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The Rhode Island Teaching and Certification Resource

Educators in Rhode Island are required to be certified in order to be eligible to work in the public school system. The state’s Department of Education oversees the certification process, which is outlined below to help you learn how to become a teacher in Rhode Island.

How to Become a Teacher in Rhode Island

To be eligible for Rhode Island teacher certification, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university and complete a teacher preparation program approved by the state. Candidates must also pass the Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) as well as the Praxis II content-area assessments for the endorsement areas sought.

Candidates who have a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a teacher preparation program may be interested in alternative teacher certification in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island uses a tiered system of teacher licensure. First-time teachers who meet the qualifications are issued an Initial Educator Certificate. Candidates may advance to the next level of licensure, which is the Professional Educator Certificate, by completing three years of teaching under the Initial certificate and earning successful evaluation ratings for their teaching practice. Candidates who have a strong performance record of effective teaching as demonstrated by periodic evaluations and at least five years of teaching experience may advance to the highest level of licensure in Rhode Island, the Advanced Educator Certificate.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Rhode Island

Projected Job Growth

3%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in RI through 202215

For aspiring teachers one of the most important steps towards teacher certification in Rhode Island is completing an approved teacher preparation program in an accredited school. The Rhode Island Department of Education provides a list of approved programs for those planning their education.

Prospective educators also must be sure to earn a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school. There are six regional accreditation agencies overseen by the US Department of Education. Schools offering online teacher certification programs should also be regionally accredited according to the school’s headquartered state.

Additionally, schools may hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP is the result of the merger of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). CAEP accreditation is recognized for its rigorous standards for teacher preparation.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island Teacher Outlook
The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training projects 21 average annual job openings due to growth and 75 average annual job openings due to replacements for elementary school teachers, 13 average annual job openings due to growth and 45 average annual job openings due to replacements for middle school teachers, and 122 average annual job openings due to replacements for secondary school teachers in Rhode Island through 2022.2 According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 10,930 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Rhode Island.3 Elementary school teachers in Rhode Island earn an average annual salary of $69,450, while middle school teachers earn an average of $68,120 and secondary school teachers an average of $67,250, excluding teachers in special education.3 The National Education Association – Rhode Island provides information regarding state education policy and public education employment opportunities.

Rhode Island Teacher Education Requirements

Candidates for Rhode Island teacher certification must have at least a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved teacher preparation program. The education completed must include at least 60 hours of field experience and 12 weeks of student teaching. The field experience requirement is for each certification area sought. In addition, candidates must have graduated from the program completed no more than five years prior to the submission of the application for a teaching credential.

Rhode Island Teacher Testing Requirements

Rhode Island State SealProspective educators must pass the Praxis II Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) and Praxis II content assessments for the grade level(s) and subject(s) they wish to teach in order to qualify for Rhode Island teacher licensure.

Additional Rhode Island Teacher Certification Requirements

Rhode Island requires that candidates pursuing teacher certification disclose any criminal history, including misdemeanor offenses. While a background check is not required to apply for teacher licensure, individual school districts may require state and federal background checks as a condition of employment.

Rhode Island Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once all steps towards Rhode Island teacher certification are complete, candidates must provide the following documents to apply for licensure:

  • Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
  • Verification of teacher program completion at an approved school
  • Passing scores on the required content and subject exams
  • Completed application for teaching certification in Rhode Island
  • Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee

Completed applications may be sent to:

Rhode Island Department of Education
Office of Educator Quality and Certification
255 Westminster Street, 4th Floor
Providence, RI 02903

Visit the state’s Department of Education for further details on Rhode Island teacher certification.

Rhode Island Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 1,550 $35,070
Preschool Teachers, Special Education 50 $69,190
Kindergarten Teachers 390 $64,290
Elementary School Teachers 4,080 $69,450
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 600 $67,900
Middle School Teachers 2,410 $68,120
Middle School Teachers, Special Education 390 $71,160
Secondary School Teachers 4,440 $67,250
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education 450 $69,750
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 180 $74,260

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2014.

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Rhode Island

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

Answer: To become a high school teacher in Rhode Island, you must be certified through the state. The requirements for certification include holding a bachelor’s degree with a major in a teachable subject and completing an approved program for teacher education. You must also spend at least 12 weeks student teaching and pass the Praxis II assessments at the secondary level for the subject(s) you wish to teach.

Teaching and Education Programs

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References:
1. Rhode Island State Department of Education: http://www.ride.ri.gov/TeachersAdministrators/EducatorCertification.aspx
2. Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training: http://www.dlt.ri.gov/lmi/proj.htm
3. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Rhode Island: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ri.htm
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Elementary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252021.htm
5. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Middle School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252022.htm
6. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Secondary School Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm
7. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Preschool Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252011.htm
8. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Preschool: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252051.htm
9. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Kindergarten Teachers: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252012.htm
10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252052.htm
11. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252053.htm
12. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Middle School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252023.htm
13. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Special Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252054.htm
14. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Occupational Employment and Wages, Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252032.htm
15. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm