How to Become a Teacher in Louisiana
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More than 48,000 teachers work at Louisiana's 1,423 schools as of 2019-2020. Those educators serve nearly 720,000 students across the state. And in Louisiana's public school districts, educators need a teaching certification from the state.
If you're interested in teaching in Louisiana, what steps will you need to take? Our guide breaks down how to become a teacher in Louisiana. Prospective teachers must hold a bachelor's degree and meet training and testing requirements. They also need to understand the certification application process.
Many Louisiana colleges offer teacher preparation programs, including online colleges. Teachers can also meet the requirements with an out-of-state educator preparation program or by returning to college for an alternative certification program. Keep reading to learn more about how to become a teacher in Louisiana.
How Do I Become a Teacher in Louisiana?
Louisiana teachers must meet several requirements to qualify for a teaching certification. Also called a teaching license or teaching certificate, the credential allows educators to work in Louisiana public schools.
According to the Louisiana Department of Education, certified teachers must hold a bachelor's degree and complete a teacher preparation program. The program must include student teaching experience. Candidates must also pass certification exams before submitting their applications. Out-of-state educators follow a similar process to verify their preparation for teaching careers.
After receiving an initial teacher certification, educators can advance to higher-level certifications with teaching experience and a master's degree.
Meet Minimum Education Requirements
Educators must hold a bachelor's degree to qualify for teaching certification in Louisiana. The state offers many pathways to an initial teaching certificate. Many teachers complete a bachelor's degree through a Louisiana teacher preparation program. These four-year programs train educators in content knowledge, pedagogy, and general education. Undergraduate teaching majors also gain student teaching experience.
During a teacher preparation program, undergraduates also complete testing requirements for state certification. Many Louisiana colleges offer approved teacher preparation programs.
Louisiana also certifies teachers educated in other states. Candidates must hold a bachelor's degree and meet teacher preparation requirements. Those with an out-of-state teaching license can often transfer their credential to Louisiana. Out-of-state graduates must provide evidence of teacher training in the form of student teaching or teaching experience.
Popular Online Teaching Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
Gain Student Teaching Experience
In Louisiana, prospective teachers gain student teaching experience as part of their educator preparation program. The state's programs provide at least 180 hours of field experience. Educators may also complete an internship or in-school residency as part of their training. These classroom requirements help future teachers strengthen their skills and knowledge.
Teacher certification candidates can also meet the requirement with out-of-state student teaching experience or classroom experience as a licensed teacher in another state. The state's alternate teacher preparation options also incorporate hands-on classroom experience before educators qualify for a license.
Pass Required Certification Tests
Certified Louisiana teachers complete Praxis tests as part of their licensure process. Candidates take the Praxis core academic skills test to demonstrate basic reading, writing, and mathematics abilities. SAT or ACT scores that reach state minimums also meet this requirement.
Then, they take Praxis content exams or specific tests based on their certification area. For example, elementary educators take the principles of learning and teaching exam plus the elementary education test. Prospective educators can check the test requirements depending on their certification area.
In Louisiana's teacher preparation programs, incoming students meet the core testing requirements as a prerequisite for their program. They pass the certification tests at the end of their program.
Apply for Certification
Candidates for a Louisiana teaching certification submit materials online. The application requires a Social Security number, mailing address, email address, telephone number, and the certification fee. Currently, employed educators work with their school system to make sure the documents reach the state's department of education.
The certification fees vary depending on the endorsement areas. An initial teaching certificate costs $50, as does an out-of-state reciprocal certificate. Teachers pay an additional $50 to add certification areas to their credentials or to list an added degree on their certificate. Extensions and renewals also cost $50.
How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in Louisiana?
After receiving a teaching certification, Louisiana educators must keep their credentials current. Most certificates remain valid for 3-5 years. In addition to renewing a certificate, educators can apply for a higher-level certificate.
The state offers three levels of teaching certificates. After completing three years of teaching, teachers with an initial level one certificate can apply for a level two certificate. Candidates for a level three certificate must hold a graduate degree and complete five years of teaching experience.
In Louisiana, teachers complete the renewal process through their school system. The school submits forms and requests a renewal, extension, or higher certification level. These applications include information about the candidate's teaching experience and effectiveness. Renewing a certificate or applying for a higher level costs $50.
Career Outlook for Teachers in Louisiana
In March 2022, Louisiana reported a teacher shortage of about 2,500 educators. The state's high demand for teaching jobs comes in part from the shrinking number of teaching majors graduating each year. That makes Louisiana's job market favorable for current and prospective teachers.
