Montana Alternative Teacher Certification

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 have a bachelor’s degree, visit our guide to traditional certification in Montana. Continue reading to find out more about alternative teacher certification in Montana.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

To be eligible for alternative teacher certification in Montana, candidates must have a bachelor’s degree. These candidates may then complete an alternative teacher preparation program or a master’s degree in education, or a master’s degree in an endorsement area that includes an approved certification program, to qualify for licensure. Candidates must also pass the Praxis content-area exam(s) aligning with their desired teaching area.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in Montana

There are two main pathways to earn a Montana teaching license through alternative preparation. The Montana Office of Public Instruction provides further information on these pathways, which are outlined below.

Class 5 Provisional License

The Class 5 Provisional License is for individuals who have not completed all of Montana’s teacher licensing requirements, particularly if they have not graduated from an educator training program. To apply for this license, candidates must have a plan of study from an approved professional educator preparation program that leads to program completion within three years. This requires that candidates be admitted to a preparation program prior to applying for licensure. Once the non-renewable Provisional license is issued and a background check is passed, candidates may teach full-time while completing the program requirements.

Class 4 Career and Technical License

A Class 4 Career and Technical license is issued to those who have not completed an educational degree but have work experience in a career or technical area and wish to teach career and technical education subjects. 10,000 hours of work experience or a combination of work experience and a degree are necessary to earn this certification. In some subject areas, professional licensure or certification may also be required. Candidates must also pass a fingerprint-based background check.

Testing Requirements for Montana Alternative Certification

If the subject(s) for which a candidate is seeking endorsement are covered under a Praxis subject exam, a candidate must usually pass the appropriate content assessment before earning full licensure in Montana.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

Teachers with out-of-state teaching licenses may be eligible for Montana reciprocity based on a credential review. Note that Montana does not recognize out-of-state alternative programs as a pathway to licensure in Montana and these candidates may need to complete additional coursework, even if they have been licensed and teaching in another state. For more information on reciprocity see our guide to teaching license reciprocity or contact the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in Montana

In order to earn teacher licensure in Montana, you must complete an approved education program. The following school-based teacher preparation programs that lead to a certificate or master’s degree have been approved by the Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI):

  • Montana State University-Billings (Certificate, Master’s), Bozeman (Master’s)
  • University of Montana-Missoula (Master’s), Western (Certificate)

Additional Resources

1. Montana Board of Public Instruction: https://opi.mt.gov/