The Indiana Teaching and Certification Resource

Indiana is a great state in which to work as an educator. The certification process for in-state teachers is overseen by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) and is outlined below to help you learn how to become a teacher in Indiana.

How to Become a Teacher in Indiana

In order to be eligible for Indiana teacher licensing, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher preparation program, and pass the state-required tests. Candidates must also earn CPR/AED/Heimlich certification and complete suicide prevention training, programs which are typically included in teacher preparation curricula in the state.

Indiana uses a tiered system with three levels of teaching licensure: Initial Practitioner (IP), Proficient Practitioner, and Accomplished Practitioner. The Initial Practitioner is a renewable (up to two times) two-year license for first-time teachers. For teachers to convert to the Proficient Practitioner license, they must complete the Indiana Mentoring and Assessment Program (IMAP, a two-year mentored internship) or a Professional Growth Plan (PGP, which records their growth and development over two years) of 40 points. Teachers can “professionalize” to the renewable Accomplished Practitioner 10-year license with National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification, six semester hours of coursework, or a PGP of 90 points. A 90-point PGP is also required to renew both the Proficient Practitioner and the Accomplished Practitioner licenses.

Although these three levels of licenses are representative of the Indiana educator certification process, there are also alternative pathways to become a teacher in Indiana.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Indiana

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in IN through 20302

For those seeking Indiana teacher certification, the highest priority should be completing an approved teacher education program at an accredited school. Indiana requires all teachers to complete a preparation program from a state-approved and regionally accredited institution. You can find a list of approved in-state programs here. The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) also provides a listing of approved online and distance programs. Schools that are not approved or that are out-of-state and do not have regional accreditation will not qualify candidates for Indiana teacher licensure. To compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs, you can use the sortable table on our Indiana schools page.

Schools may also hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Accreditation from this organization, which is the result of the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), is viewed as a marker of excellence in teacher education.

Indiana Teacher Education Requirements

Indiana State SealIndiana teacher certification guidelines require candidates to complete a teacher preparation program at an approved and accredited university, either while earning a bachelor’s degree or after. Any teacher preparation program attended must be listed by the Board of Education as an approved institution to qualify graduates for teacher licensure in the state.

Indiana Teacher Testing Requirements

After completing an approved Indiana teacher preparation program, candidates must take the Praxis exams. All prospective teachers in the state must take the Principles of Learning and Teaching exam in their grade level as well as content area assessments in their chosen area(s) of endorsement. For more information, consult the IDOE educator testing portal.

Additional Indiana Teacher Certification Requirements

As in the majority of states, becoming a certified teacher in Indiana requires applicants to submit to a state and federal background check. The fingerprint-based background check must be submitted through Indiana’s electronic Fingerprinting Network (INkless) before the teacher certification application is submitted to the IDOE.

Additionally, Indiana requires all teachers to hold a valid certification in CPR, the Heimlich Maneuver, and automated external defibrillator (AED) use. These certifications must be issued by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association or other providers approved by the IDOE.

Finally, teaching applicants must also prove that they have successfully completed education and training on child suicide prevention and recognition of suicidal warning signs in students.

Indiana Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once applicants have completed all of the requirements as stipulated by the IDOE, the application for a teaching certificate must be completed via the online Licensing Verification and Information System (LVIS). Required supporting documents include:

  • Proof of successful completion of an approved Indiana educator preparation program.
  • Proof of successful completion of required examinations (Praxis Content and Pedagogy licensure tests).
  • Proof of successful completion of CPR, AED, and Heimlich certification courses and suicide prevention training.
  • Completed application.
  • Payment of non-refundable licensure fee.

Visit the Indiana Department of Education for further details on the process for earning teaching certification in Indiana.

Indiana Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

There were an estimated 1,921 public schools in Indiana during the 2016-2017 school year (the latest data available from NCES), which served approximately 1.04 million students.1 There were an estimated 60,161 teachers during the same timeframe, giving Indiana a student-to-teacher ratio of 17:1.1

Projections are that there will be 1,990 average annual job openings in Indiana for elementary school teachers, 920 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 1,450 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers through 2030.2 The average annual salary for elementary school teachers in the state is $52,360, for middle school teachers $52,690, and for secondary school teachers $53,030, as of May 2021.3 For more information regarding the current job market visit the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA).

TypeNumber Employed3Average Annual Salary3
Preschool Teachers5,950$30,860
Preschool Teachers, Special Education180$48,710
Kindergarten Teachers1,800$52,570
Elementary School Teachers27,850$53,100
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School2,990$57,150
Middle School Teachers13,100$55,510
Middle School Teachers, Special Education1,140$53,800
Middle School Teachers, Career/Technical Education90$59,490
Secondary School Teachers18,590$55,250
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education1,720$54,020
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education730$62,430

Teacher Shortages in Indiana

According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2022-2023, Indiana broadly has the following shortages4:

  • Language Arts (General), 5-12
  • Mathematics (General), 5-12
  • Science (Life Sciences), 5-12
  • Special Education (All Exceptionalities), Pre-K-12

Indiana Teacher Interview

Indiana School District Requirements

If you are interested in learning more about how to become a teacher in Indianapolis, check out our city page below. On this page, you will find step-by-step information on launching a teaching career in Indianapolis public schools as well as information about private and charter schools, substitute requirements, and contact information.

Teacher Quote “Don’t let anyone tell you it’s an easy job because I can promise you, it isn’t. I’ve yet to have one of those magnificent ‘summers off’ I keep hearing about. And honestly, the pay isn’t great but the rewards of teaching more than make up for it.” -Christi Fultz, Indiana Third Grade Teacher

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How do you become a substitute teacher in Indiana?

Answer: Substitute teachers in Indiana must have a high school diploma or equivalent and be at least 18 years old. If you meet these requirements, you can apply to the IDOE for a substitute teacher permit, and then look for work in individual districts. As part of the application process, each school employer will recommend teachers for a Substitute Permit. Substitute Permits are valid for three years and are not renewable.

Question: How much do teachers make in Indiana?

Answer: Preschool teachers in Indiana earn the lowest average annual salaries, at $30,860, while career and technical education teachers at the high school level make the highest average annual salaries in Indiana, at $62,430 per year.4 Many factors contribute to teacher salaries, including location, years of experience, education level, and more.

Question: Is there a teacher shortage in Indiana?

Answer: The US Department of Education reports that for the 2022-23 school year, Indiana reported shortages in areas including math, science, world languages, language arts, and special education.5 Teachers who specialize in these areas may have an easier time finding work in the state.

1. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Indiana: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_in.htm
4. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/