Ohio Teacher Certification and Career Guide

Ohio requires that all teachers be licensed according to the standards established by the Ohio State Board of Education (the Board). The main steps for the traditional path to teacher certification in Ohio are:

  1. Complete a state-approved bachelor’s degree with a teacher preparation component.
  2. Complete a student teaching placement.
  3. Pass the required teacher certification exams.
  4. Apply for a teaching certificate or license.
  5. Complete the Ohio Resident Educator (RE) Program.
  6. Upgrade your license.

Continue reading to learn more about the traditional certification pathway in Ohio.

Table of Contents

Steps to Become a Teacher in Ohio
Teacher Certification Renewal
Adding Subjects or Grades to a Certificate
Teaching License Reciprocity
Related Licenses
Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
Ohio School District Requirements
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

How to Become a Teacher in Ohio

The following steps detail the traditional pathway to licensure in Ohio. Ohio has a four-tiered teacher licensure structure. It also has a unique two-year initiative called the Ohio Resident Educator (RE) Program to assist first-time teachers with mentoring and professional development opportunities:

  • Resident Educator (RE) License (2-year): For new teachers with a bachelor’s degree who have completed their teacher preparation program and passed the required exams. REs will work collaboratively with a mentor teacher to complete annual requirements, receive feedback, and submit a Lesson Reflection for the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA).
  • Professional Educator License (5-year): For teachers who have completed the RE Program.
  • Senior Professional Educator License (5-year): For teachers with a master’s degree and at least nine years of experience with a valid teaching license.
  • Lead Professional Educator License (5-year): For teachers with a master’s degree, at least nine years of experience, and demonstrated distinguished level of performance.

If you are a bachelor’s degree holder who has yet to complete a teacher preparation program, check out our guide to alternative teacher certification in Ohio.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree that includes an approved teacher preparation program.

To earn a teaching license in Ohio, prospective teachers must first earn a bachelor’s degree from a nationally accredited college or university. The bachelor’s degree major will depend on the grade level and subject to be taught. As part of the bachelor’s degree, students must also complete an approved educator preparation program.

You can compare key metrics for state-approved teacher preparation programs on our Ohio schools page. You can also read about two important accreditations to consider, institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation, on our teaching schools guide.

2. Complete a student teaching placement.

As part of their bachelor’s degree, all prospective teachers in Ohio must complete a student teaching requirement. Prior to the student teaching experience, candidates must log at least 100 hours of field experience. The student teaching assignment consists of 12 weeks of supervised student teaching. Teachers completing more than one license area should split their field and clinical experiences as evenly as possible between the licensing areas.

3. Pass the required Ohio teacher exams.

Ohio State SealTo qualify for a Resident Educator License in Ohio, candidates must complete the required Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE). Each licensure area requires a pedagogical knowledge exam and a content knowledge exam. Candidates can determine which tests to take, find preparation materials, and register for exams on the OAE website.

4. Apply for Ohio teacher certification.

Once prospective teachers have completed the steps above, they can apply for the RE License in Ohio. To apply for licensure, candidates must create an Ohio Digital Identity (OHID) account on the online Connected Ohio Records for Educators (CORE) system. As part of their application, applicants must also submit the following items:

  • Official transcripts
  • Passing OAE exam scores
  • Non-refundable application fee
  • Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) background check
  • FBI criminal background check

For more details on applying for a teaching license in Ohio, visit the educator licensure webpage.

5. Complete the Ohio Resident Educator (RE) Program.

Ohio has a unique tiered licensing system designed to give teachers the resources and training they need for upward mobility. The RE license is valid for two years. During this time, teachers receive mentoring from an experienced teacher and complete the professional development requirements outlined in the program. The RE Program culminates in a RRESA and Lesson Reflection.

6. Upgrade to a Professional Teaching License.

Teachers who have completed the RE program are qualified to advance to a five-year Professional Teaching License. Eligible teachers should contact their RE Program Coordinator before completing the online application to advance their license.

Guide to Other Teaching Pathways

Ohio Teacher Certification Renewal

Most teachers working under an RE License will upgrade to a Professional Teaching License at the end of their two-year term. However, teachers who have not met all of the requirements to complete the RE Program can apply for a one-year extension or a two-year renewal. RE coursework requirements will increase to account for the extended time afforded by the renewal.

To renew a Professional, Senior, or Lead Educator license, teachers must complete six semester hours or 18 continuing education units (CEUs). Renewal applications are submitted through the online CORE system and are due by October 1 of the expiration year, or the coursework requirement increases to nine semester hours. Additional details on renewing a teaching license in Ohio can be found on the Board renewal page.

Adding Subjects or Grades to a Certificate

Licensed teachers in Ohio can only teach in the subject and grade level listed on their credentials, though occasional, temporary exceptions are made. To add a supplemental license or endorsement to a valid teaching license, teachers must have the support of an employing Ohio school district while they complete the OAE exam required for the desired subject area. A supplemental license allows educators to teach while they complete the supplemental license pathway to licensure. For more information, review the supplemental endorsements page.

