The Montana Teaching and Certification Resource

Becoming a certified teacher in Montana is a very simple process. The pathway to Montana teacher certification may change a bit depending on experience and education. The state’s Board of Public Education oversees the process, which is outlined in detailed below.

How to Become a Teacher in Montana

Each state has its own requirements for certification, and Montana teacher certification is no different. Like many other states, multiple levels of licenses are issued. The initial certificate that is issued is called a Class 2 Standard Educator License. This license is issued once a candidate receives a bachelor’s degree and completes an accredited professional educator preparation program along with supervised teaching experience. Teaching experience may be gained as part of the educator preparation program or at an accredited school district.

A teacher may upgrade a Class 2 license to a Class 1 Professional License by earning a master’s degree in professional education or an endorsable content area and by successfully teaching for three years. All Montana teacher licenses are valid for five years, except for the Class 5 Alternative License.

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Teachers with out-of-state certifications may be eligible for Montana reciprocity in some cases provided they complete the same application process as in-state educators. For more information on reciprocity as well as Montana teacher certification renewal, contact the state’s Department of Educator Licensure.

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Montana

Anyone looking for a teacher certification in Montana must attend a teacher certification program in an accredited institute. When evaluating programs, teacher applicants must confirm that the school is accredited by one of the six regional accreditation organizations that operate under the US Department of Education.

The Northwest Accreditation Commission accredits Montana schools. For those applicants considering an online teaching certification program, they should confirm that the school offering the program is accredited by its corresponding regional accreditation organization.

Additionally, most states look for a national accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness or CAEP. This organization was recently formed due to the merger between TEAC and NCATE. Although renamed, the accreditation and experience are still considered a high marker of teacher preparation curriculum and process.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Montana.

Quick Guide

Montana Teacher Education Requirements

A teacher education program must be completed by those who are interested in becoming a teacher in Montana. Teacher education programs have been approved by the Montana Board of Education to prepare candidates for certification based on the regional and national accreditation bodies.

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Montana Teacher Outlook as of 2014
The Occupational Supply & Demand System estimates 140 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 40 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 100 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in Montana for the 2012-2022 projection period. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 10,060 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Montana, excluding teachers working in special education (2013). The average annual salary for elementary school teachers in the state is $47,910, for middle school teachers $48,810, and for secondary school teachers $49,480 (BLS 2013). The MEA-MFT, the largest teacherís union in Montana, provides more information on news and issues for teachers in the state.

Montana Teacher Testing Requirements

Montana State SealUnlike most other states, teachers looking for a Montana educator certificate are not required to pass a basic skills or state licensure exam in Montana. However, applicants that enroll in a teacher preparatory program must earn a minimum score on various multi-dimensional content tests that are given in the educator preparation program as a condition for licensure.

Additional Montana Teacher Certification Requirements

Like most US states, the process to Montana teacher certification requires a federal and state background check. Teacher applicants must request a fingerprint packet through the Montana Department of Justice.

Montana Teachers Licensing Application Process

Upon completion of required steps to become a teacher in Montana, applicants must send in their application. The summer months are a very busy time for the Montana teachers licensing department so it is recommended to send in the application three or four months in advance of desired employment date.

  1. Submission of fingerprints to Department of Justice
  2. Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
  3. Proof of teacher program completion at an accredited teacher preparation school
  4. Successfully complete a supervised teaching experience
  5. Completed application for teaching certification in Montana
  6. Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee

Board of Public Education
46 N Last Chance Gulch
PO Box 200601
Helena, MT 59620

Visit the Montana Department of Education for further details on teaching certification in Montana.

Montana Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 1,130 $24,770
Kindergarten Teachers 600 $42,450
Elementary School Teachers 5,190 $45,650
Middle School Teachers 1,560 $45,250
Secondary School Teachers 3,730 $46,630

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

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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 accredited institution. You must also complete a supervised teaching experience in a secondary classroom.

Teaching and Education Programs

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1. Montana State Department of Education: http://opi.mt.gov/
2. Montana Board of Public Education: http://bpe.mt.gov/default.mcpx
2. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000

Page edited by Charles Sipe.