Certified teachers in Louisiana report average salaries of over $50,000 per year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the state employs over 20,000 elementary teachers with an annual mean wage of $51,450 as of May 2021. Louisiana's 15,600 high school teachers earned an average of $53,950 per year as of May 2021. Teachers with an education master's degree can typically increase their earning potential.
Prospective educators can also consider other education careers in the state. For example, a graduate degree opens up more career paths in educational administration.
In-Demand Teaching Careers in Louisiana
Special education teachers educate students with disabilities. They create individualized education programs for each student and work closely with administrators and parents to help learners reach their goals. Special education teachers may focus on particular disabilities, such as physical impairments or autism spectrum disorders. Louisiana reports a teacher shortage for special education teachers from the pre-K to 12th grade levels.
Median Annual Salary: $61,820
English as a Second Language
English as a second language (ESL) teachers, also called English language learner (ELL) teachers, instruct students who speak a primary language other than English. At the primary level, they emphasize basic English language skills. At the secondary level, they teach advanced concepts. Louisiana has a teacher shortage of ESL teachers from the pre-K to 12th grade levels.
Average Annual Salary: $46,260
Math teachers cover core concepts like numerical literacy, basic math, and algebra. At the secondary level, they teach subjects such as geometry, trigonometry, and statistics. They also can teach precalculus and calculus. Math teachers need college-level coursework in mathematics and math education. Louisiana has a teacher shortage of pre-K through 12th grade math teachers.
Average Annual Salary: $51,680
Science teachers educate students about the natural world. They specialize in areas like general science, biology, Earth science, chemistry, and physics. Most science teachers work at the secondary level, where they prepare learners for college or the workforce. Louisiana reports a teacher shortage for science teachers from the pre-K through 12th grade levels.
Average Annual Salary: $48,760
World language teachers instruct learners in languages like Spanish, French, Japanese, and Mandarin. In bilingual education programs, language teachers provide immersive language experiences. Language teachers instruct students in grammar, speaking, and writing at the secondary level. Louisiana reports a teacher shortage for world languages teachers at the pre-K through 12th grade levels.
Average Annual Salary: $51,130
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in Louisiana
How do I get teaching certification in Louisiana?
Prospective teachers must meet certain requirements to qualify for teaching certification in Louisiana. Like other states, Louisiana requires a bachelor's degree for teaching jobs. Educators must also complete a teacher preparation program. These programs include coursework on teaching methods, content knowledge, and pedagogy.
Learners also gain classroom experience during an internship or residency at a school. This student teaching experience meets the state's requirement for a teaching certificate. Finally, candidates must pass Praxis tests related to their teaching area. Applicants then receive their initial teaching license.
Can I teach in Louisiana without certification?
Teachers can work in Louisiana schools without a state-issued certification. However, jobs in the state's public school systems require certification. Educators who do not hold certification have fewer job opportunities. Nationally, for example, 82% of high school teachers work in public schools, while only 14% teach at private schools, according to BLS data.
Louisiana does offer alternate teacher preparation options for prospective educators who do not hold a teaching degree. These programs train teachers for certification in less time than a bachelor's degree.
How long does it take to become a teacher in Louisiana?
Teachers typically spend at least four years preparing for certification and teaching jobs. In Louisiana, certified educators need a bachelor's degree that includes teacher preparation training. These programs, often a bachelor's in education or teaching, generally take four years.
During a teaching degree, undergraduates meet certification requirements, including coursework and student teaching requirements. Education programs also help future teachers complete required testing. For example, In Louisiana, educators must pass several Praxis exams to qualify for a certificate. Prospective teachers with a bachelor's degree in another field can complete an alternate teacher preparation program to meet extra certification requirements.
What can I do with teaching certification in Louisiana?
A teaching certification qualifies educators for public school teaching in Louisiana. The state's K-12 school systems hire certified teachers in subjects like elementary education, language arts, social studies, math, and science. Teachers also work in world languages, special education, and English language learning.
Holding a teaching license helps educators qualify for more jobs and increase their earning potential. According to the BLS, nationally, high school teachers at public schools earned a median annual wage of $62,420 in May 2021. That's nearly $6,000 more a year than private high school teachers, who earned $56,510 in the same year.
How do I become a substitute teacher in Louisiana?
In Louisiana, the state Department of Education does not issue substitute teacher certifications. Instead, local school systems hire substitute teachers. As a result, substitute teaching job requirements vary by location.
School districts may require a college degree, and substitutes must pass a criminal background check. Some districts also prefer candidates with prior experience working with children. Contact Louisiana school systems directly to learn more about their substitute teacher requirements.