The Nebraska Teaching and Certification Resource
Nebraska is a great state in which to become a certified teacher. The Nebraska Department of Education oversees the state’s teacher certification process, which is detailed below for those looking to learn how to become a teacher in Nebraska.
How to Become a Teacher in Nebraska
Candidates for Nebraska teacher certification must complete education and testing requirements to be considered for licensure. All applicants pursuing teaching certification in Nebraska must hold a bachelor’s degree that meets the qualifications for at least one endorsement area and must also complete an approved teacher preparation program.
Candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree but have not completed a teacher preparation program may be eligible for alternative teacher certification in Nebraska.
Those who meet the basic certification requirements in Nebraska will be issued an Initial Certificate, which is renewable every five years. Those who teach for two or more consecutive years at least half-time on an Initial Certificate may upgrade to a Standard Teaching Certificate, which is also valid for five years. Teachers who earn a master’s degree in education or in an endorsed content area may advance to the Professional Teaching Certificate, which is valid for ten years.
- I want to be a teacher in Nebraska, 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 Nebraska’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 Nebraska
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in NE through 20262
Perhaps the most important step towards earning Nebraska teacher certification is completing an approved teacher preparation program. You can find a current list of approved programs through the Nebraska Board of Education website. Note that completing a program that is not state-approved may not meet the requirements for licensure in Nebraska. You can compare key metrics for state-approved teacher preparation programs in the state by using the sortable table on our Nebraska schools page.
Out-of-state or online teacher preparation programs must be accredited by the one of the six regional accreditation organizations overseen by the US Department of Education.
In addition to regional accreditation and state approval, schools may hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP accreditation carries a reputation of rigorous standards for teacher preparation.
Nebraska Teacher Education Requirements
The first step toward Nebraska teacher certification is completing a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited school and an approved teacher preparation program. Teacher preparation must include student teaching, observations, and internships. In addition, Nebraska law requires human relations training as part of teacher preparation. A course in special education is also required. Nebraska has a recency requirement which stipulates that candidates for teacher certification must have taken six semester hours of teacher preparation courses within the five years prior to applying for a certificate.
Nebraska Teacher Testing Requirements
Besides completing an educator preparation program, individuals seeking Nebraska teaching certification must also pass two assessments. The first is the Praxis Core Academic Skills test, which assesses basic skills of first-time teachers in Nebraska. The second testing requirement in Nebraska is the Praxis Subject Assessments. Each candidate must pass the content-specific Subject Assessment(s) in his or her endorsement area(s) before being considered for a Nebraska teaching license.
Additional Nebraska Teacher Certification Requirements
All applicants pursuing Nebraska teacher certification must submit to a federal and state background check by providing fingerprints to the state. The fingerprint requirement can be completed through LiveScan or via ink rolled cards requested from the Department of Education.
Nebraska Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once all steps to earn Nebraska teacher certification have been completed, candidates should send their application to the Department of Education. Application packets must be supported by the following:
- Official clearance of background check.
- Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree.
- Proof of teacher program completion at an approved teacher preparation school, which must include human relations and special education courses.
- Passing scores on the required examinations.
- Completed application for teaching certification in Nebraska.
- Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee.
Applications may be initiated online through the Nebraska Department of Education website.
Nebraska Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
There were an estimated 319,194 students enrolled in Nebraska’s 1,095 K-12 public schools during the 2016-2017 school year.3 Based on an estimate of 23,610 public school teachers in the state, this gives Nebraska a student-to-teacher ratio of 13:1.3
It is estimated that there will be 870 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 320 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 630 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in Nebraska through 2026.3 Elementary school teachers in the state earn an average annual salary of $57,490, while middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $60,280 and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $57,500.4 The Nebraska State Education Association is another source for current news and information for educators in Nebraska.
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||150||$55,900|
|Elementary School Teachers||9,920||$57,490|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||1,150||$57,870|
|Middle School Teachers||3,460||$60,280|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||570||$58,360|
|Secondary School Teachers||7,880||$57,500|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||1,010||$59,490|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||450||$61,870|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4
Teacher Shortages in Nebraska
According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Nebraska broadly has the following shortages5:
- Art and Music Education (Art, Music), Pre-K-12
- Career and Technical Education (Career Clusters), Pre-K-12
- Early Childhood (General Curriculum/Early Childhood), Pre-K-12
- English as a Second Language (Bilingual Education, English as a Second Language), Pre-K-12
- Health and Physical Fitness (General), Pre-K-12
- Language Arts (General), Pre-K-12
- Mathematics (General), Pre-K-12
- Science (General), Pre-K-12
- Special Education (General), Pre-K-12
- Support Staff (Counseling, Library/Media Specialist, Speech Language Pathologist/Audiologist, Psychologist), Pre-K-12
- World Languages (Any World Language), Pre-K-12
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What are the requirements to become a high school teacher in Nebraska?
Answer: To qualify for a teaching certificate in the secondary grades, you must have a bachelor’s degree and have completed a teacher preparation program. You must also pass the state’s testing requirements, participate in student teaching in a secondary classroom, and pass a background check.
Question: Does Nebraska need teachers?
Answer: Yes, for the 2021-22 school year, Nebraska has reported teacher shortages for areas including art and music, special education, world languages, English as a second language (ESL), math, science, early childhood education, and career/technical education, among others.5 Nebraska teachers in these areas may find jobs more easily than others.
Question: How much do Nebraska teachers make?
Answer: The average annual salary for teachers in Nebraska (elementary through high school, excluding special and career/technical education) is over $58,000.4 Teacher experience, school location, and level taught are some factors that can affect teacher salaries.
1. Nebraska State Department of Education: https://www.education.ne.gov/
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, Nebraska: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ne.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/