Indiana Alternative Teacher Certification

Those who have already completed a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a teacher preparation program may be candidates for an alternative route to teacher certification in Indiana. Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. If you don’t yet have a bachelor’s degree, see our guide to traditional certification in Indiana. If you do have a bachelor’s degree, alternative routes can be a convenient way to begin a career as a classroom teacher, allowing you to gain experience while completing standard teacher certification requirements. Continue reading below to learn more about how this process works in Indiana.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

Those seeking an alternative route to teacher certification in Indiana must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Candidates must meet the same qualifications as traditional pathway educators to become fully licensed but may receive additional time to fulfill the requirements while teaching in a classroom setting. Individuals following this pathway usually complete a post-graduate certificate or a master’s degree in education as part of an alternative teacher preparation program.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Indiana

Indiana’s pathways to alternative teacher licensure are primarily designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree. However, there is an accelerated pathway for master’s degree holders, as well as a pathway for career and technical education subjects that might not require a bachelor’s degree. However, in all cases, educators will need to complete formal teacher training in order to become licensed.

Advanced Degree Pathway

If you hold a master’s degree or higher, Indiana offers an advanced degree pathway that leads to an instructional license at the middle or high school level. In addition to an advanced degree, you must earn one academic year of experience teaching in a middle school, high school, or college setting and complete the appropriate content exams for the subject for which you will be seeking endorsement. Like traditionally-prepared classroom teachers, you will also need to achieve CPR certification and complete suicide prevention training. Career and technical education (CTE) content areas require 4,000 hours of related non-teaching related work experience. After meeting these qualifications, you may apply for an instructional certificate.

American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (American Board)

Indiana recognizes the American Board pathway as an alternative route to teacher licensure for certification at the elementary level and in select middle and high school subjects. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and be accepted to the American Board program. After completing the first part of the American Board program, which includes coursework and content assessments, candidates are eligible for an ABCTE Permit, which allows them to work full-time as a classroom teacher for one year while completing program requirements. Successful completion leads to an ABCTE Professional Educator License.

Career Specialist Permit

The career specialist permit is a pathway to teaching at the secondary level in Indiana. To qualify for a Career Specialist permit, candidates must meet one of the following requirements:

  • A bachelor’s degree in the subject to be taught with a GPA of at least 3.0, a passing score on the relevant Praxis content exam, and 4,000 hours of work experience in the past five years related to the content area to be taught
  • A bachelor’s degree in the subject to be taught with a GPA of at least 3.0 and at least 5,000 hours of work experience in the past seven years related to the content area to be taught
  • A passing score on the relevant Praxis content exam plus 5,000 hours of work experience in the past seven years in the content area to be taught

The Career Specialist permit, once issued, allows the holder to lead a classroom teaching in a specific subject while completing teacher training. Completion of an approved training program is required in order to renew the permit. Note that the career specialist permit does not lead to a permanent teaching license. Once issued, the permit must be renewed every two years by submitting a qualifying professional growth plan that includes activities such as continuing education, curriculum development, and workshops.

Charter School Licensure Pathway

The Charter School Licensure pathway allows those who have a bachelor’s degree to teach in charter schools. To qualify for this certificate, you must have a bachelor’s degree with a major in the subject you wish to teach and an overall GPA of 3.0 or better, or hold a bachelor’s degree and pass the appropriate content-area exam for licensure in the subject you wish to teach. You must also complete CPR certification and suicide prevention training. Once issued, this certificate allows you to teach in Indiana charter schools, but not other types of public K-12 schools.

Special Education License

The Alternative Special Education license is available to those who have a bachelor’s degree and are enrolled in an approved post-baccalaureate alternative preparation program for initial special education licensure. This route can also be used to add a special education endorsement to an existing license. Applicants must be employed as an Indiana classroom teacher in the special education area aligned with their program and desired endorsement. This license may also be granted to those employed as special education teachers who completed a licensure program but need more time to pass the licensure assessments.

Transition to Teaching Program

Individuals with a bachelor’s degree may become certified to teach in Indiana via Transition to Teaching. Transition to Teaching (T2T) programs are 18-24 credit hour curriculums that prepare those with bachelor’s degrees in specific content areas to become licensed. Note that though it is considered an alternative route in Indiana and can lead to a temporary permit to teach once you are accepted to a program, Transition to Teaching is not always offered as a job-embedded or paid residency curriculum. Consult the program(s) you are considering for available options. You can see a list of approved Transition to Teaching programs through the Indiana Department of Education.

Testing Requirements for Indiana Alternative Certification

Either before or during the completion of a teacher preparation program, candidates for alternative teacher certification in Indiana must take and pass the appropriate Praxis Content and Pedagogy licensure assessments, which measure knowledge in the content areas to be taught. For more information on specific exams required by subject and grade level, consult the Indiana Department of Education teacher testing portal.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

Those who hold a teaching license in another state and a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school will need to pass a subject matter test in every area that will appear on the Indiana license. If the applicant does not pass, they may apply for a Reciprocal Permit, which is valid for one year and is not renewable. Applicants can begin teaching immediately once the permit is issued but must complete any deficiencies in order to become certified in Indiana within that year. Requirements for an Initial Practitioner Indiana teaching license include posting passing scores on the required tests and making up any educational deficiencies. For more information, visit our guide to teaching license reciprocity or contact the Indiana Department of Education.

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in Indiana

In order to qualify for licensure in Indiana, you must complete a teacher education program that has been approved by the state. The following school-based teacher preparation programs that typically lead to a certificate or master’s degree have been approved by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE):

  • American College of Education (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Anderson University (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Ball State University (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Bethel University (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Butler University* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Calumet College of St. Joseph* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Earlham College (Master’s)
  • Franklin College (Alternative)
  • Goshen College* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Grace College (Alternative)
  • Holy Cross College* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Indiana State University* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Indiana University-Bloomington* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s), East (Alternative, Certificate), Kokomo (Alternative, Certificate), Northwest (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s), South Bend* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s), Southeast (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Indiana Wesleyan University (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Manchester College (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Marian University* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Oakland City University* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Purdue University-West Lafayette* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s), Fort Wayne* (Alternative, Certificate), Northwest* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Relay Graduate School of Education* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Taylor University* (Alternative, Certificate)
  • Trine University (Alternative, Certificate)
  • University of Evansville (Alternative, Certificate)
  • University of Indianapolis* (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • University of Notre Dame* (Master’s)
  • University of Saint Francis (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)
  • Valparaiso University (Alternative, Certificate, Master’s)

*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.

Additional Resources

1. Indiana Department of Education: https://www.in.gov/doe/