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The Montana Teaching and Certification Resource

In order to work in the Montana public school system, educators must be properly licensed. The state’s Office of Public Instruction oversees the process, which is outlined below for those who want to learn how to become a teacher in Montana.

How to Become a Teacher in Montana

Each state has its own requirements for certification, and Montana teacher certification is no different. Prospective educators must hold at least a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved teacher preparation program. Candidates must also take and pass the Praxis Subject Assessments for the subject(s) they would like to teach.

Like many other states, Montana uses a tiered licensing structure with different levels of licenses. The initial certificate is the Class 2 Standard Educator License. This license is issued once a candidate receives a bachelor’s degree and completes an approved professional educator preparation program that includes supervised teaching experience. Those who have a bachelor’s degree or higher but have not completed a teacher preparation program may be eligible for alternative teacher certification in Montana.

A teacher may upgrade a Class 2 license to a Class 1 Professional Teaching License by earning a master’s degree in education in an endorsable content area or by earning National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification and successfully teaching for three years.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Montana

Projected Job Growth

0.8%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in MT through 20242

Those pursuing teacher certification in Montana must attend a teacher preparation program that has been approved by the Montana Board of Public Instruction; has been approved by the board of education in another state for the preparation of teachers; or holds accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) was formed from the merger between the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). CAEP accreditation is well-regarded as a marker of high standards in teacher preparation.

When evaluating bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation programs, future teachers should also confirm that the school is accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies recognized by the US Department of Education.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Montana.

Montana Teacher Outlook
The Montana Department of Labor & Industry estimates 43 average annual job openings due to growth and 105 average annual job openings due to replacements for elementary school teachers, 13 average annual job openings due to growth and 31 average annual job openings due to replacements for middle school teachers, and 8 average annual job openings due to growth and 93 average annual job openings due to replacements for secondary school teachers in Montana through 2024.3 According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 10,150 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Montana, excluding teachers working in special education.4 The average annual salary for elementary school teachers in the state is $49,730, for middle school teachers $58,710, and for secondary school teachers $48,960.4 The MEA-MFT, the largest teacher’s union in Montana, provides more information on news and issues for teachers in the state.

Montana Teacher Education Requirements

Those interested in becoming Montana teachers must complete at least a bachelor’s degree and an acceptable teacher preparation program, as described above. You can see a list of approved teacher preparation programs through the Accreditation and Educator Preparation Division of the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

Montana Teacher Testing Requirements

Montana State SealCandidates for a Montana teaching license must take and pass the Praxis Subject Assessments for the content area(s) and grade level they wish to teach. You can find more detailed assessment information through the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

Additional Montana Teacher Certification Requirements

Like most US states, Montana teacher certification requires a federal and state background check. Teacher applicants must visit a local law enforcement agency and request that their fingerprints be taken for a background check to be sent to the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

Montana Teachers Licensing Application Process

Upon completion of the required steps to become a teacher in Montana, candidates must submit an application for certification. The following documents are required:

  • Completed fingerprint card for background check.
  • Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree.
  • Proof of teacher program completion at an approved school.
  • Verification of teaching experience.
  • Institutional recommendation for a teaching license.
  • Completed application for teaching certification in Montana.
  • Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee.

Applications may be completed online through the Montana State Educator Information System or printed and mailed to:

Montana Office of Public Instruction
Attn: Educator Licensure
PO Box 202501
Helena, MT 59620

Visit the Montana Office of Public Instruction for further details on teaching certification in Montana.

Montana Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 980 $26,370
Preschool Teachers, Special Education Not available Not available
Kindergarten Teachers 450 $44,460
Elementary School Teachers 4,290 $49,730
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 880 $51,760
Middle School Teachers 2,420 $58,710
Middle School Teachers, Special Education 270 $50,600
Secondary School Teachers 3,440 $48,960
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education 690 $44,280
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 190 $52,520

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Montana

Question: What are the requirements to become a high school teacher in Montana?

Answer: To become a high school teacher in Montana, you must be certified by the state. Certification requires a bachelor’s degree and completion of a teacher preparation program from an approved institution. You must also complete a supervised teaching experience in a secondary classroom and pass the Praxis Subject Assessments for the subject(s) you wish to teach.

Teaching and Education Programs

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References:
1. Montana Office of Public Instruction: http://www.opi.mt.gov/Cert/Index.html
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. Montana Department of Labor & Industry: http://wsd.dli.mt.gov/service/rad.asp
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Montana: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mt.htm