How to Become a Teacher in Indiana

Learn how to become a teacher in Indiana. See where a career in education can take you.

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by Christina Payne

Updated June 10, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Samantha Fecich

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How to Become a Teacher in Indiana

Teaching careers will experience growth from 2020-2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Choosing a degree in education or returning to college for a teaching degree can help professionals get started in this field.

To teach in Indiana, professionals need teaching licensure. Granted by the Indiana Department of Education, these licenses prove that teachers have the necessary qualifications, experience, and training to educate students in a classroom.

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Ready to start your journey?

Professionals can find every type of teaching career at every grade level in Indiana, from preschool to postsecondary education. In the following sections, readers will learn how to become a teacher in Indiana and explore teaching careers available in the state. Readers can also discover answers to frequently asked questions about becoming a teacher in Indiana.

How Do I Become a Teacher in Indiana?

The Indiana Department of Education determines the qualifications for teachers in the state. Teaching licensure is required for anyone wishing to teach in a classroom. The state has two levels of licensure for teachers: initial practitioner and practitioner. Those just beginning their education career must apply for an initial practitioner license.

All in-state applicants must complete an approved preparation program, which can typically be fulfilled through any accredited education degree program in Indiana. Out-of-state applicants with current licensure from another state may apply for a reciprocal permit. Out-of-state applicants may still need to complete training programs and/or pass licensure tests.

Meet Minimum Education Requirements

The minimum education requirements for licensure in Indiana include:

The department of education provides a list of approved educator preparation programs. Applicants with current out-of-state licensure may not need to complete one of the approved educator preparation programs when applying for teaching certification in Indiana.

Aspiring teacher typically pursue a bachelor's in education to earn their licensure. Those interested in teaching particular subjects — such as science, math, or history — could pursue specialized degrees in those areas. Indiana offers alternative licensure paths for graduates with specialized degrees.

Teachers seeking alternative or specialized licensure still need a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA to qualify.

Gain Student Teaching Experience

Indiana allows each accredited educator preparation program to set the amount of student teaching hours needed. Depending on the program, aspiring teachers may need anywhere from 0-900 student teaching hours when pursuing licensure.

Programs that do not require any student teaching hours typically follow one of the alternative licensure paths, where students earn a bachelor's degree in a subject other than education.

Programs that do require student teaching hours expect students to learn how to design lesson plans and teach them in a classroom under the supervision of a licensed educator.

Pass Required Certification Tests

All teachers seeking licensure in Indiana must pass pedagogy tests. Some teachers may also need to pass specific subject tests to instruct higher grade levels. Readers should research what tests are needed for their specific grade level and subject matter, but may find some general testing information below.

Certification tests:

Some common subject tests may include:

Apply for Certification

Once teachers have completed their bachelor's degree, student teaching hours, and licensure tests, they may apply for licensure through the Licensing Verification and Information System.

Applicants may need to upload verification of completed requirements, including test scores and approved student teaching hours. Aspiring teachers should reach out to their educator preparation program for the appropriate documentation.

Educators will need to pay a fee for their license or license renewal. Fees may include:

How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in Indiana?

The initial practitioner license for teachers lasts two years. Teachers must renew this license if they do not have two years of full-time teaching experience at an accredited school. Applicants should not apply more than 45 days before the license expiration date and need valid CPR certification to qualify.

Teachers with two years of full-time experience can convert their license to a practitioner license. Before applying, teachers must either complete a two-year mentorship program or complete a personal growth plan. A practitioner's license lasts five years.

Renewing a practitioner license requires completing six hours of renewal college coursework or completing a professional growth plan. The state requires applicants to submit official paperwork to prove they have met the necessary qualifications.

Career Outlook for Teachers in Indiana

Teachers in Indiana public schools earned a range of annual salaries in 2021 from $32,280-$96,880. On average, teachers in Indiana public schools earned $54,000 annually. The BLS projects growth for education careers in all grade levels from preschool to postsecondary education from 2020-2030.

