucky teachers licensing to submit to a state and federal background check. All applicants must provide fingerprints and information through the Verified Credentials Online system before working with children in the state of Kentucky.

Kentucky Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once applicants have completed all of the requirements as stipulated by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board, applications should be sent in to the Department. The summer months are an especially busy time for application processing and may take up to eight weeks. Therefore, it’s recommended to send applications in at least three months before the desired date of employment.

  1. A completed teacher certification (TC-1) application form
  2. Offical transcripts of all graduate and undergraduate coursework
  3. Verification of full-time classroom teaching experience at the appropriate grade level(s)
  4. Passing scores of the Praxis II Specialty Area test and the Principles of Learning and Teaching test
  5. Verification of completion of Kentucky teachers certification program from accredited college or university
  6. A non-refundable $50 money order or certified check made payable to the “Kentucky State Treasurer”

Division of Certification
Education Professional Standards Board
100 Airport Road, 3rd Floor
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Visit the Kentucky State Department of Education for more details on becoming a certified teacher in Kentucky.

Kentucky Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 2,550 $33,010
Kindergarten Teachers 1,460 $51,310
Elementary School Teachers 20,130 $49,470
Middle School Teachers 8,120 $49,870
Secondary School Teachers 12,340 $51,090

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Kentucky

Question: How do I become an elementary teacher in Kentucky?

Answer: Becoming an elementary teacher in Kentucky requires getting a provisional certificate from the state. You must have a bachelor’s degree and have finished a teacher education program in elementary education at an accredited university. You must also pass state exams for teaching practices and basic skills and participate in student teaching.

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1. Kentucky State Department of Education: http://education.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx
2. Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board: http://www.kyepsb.net/
3. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000

Page edited by Charles Sipe.