The Ohio Teaching and Certification Resource

To work as a teacher in Ohio, aspiring educators must obtain Ohio teacher certification. The Ohio Department of Education oversees the licensing process, which is outlined below for those looking to learn how to become a teacher in Ohio.

How to Become a Teacher in Ohio

For the traditional pathway to licensure, Ohio requires all teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree, complete an Ohio teacher preparation program, and pass the required examinations. In Ohio, the examinations for licensure include the Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) and, if teaching foreign languages, the ACTFL/LTI World Languages Examinations. Specialists in school audiology, speech pathology, and psychology also must take the appropriate Praxis tests.

The state of Ohio utilizes a tiered teacher licensing structure, which means that educators can move from an initial license to advanced licenses. In addition to the traditional pathway to licensure, Ohio also offers alternative teacher certification routes.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Ohio

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in OH through 20262

For anyone pursuing teaching certification in Ohio, one of the most important steps is finding a state-approved teacher education program at an accredited school. To be eligible for licensure, teaching candidates must complete a teacher preparation program that has been approved by the state Board of Education. You can find a list of approved programs on the Ohio Department of Higher Education website. You can also compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our Ohio schools page.

In addition to state-level approval, programs should also be regionally accredited, especially if a licensure candidate chooses to attend school online or out of state. There are six regional accreditation agencies that accredit schools throughout the US, which are overseen by the US Department of Education. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits Ohio schools. Candidates should confirm that their chosen program is appropriately approved and accredited.

Additionally, many teacher preparation programs seek to earn Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accreditation. While CAEP accreditation may not be mandatory for state approval of teacher education programs, it is considered a marker of rigorous standards in terms of curriculum and process within the teacher education sector.

Ohio Teacher Education Requirements

All candidates for teaching licenses in Ohio must complete an approved teacher preparation program. Those following the traditional route to licensure will typically complete the teacher preparation program as part of their bachelor’s degree. The coursework required depends on the type of initial license sought. For example, for early childhood licensure, applicants need 12 semester hours of coursework on teaching reading. For most categories of licensure, candidates must also complete a minimum of 12 weeks of student teaching. For more information on program requirements by certification type, check with the Ohio Department of Education.

Ohio Teacher Testing Requirements

Ohio State SealTo become a teacher in Ohio, prospective teachers must obtain a passing score on the Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) series of tests. The Praxis subject assessments may be required for select specialties in education.

The OAE exams are completed in two parts, pedagogical (teaching skills) knowledge and content-area knowledge. Teachers may earn endorsements in several content areas by taking the assigned exams for each area but only must pass the pedagogical section of the OAE once for each grade level endorsement. Candidates wishing to teach a foreign language must also pass the Tests in World Languages provided by ACTFL, including the Oral Proficiency Interview and the Written Proficiency Test.

Additional Ohio Teacher Certification Requirements

Similar to most US states, Ohio requires anyone applying for Ohio educator certification to submit to a state and federal background check. Applicants must complete the fingerprinting process through WebCheck; locations are provided on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.

Ohio Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once all steps to Ohio teacher certification have been completed, applicants must send an application for licensure with all required documentation to the Office of Educator Licensure. The process can take up to three months, which means candidates should send applications as soon as possible before the school year begins. The documents required are as follows:

  • Clearance of background check.
  • Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree.
  • Proof of teacher preparation program completion at an approved school.
  • Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee.
  • Passing scores on the required examinations.
  • Completed application for teaching certification in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Education requests that candidates use its online system, the Security Application for Enterprise (SAFE) web portal, for all new applications. Visit the state’s Department of Education for further details on Ohio teacher certification.

Ohio Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

During the 2016-2017 school year, Ohio had an estimated 3,591 public schools, with a K-12 student population of 1.7 million.3 The estimated 102,600 public school teachers during this time period gave Ohio a student-to-teacher ratio of 17:1.3

According to projections, there will be 3,510 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 2,330 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 3,840 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in Ohio through 2026.2 According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $62,430, while middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $62,130 and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $61,930.4 For further information on Ohio education policy and job opportunities, visit the Ohio Education Association, the largest active teachers union in Ohio.

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers15,390$29,020
Preschool Teachers, Special Education1,110$64,790
Kindergarten Teachers2,890$59,750
Elementary School Teachers51,880$62,430
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School7,160$56,180
Middle School Teachers32,080$62,130
Middle School Teachers, Special Education4,370$59,940
Secondary School Teachers52,240$61,930
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education6,350$60,340
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education5,350$64,890

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4

Teacher Shortages in Ohio

According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Ohio broadly has the following shortages5:

  • Art and Music Education (Dance, Theatre), Pre-K-12
  • Career and Technical Education (Business Education, Child Care and Guidance, Communication Arts, Computer Science, Computer Technology, Construction Technology, Engineering Technology, Family and Consumer Science, Health and Medical Occupations, Military Science, Public Safety/Protective Services, Transportation Careers), Pre-K-12
  • ESL Specialist/Consultant, Pre-K-12
  • Health and Physical Fitness (General, Health Science), Pre-K-12
  • Special Education (Speech and Language Impairment, Therapeutic Services), Pre-K-12
  • Support Staff (Counseling, Nurse, Occupational Therapist, Psychologist), Pre-K-12
  • World Languages (Any World Language), Pre-K-12

Ohio Teacher Interview

Teacher Quote: “Teaching is the best job in the world! I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. It isn’t always easy, but it’s exciting and keeps you on your toes.” -Megan Wheeler, Ohio First Grade Teacher

Ohio School District Requirements

If you would like to become a teacher in Columbus, Ohio, you can read more on our Columbus city page. This page describes the steps you must go through to become a teacher in Columbus, provides contact information for the Columbus city school district, and lists well-known private and charter schools in the area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in Ohio?

Answer: Substitute teachers in Ohio must be licensed. To be eligible for a substitute license, you must have a postsecondary degree. General subs can be licensed with a degree in any subject, but the license is only valid for one semester in a specific class. If the degree is in a subject that is teachable, then you can get a license in a designated subject area, which is valid for an unlimited number of days in that subject area. If your postsecondary degree is in education, you can get an unlimited substitute license, which is valid for an unlimited number of days in any subject or grade level. You must apply directly to the school districts in which you hope to work and complete the employment process before applying for a license. You must also pass a background check before becoming a substitute in Ohio.

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

Answer: To be a high school teacher in Ohio, you must have a bachelor’s degree with a major in a teachable subject and complete an approved teacher preparation program, which includes participation in student teaching. You must also pass the state examinations for licensing.

Question: How much do teachers in Ohio make?

Answer: Elementary through high school teachers in Ohio (excluding those in special and career/technical education) earn average annual salaries of over $62,000.4 Factors that may contribute to teacher salary include location, school district, and teacher qualifications.

1. Ohio State Department of Education: https://education.ohio.gov/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Ohio: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_oh.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports