The Louisiana Teaching and Certification Resource
All teachers must be certified before they begin working in Louisiana’s K-12 education system. The certification process is overseen by the Louisiana Department of Education. Continue reading to learn more about how to become a teacher in Louisiana.
How to Become a Teacher in Louisiana
All teachers in Louisiana are required to hold a bachelor’s degree, complete a Louisiana teacher preparation program, and pass the appropriate Praxis exams. For traditional route educators attending a Louisiana-based program, the required teacher preparation – which includes 180 hours of field experience and a full year of classroom residency – will be included in the bachelor’s degree curriculum.
Those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree but did not complete teacher preparation may be eligible for alternative teacher certification in Louisiana.
Louisiana uses a tiered licensing structure. Those who meet the basic requirements above are eligible for a Level 1 Professional Certificate. Teachers can advance to the Level 2 Professional Certificate by completing the Louisiana Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program (LATAAP) and successfully teaching for three years. Educators can advance to the highest certificate, the Level 3 Professional Certificate, by earning a master’s degree and teaching for at least five years.
- I want to be a teacher in Louisiana, 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 Louisiana’s 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 Louisiana
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in LA through 20262
Perhaps the most important step to becoming a certified teacher in Louisiana is completing training in an approved teacher preparation program. Certification candidates must note that teacher preparation programs in Louisiana must be approved by the Board of Education. Non-approved programs will not qualify graduates for licensure. You can compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our Louisiana schools page.
When evaluating program options delivered out-of-state or online, applicants must confirm that the school is accredited by the appropriate regional accreditation agency. The US Department of Education recognizes six regional accreditation agencies. Schools attended must hold accreditation from one of these six bodies for graduates to be eligible for Louisiana teacher licensure.
In addition, schools may hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This organization is the result of the consolidation of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Voluntary accreditation from CAEP is highly respected and serves as a marker of high standards.
Louisiana Teacher Education Requirements
The state requires that those pursuing Louisiana teacher licensing complete a bachelor’s degree and state-approved teacher preparation program with a minimum 2.5 GPA. In addition, the applicant must have a written recommendation from the teacher preparation program completed to be eligible for Louisiana teacher certification.
Louisiana Teacher Testing Requirements
In order to earn Louisiana teacher certification, candidates must take and pass the Praxis exams appropriate to the grade level(s) and subject(s) they wish to teach. The required examinations include the Core Academic Skills for Educators to assesses the candidate’s basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. Prospective teachers must also complete the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching exam appropriate to the grade level(s) they wish to teach, as well as the appropriate Praxis subject-area exams. Consult the Louisiana Department of Education for a current breakdown of required exams by endorsement area.
Additional Louisiana Teacher Certification Requirements
Louisiana is one of the few states that does not require new teachers to complete a fingerprint background check in order to achieve licensure. However, individual schools and districts reserve the right to conduct their own criminal history checks, which are commonly required as a condition of hire. In addition, candidates for a teaching certificate are required to disclose previous criminal convictions on their applications.
Louisiana Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once prospective educators have completed all of the steps listed above, a complete application packet must be sent to the Louisiana Department of Education. Candidates must provide the following documentation:
- Verification of bachelor’s degree.
- Verification of completed Louisiana teacher preparation program, including certification recommendation from the program’s designated official.
- Verification of passing scores on the required Praxis exams.
- Completed application with non-refundable processing fees.
Applicants must use the state’s online licensing portal for educators, Teach LA, to apply for certification. Visit the Louisiana Department of Education for further details on teaching certification in Louisiana.
Louisiana Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
In Louisiana, there were 1,404 K-12 public schools with an estimated student enrollment of 716,293 during the 2016-2017 school year.3 Based on an estimated 48,408 public school teachers during this school year, Louisiana had a student-to-teacher ratio of approximately 15:1.3
Estimates predict 1,800 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 510 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 1,040 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in Louisiana from 2016 to 2026.2 The average salary for elementary school teachers in the state is $48,740, while middle school teachers make an average annual salary of $49,960 and secondary school teachers make an average annual salary of $51,810.4 For more information and news regarding employment opportunities and teaching in Louisiana, visit the Louisiana Association of Educators.
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||530||$49,480|
|Elementary School Teachers||24,070||$48,740|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||3,990||$50,300|
|Middle School Teachers||6,750||$49,960|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||1,610||$50,940|
|Secondary School Teachers||13,930||$51,810|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||2,850||$51,940|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||1,400||$54,670|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4
Teacher Shortages in Louisiana
According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Louisiana broadly has the following shortages5:
- English as a Second Language (General), Pre-K-12
- Mathematics (General), 6-12
- Science (General), 6-12
- Special Education (General), Pre-K-12
- World Languages (General), Pre-K-12
Louisiana Teacher Interview
- Math Teacher & Assistant Principal, Cindy Wallace
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I become an elementary teacher in Louisiana?
Answer: To become a certified elementary teacher in Louisiana, you must have a bachelor’s degree in education and complete a teacher preparation program. The state also requires that you pass the Praxis tests for elementary certification and participate in student teaching in an elementary classroom.
Question: Does Louisiana need teachers?
Answer: Yes! Louisiana has reported teacher shortages in many areas for the 2021-2022 school year, including science, math, English as a second language (ESL), special education, and world languages.5 Teachers in these fields may find jobs more easily.
Question: How do I become a high school teacher in Louisiana?
Answer: Becoming a high school teacher in Louisiana requires a bachelor’s degree in the subject in which you wish to teach and the completion of a teacher preparation program with a student teaching component. You also must pass the required Praxis exams before you can become a high school teacher.
1. Louisiana Department of Education: http://www.teachlouisiana.net/
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, Louisiana: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_la.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/