In general, educators with a master's degree make more money than their counterparts with a bachelor's degree. Earning a graduate degree also allows educators to pursue more advanced positions, such as teaching in universities or transferring to an administrative role.

However, readers must balance a potentially higher salary with the additional time and money it takes to earn a graduate-level degree. Educators should research whether going to graduate school is the right decision for them.

In-Demand Teaching Careers in Indiana

High School Teacher

High school teachers prepare lessons and instruct students in the classroom. Teachers are also responsible for grading assignments and providing feedback to their students to improve performance. Many high school teachers specialize in a subject, such as English, history, math, or science. These professionals may also get involved in extracurricular activities at the school.

Median Annual Salary: $62,870

Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers

Kindergarten and elementary school educators teach the foundations of math, reading, and writing. These teachers monitor each student's progress and communicate with the parents to ensure each child gets the help and attention they need. Some elementary school teachers may prepare students to take standardized tests.

Median Annual Salary: $60,660

Middle School Teachers

Middle school teachers create curricula to teach in the classroom. Some middle school teachers may cover all general education topics, while others may specialize in a particular subject, such as math. Middle school teachers help students navigate standardized testing and prepare them for high school.

Median Annual Salary: $60,810

Preschool Teacher

Preschool teachers work with young children from birth to age five. These professionals teach basic skills, such as identifying shapes, colors, and letters. Preschool teachers create a curriculum for the classroom and monitor students for signs of emotional and/or developmental problems that they may need to communicate to parents or guardians.

Median Annual Salary: $31,930

Special Education Teachers

Special education teachers build curriculum plans to meet students' emotional, developmental, and learning needs. These teachers may teach groups or work with individuals. Special education teachers may also work with parents to help them understand their child's educational needs both inside and outside of the classroom.

Median Annual Salary: $61,500

Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in Indiana

How do I get teaching certification in Indiana?

Aspiring teachers in Indiana need a bachelor's degree and must complete an educator preparation program, which may require student teaching hours. After passing any required teaching exams, teachers may apply for licensure from the state's department of education.

New teachers should apply for the initial practitioner license, which lasts two years. After meeting all qualifications of the initial practitioner license, teachers may apply for the practitioner license, which lasts five years.

Can I teach in Indiana without certification?

No, teachers in Indiana need licensure to teach in the classroom. Aspiring teachers living in the state must participate in an approved educator preparation program to qualify for their license.

Out-of-state teachers who already have certification can apply for a reciprocal license in Indiana. The state may require these teachers to complete a training program or pass certification exams, depending on their qualifications and the current license they hold.

How long does it take to become a teacher in Indiana?

Aspiring educators without a bachelor's degree will need an average of four years to become a teacher. Some teachers may need more time, depending on the student teaching requirements of their educator preparation program and how long it takes them to pass the certification exams.

Aspiring educators who already have a bachelor's degree will need less time to earn their licensure. These professionals can work through Indiana's alternative licensure path to meet the necessary requirements -- including passing certification exams -- in as little as a year.

What can I do with teaching certification in Indiana?

Teaching certification in Indiana allows educators to teach at all levels in the classroom, from preschool to secondary school. Teachers can also pursue more specialized teaching roles, such as teaching in a technical school or as a special education teacher.

Readers looking to become postsecondary teachers will need to earn a graduate degree, such as a master's degree or higher. A graduate degree may also help teachers earn a higher salary while teaching in an elementary or secondary school.

How do I become a substitute teacher in Indiana?

All substitute teachers in Indiana need a permit to teach in the classroom. To receive a permit, substitute teachers must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Meet any additional criteria set forth by the school

School employers recommend individuals for a substitute permit. The permit is only valid at the school that requested the permit. Each permit is valid for three years. Applicants must pay a $15 processing fee when applying for the permit.

Feature Image: Maskot / Maskot / Getty Images

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