The Kentucky Teaching and Certification Resource

The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board oversees the state’s teacher certification process. The traditional process for earning Kentucky teacher certification is outlined in detail below for those looking to learn how to become a teacher in Kentucky.

How to Become a Teacher in Kentucky

Kentucky requires prospective teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved teacher preparation program. Depending on eligibility, there are alternative pathways to become a teacher in Kentucky for those who have a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a teacher preparation program.

Kentucky has adopted a tiered teacher certification structure that requires educators to complete continuing education while working towards advanced ranks. New teachers initially earn Rank III status and must complete ongoing education within a set timeframe to advance to Rank II. The highest rank, Rank I, is earned by completing an approved master’s degree and 30 semester hours of additional graduate work or continuing education. Teachers can also earn Rank I through National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Kentucky

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in KY through 20242

Perhaps the most important step to earning Kentucky teacher certification is completing an approved and accredited teacher preparation program. Completing a program at an institution approved by the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) is a requirement for licensure for prospective teachers.

Out-of-state schools must have regional accreditation from one of the six regional accreditation agencies overseen by the US Department of Education as well as approval from that state’s Board of Education for the preparation of teachers. Schools that do not meet these requirements will not qualify graduates for Kentucky teacher certification.

Additionally, accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is highly respected. CAEP was formed by the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and is seen as a mark of quality teacher preparation curriculum in the education sector.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Kentucky.

Kentucky Teacher Outlook
The Kentucky Career Center projects 284 average annual job openings due to growth and 446 average annual job openings due to replacements for elementary school teachers, 113 average annual job openings due to growth and 178 annual average openings due to replacements for middle school teachers, and 87 average annual job openings due to growth and 337 average annual job openings due to replacements for secondary school teachers in Kentucky through 2022.3 The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 39,610 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Kentucky.4 The average annual salary for elementary school teachers in Kentucky is $51,920, for middle school teachers $52,540, and for secondary school teachers $53,430.4 Visit the Kentucky Education Association for current news for education professionals in the state.

Kentucky Teacher Education Requirements

Kentucky State SealAs with most states, Kentucky requires that candidates for Kentucky educator certification complete a bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program that includes student teaching. New teachers also receive additional assistance through the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program (KTIP) during their first years of teaching.

Kentucky Teacher Testing Requirements

Kentucky uses the Praxis series of tests for prospective educators. The Praxis Core exam may be required prior to entering a teacher education program, but this varies by college or university requirements. All individuals pursuing a Kentucky educator license must complete the Praxis Subject Assessments in each content area for which they are seeking certification as well as the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) at the appropriate grade level.

Additional Kentucky Teacher Certification Requirements

Like most US states, Kentucky requires new teachers applying for a Kentucky teaching license to complete a state and federal background check. For current instructions on completing this requirement, refer to the Education Professional Standards Board.

Kentucky Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once prospective educators have completed all of the requirements stipulated by the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board, an application for a teaching certificate must be submitted. The following documentation is required:

  • A completed teacher certification application form.
  • Official transcripts from all graduate and undergraduate coursework.
  • Verification of full-time classroom teaching experience at the appropriate grade level(s).
  • Passing scores on the Praxis exams for the endorsement areas sought.
  • Verification of completion of a Kentucky teacher preparation program from an approved school, including the school’s recommendation for a license for the applicant.
  • Non-refundable application fee.

Applications should be mailed to:

Division of Certification
Education Professional Standards Board
100 Airport Rd, 3rd FL
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Visit the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board for further details on becoming a certified teacher in Kentucky.

Kentucky Teacher Salary and Jobs

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers2,710$37,930
Preschool Teachers, Special Education60$46,960
Kindergarten Teachers2,400$52,130
Elementary School Teachers18,820$51,920
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School3,430$52,570
Middle School Teachers8,200$52,540
Middle School Teachers, Special Education1,690$51,970
Secondary School Teachers12,590$53,430
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education2,190$53,130
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education200$56,720

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Kentucky

Question: How do I become an elementary teacher in Kentucky?

Answer: Becoming an elementary teacher in Kentucky requires certification from the state. You must have a bachelor’s degree and complete a teacher education program in elementary education at an accredited university. You must also pass state exams for teaching practices and basic skills and participate in student teaching.

Teaching and Education Programs

Searching for Schools...
Matching School Ads

1. Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board: http://www.epsb.ky.gov/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. Kentucky Labor Market Information/Career Center: https://kcc.ky.gov/employer/Pages/Labor-Market-Information.aspx
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Kentucky: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ky.htm