The Rhode Island Teaching and Certification Resource
For anyone pursuing teaching certification in Rhode Island, there are various pathways to consider. Each and every teacher in Rhode Island is required to hold a teacher certification in order to be eligible to work in the public school system. However, requirements for educator certification may differ depending on education and experience. The state’s Office of Educator Quality oversees the certification process, which is outlined below.
How to Become a Teacher in Rhode Island
In order to earn a Rhode Island teacher certification it is necessary to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. The bachelor’s degree should be within the realm of education desired by the applicant – elementary, secondary, or special education. In addition, the degree program needs to have been completed no more than five years prior to the submission of the application. Upon completion of the degree program, it is necessary to take Rhode Island’s content knowledge exams (PRAXIS), attaining at least the minimum score required for the subject area and/or grade level license being sought.
For experienced teachers with out-of-state certifications, Rhode Island is part of the Interstate Certification Compact (ICC), which means that out-of-state teacher certifications may be validated by the Rhode Island provided applicants can fulfill the remaining requirements. For more information on reciprocity as well as information on the Rhode Island teacher certification renewal process, please contact the state’s Office of Educator Quality.
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Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Rhode Island
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. US schools are accredited by six regional accreditation agencies that are overseen by the US Department of Education.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) is responsible for accrediting Rhode Island schools. Therefore, any applicants pursuing Rhode Island educator certification should confirm that their chosen program is offered by an NEASC-accredited school. Schools offering online teacher certification programs should also be accredited. If the school is located out of state (for example, University of Phoenix), the schools must be accredited by the corresponding agency according to the school’s headquartered state.
Additionally, states may look for an accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness or CAEP. CAEP is a newly formed organization which is a result of the recent merger of TEAC and NCATE, two highly regarded accreditation organizations. For years, TEAC and NCATE accreditations have been considered excellent markers of high quality in terms of curriculum and process. Under the new name, CAEP will continue to apply the same rigorous standards when accrediting quality schools.
See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Rhode Island.
- I want to be a teacher in Rhode Island, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Rhode Island’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
Rhode Island Teacher Education Requirements
In Rhode Island, there are multiple institutions that offer accredited degree programs for those who wish to become a teacher in Rhode Island. In addition, The New Teacher Project (otherwise known as the Rhode Island Teaching Fellows) in Providence is an accredited program as well. A variety of bachelor’s degrees are available at these institutions, including elementary education (grades 1-6), special education (grades K-8 or grades 7-12), and a variety of subject specialties for middle and high school education (usually grades 7-12). It should be noted that Rhode Island established basic skills entry requirements for those wishing to pursue an education degree.
The Occupational Supply and Demand System projects 708 annual job openings in education and library related fields in Rhode Island through 2018. In fall 2008 and 2007 respectively, the Nation Center for Education Statistics listed 11,316 public school and 2,530 private school teachers employed in Rhode Island. The average beginning teaching salary is $38,446 and the average overall teaching salary is 60,923, the 11th highest average among US states according to the National Education Association. The NEA classifies the Rhode Island education job market as tight but notes employment opportunity for special education and foreign language specialists. The National Education Association – Rhode Island has more information regarding state education policy and public education employment opportunity.
Rhode Island Teacher Testing Requirements
In order to submit an application for a teaching certification in Rhode Island, an applicant must pass the appropriate PRAXIS test or tests administered by ETS. The tests are offered several times a year and may be taken more than once if the first score is not desirable. It should be noted that the Department of Education states that applicants should allow at least twelve weeks from submission of their license application materials until their license is tendered by the state. As the test scores must be included in the application packet, applicants need to pay attention to test dates and deadlines if they are hoping to receive their license by a certain date.
Additional Rhode Island Teacher Certification Requirements
Similar to most states, Rhode Island law requires that anyone pursuing teacher certification must submit to a state and federal background check through fingerprint clearance. Applicants must first request a fingerprinting card through the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Rhode Island Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once all steps towards Rhode Island teacher certification are complete, applicants should send in their applications to the state’s Office of Educator Quality. The certification process and issuance can take up to sixteen weeks so applicants are advised to send in their applications with ample time. The following documents are required:
- State and federal background clearance
- Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
- Verification of teacher program completion at an accredited teacher preparation school
- Completed application for teaching certification in Rhode Island
- Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee
- Passing score on the required content and subject exams
Rhode Island Department of Education
255 Westminster Street
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|
|Elementary School Teachers||3,730||$74,310|
|Middle School Teachers||2,260||$68,400|
|Secondary School Teachers||4,880||$69,780|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.
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 having a bachelor’s degree with a major in a teachable subject, and having completed an approved program for teacher education. You must also spend at least 12 weeks student teaching.
Teaching and Education Programs
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1. Rhode Island State Department of Education: http://www.ride.ri.gov/
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.