Ohio Teaching License Reciprocity

Ohio allows teachers with out-of-state teaching licenses to apply for an Ohio license using their out-of-state credentials. Licensed teachers with at least three school years of teaching experience qualify for a 5-Year Professional Teaching License. Licensed teachers with less than two years of experience can apply for the 2-Year Resident Educator License and will complete the Resident Educator program in Ohio. A 1-Year Out-of-State Teaching License is available to candidates employed in an Ohio school to allow them time to complete the licensure exams or other requirements. To apply, teachers must complete an application through the online CORE system. In addition to the application, teachers will submit the following documentation:

  • Copy of valid out-of-state license
  • Proof of teaching experience (if applicable)
  • Official transcripts
  • Passing exam scores
  • Non-refundable application fee
  • Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) background check
  • FBI criminal background check

The Board’s out-of-state licensure page provides more details. You can learn more about transferring a teaching certificate or license between states on our guide to certification reciprocity.

In addition to standard teaching licenses, Ohio offers a variety of support and administrative credentials, each with its own set of requirements:

  • Administrative License – Principal: Principals in Ohio must hold an Administrative License, which requires a master’s degree with an approved principal preparation program. Additionally, principals must pass the OAE Educational Leadership licensure exam and have at least two years of teaching experience with a standard teaching license in the same grade level(s) as the intended principal license.
  • Pupil Services License – Social Worker: School social workers must have a master’s degree in a related field, a valid Licensed Social Worker (LSW) or Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) license, and completed a graduate preparation program in social work.
  • School Business Manager License: School business managers are professional school treasurers of Ohio’s schools. To obtain a School Business Manager License, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree and relevant experience.

In addition to the above licenses, licenses are available for superintendents, administrative specialists, school nurses, occupational therapists, audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and physical therapists. Many advanced certificates require a master’s degree and the completion of a related preparation program, plus relevant experience. For more information on related education licenses, visit the licensure pathways page.

Ohio Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in OH through 20302*

Ohio had an estimated 3,604 public schools operating during the 2017-2018 school year.3 There were approximately 1,704,399 students and 98,912 teachers in these schools, with an overall student-teacher ratio of about 17:1.3

Overall, projections for Ohio teachers are slightly lower than they are nationally, with the exception of preschool teachers, who are projected to have 23.6% job growth, compared to 18.4% nationally.2 Meanwhile, projections for middle school teachers in Ohio are the lowest overall, with growth expected at 6.1% compared to 13.1% nationally. The table below provides a detailed comparison of job growth prospects and salary levels for Ohio teachers.

TypeNumber Employed in OH4Average Annual Openings in OH2OH Proj. Job Growth 2020-20302Average Annual Salary in OH425th Percentile Wages in OH575th Percentile Wages in OH5
Preschool Teachers14,1601,82023.6%$31,830$27,340$34,940
Preschool Teachers, Special Education1,060$64,560$48,070$83,010
Kindergarten Teachers2,3003107.1%$58,560$41,600$76,490
Elementary School Teachers49,0804,0306.1%$68,880$49,080$79,260
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, Special Education8,1605206.6%$69,900$51,700$80,790
Middle School Teachers27,7802,1806.1%$71,350$56,640$82,950
Middle School Teachers, Special Education5,6502806.1%$66,980$49,340$77,990
Middle School Teachers, Career/Technical Education290$67,560$51,200$84,950
Secondary School Teachers57,6103,6606.7%$70,320$51,590$80,450
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education9,0206607.7%$69,270$59,660$79,540
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education4,4903805.9%$75,740$62,530$83,690

*The estimated job growth average is based on projections for mainstream kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Projections for other categories, such as special education and career and technical education, may be higher or lower than the average.

Teacher Shortages in Ohio

Ohio, like many states, is facing a number of teacher shortages. According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2023-2024, Ohio has designated the following deficits:

In addition to these shortage areas, Ohio also had nearly 4,000 underqualified teachers during the 2021-2022 school year, which includes teachers assigned to classrooms outside their certification field on a temporary or emergency basis.7

Ohio School District Requirements

If you would like to become a teacher in Columbus, you can read more on our Columbus city page. This page describes the steps you must go through to become a teacher in Columbus, provides contact information for the district, and lists well-known private and charter schools in the area.

Additional Resources

Ohio Teacher Interviews

Related Articles

Teacher Quote: “Teaching is the best job in the world! I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. It isn’t always easy, but it’s exciting and keeps you on your toes.” -Megan Wheeler, Ohio First Grade Teacher

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in Ohio?

Answer: Ohio requires that substitute teachers have a Substitute Teaching License. Ohio offers both a one-year and five-year Standard Substitute Teaching License. To qualify for a license, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree (with official transcripts), complete the required background checks, have confirmed employment with an Ohio school district, and submit an online application through the CORE system. A 1-Year Multi-Age (P-12) Temporary Non-Bachelor’s Degree Substitute Teaching License is available for applicants without a post-secondary degree that meet the employing school’s or district’s requirements. Additional details on substitute teaching licenses are available on the substitute license page.

Question: How many private schools and private school teachers are there in Ohio?

Answer: Data from the 2019-2020 school year reports approximately 1,290 private schools in Ohio.8 These schools serve 195,894 students and employ 18,809 full-time teachers.8 There are no state-wide licensing requirements for private school teachers in Ohio, but individual schools may prefer to hire licensed teachers. Educators should check with individual schools to determine specific hiring requirements.

1. Ohio State Board of Education: https://sboe.ohio.gov/home
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, 2017-2018: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Ohio: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_oh.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2023 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
6. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports
7. Teacher Shortages in the United States, Tuan D. Nguyen et al.: https://teachershortages.com/
8. National Center for Education Statistics, Private School Universe Survey, 2019-20: https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/tables/TABLE15fl1920.asp