The Kansas Teaching and Certification Resource
Kansas teacher certification is overseen by the Kansas State Department of Education’s Office of Teacher Licensure and Accreditation (TLA). The traditional pathway to licensure is outlined below for those looking to find out more about how to become a teacher in Kansas.
How to Become a Teacher in Kansas
A teaching license is required in order to teach in public K-12 schools in Kansas. To earn a Kansas teaching license under the traditional route to certification, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree, complete an approved teacher preparation program, and pass the state’s designated standardized tests for educators.
Those who hold a bachelor’s degree but have not completed a teacher preparation program may be eligible for alternative teacher certification in Kansas.
Kansas uses a tiered licensing system for educators. The Initial certification is for new teachers who meet the basic requirements for a teaching license in the state. After earning Initial certification, teachers can advance to a Professional license by completing a graduate degree or earning 120 professional development points in an approved program. Kansas teachers may also earn an Accomplished License by earning National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
- I want to be a teacher in Kansas, 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 Kansas’ Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs, Education Specialist Programs, or Doctorate Education Programs
- I want to explore substitute teaching: Learn about Substitute Teacher Opportunities
- I am already certified and want to teach in another state: Learn about Teacher Certification Reciprocity
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Kansas
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in KS through 20262
Perhaps the most important step to becoming a teacher in Kansas is completing an approved teacher preparation program. You can find a list of approved preparation programs through the Kansas State Department of Education. Note that programs that are not approved by the department for the preparation of teachers may not qualify graduates for licensure. You can compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our Kansas schools page.
Prospective teachers must also make sure that the bachelor’s degree program completed holds regional accreditation from one of the six regional accreditation agencies recognized by the US Department of Education. This applies to online and out-of-state teaching certification programs as well as those located in Kansas.
Additionally, schools may hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP is the result of the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), two highly-regarded accreditation bodies. Although CAEP accreditation is not required, it is seen as a marker of quality curriculum, process, and organization.
Kansas Teacher Education Requirements
Those who are preparing for Kansas teacher certification must complete a teacher education program at an approved school as well as a bachelor’s degree at a regionally accredited institution. All teachers in Kansas are required to have at least one endorsement on their license, which typically requires a major in an endorsement area. Additionally, Kansas has a recency requirement, which means that applicants must have at least 8 credit hours of college coursework or one year of accredited teaching experience completed within the last six years.
Kansas Teacher Testing Requirements
Becoming a certified teacher in Kansas requires completion of Praxis assessments to demonstrate that candidates are fully prepared for licensure. The Kansas Department of Education requires candidates to pass the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exam appropriate to the grade level(s) they wish to teach. Candidates will also need to pass the Praxis Subject Assessments for all endorsement fields.
Additional Kansas Teacher Certification Requirements
Those applying for a Kansas teaching license must complete a state and federal background check. A fingerprint card can be ordered through the Kansas State Department of Education.
Kansas Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once future teachers have completed all of the requirements described above, their application should be sent to the Kansas State Department of Education. Required documents include:
- Proof of bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
- Proof of completion of an approved teacher preparation program
- Completed state and federal background check
- Passing scores of all content and pedagogy tests
- Payment of non-refundable processing fees
Kansas Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
During the 2016-2017 school year, there were 1,318 K-12 public schools in Kansas, with an estimated student enrollment of 494,347.3 With approximately 36,193 public school teachers, this gave Kansas a student-to-teacher ratio of 13:1.3
According to projections, there will be 1,050 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 420 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 740 average annual openings for secondary school teachers in Kansas through 2026.2 Excluding special education teachers, the average annual salary for elementary school teachers in the state is $51,020, for middle school teachers $51,790, and for secondary school teachers $51,490.4 The Kansas National Education Association provides news and information concerning Kansas teachers, public schools, students, and administrators.
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||390||$55,700|
|Elementary School Teachers||16,320||$51,020|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||1,490||$54,340|
|Middle School Teachers||6,480||$51,790|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||420||$54,610|
|Secondary School Teachers||11,660||$51,490|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||880||$54,050|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||610||$55,970|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4
Teacher Shortages in Kansas
According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Kansas broadly has the following shortages5:
- Special Education (Behavioral Disabilities; Deaf/Hearing Impairment; Music Therapy; Severely and Profoundly Handicapped; Visual Impairment), Pre-K-12
- Support Staff (Counseling, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapy, Psychologist), Pre-K-12
Kansas Teacher Interviews
- Former President of the Kansas Association of Teachers of English, John Ritchie
- Math Teacher and Kansas Teacher of the Year Nominee, Scott Keltner
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I become an elementary teacher in Kansas?
Answer: To become an elementary teacher in Kansas you must hold a valid teaching license from the state. To get the license you need to have a bachelor’s degree and have finished an approved teacher preparation program for elementary education. You must also pass the required pedagogy and content exams as well as a criminal background check.
Question: How can I be a substitute teacher in Kansas?
Answer: To be eligible for a substitute teaching license in Kansas, you need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and to have completed a teacher preparation program. You will also have to pass a background check to qualify. Kansas also offers an emergency substitute license, which requires at least 60 college credits.
Question: How much do Kansas teachers make?
Answer: The average annual teacher salary for all levels in Kansas is $51,176.4 Factors that may contribute to teacher salary include degree level obtained, level of school taught, and location of the school.
1. Kansas State Department of Education: https://www.ksde.org/Agency/Division-of-Learning-Services/Teacher-Licensure-TL
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 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Kansas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ks.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports