How to Become a Teacher in Nebraska
Demand for teachers in Nebraska will continue to grow. Learn what it takes to become a licensed teacher in Nebraska.
Updated June 10, 2022
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Teaching certification qualifies individuals to work as educators in elementary and secondary schools in Nebraska. Certification demonstrates competency in general instructional skills and knowledge in the subject or grade level a person wants to teach. People who want to become a teacher in Nebraska should familiarize themselves with all postsecondary education training and licensing requirements.
Teacher shortages in Nebraska drive the growing demand for these professionals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs for elementary and high school teachers will grow 4.3% and 7.5%, respectively, between 2020-2030. The BLS also projects that middle teacher jobs will grow 12.4% during the same time.
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Ready to start your journey?
This page details how to become a teacher in Nebraska. We also highlight the steps needed to gain teaching certification in Nebraska, teaching careers, and job outlooks.
How Do I Become a Teacher in Nebraska?
Teaching certifications in Nebraska vary by experience. Professionals who satisfy the basic requirements earn an initial certificate, which they must renew every five years. Teachers with at least two consecutive years of experience can qualify for a standard teaching certificate, which also needs renewal every five years. A professional teaching certificate, valid for ten years, can go to educators with a master's degree in education or an endorsed content area.
Nebraska does not recognize full reciprocity with other states. However, certified out-of-state teachers who want to teach in Nebraska can show proof of their approved teacher preparation program on their official transcripts. Individuals should check with the Nebraska Department of Education if they must meet other requirements, especially if their certifications do not appear on their transcripts.
Meet Minimum Education Requirements
Teacher certification candidates need a bachelor's degree. Also, students must receive their training from a state-approved program to obtain certification. The Nebraska Department of Education provides a list of approved teacher preparation programs.
Individuals can get various subject area endorsements or teaching certifications in Nebraska. Prospective educators should determine what type of teacher they want to be, what subjects interest them, and what kind of classroom setting they prefer. Teachers can earn endorsements in various subjects, but they might consider one in which Nebraska currently has shortages:
- Art and Music Education
- Career and Technical Education
- English as a Second Language (ESL)
- General Mathematics
- General Science
- Language Arts
- Physical Education
- Special Education
- World Languages
After earning a four-year degree, candidates must attend a teacher preparation program that gives them classroom observation and student teaching opportunities. In Nebraska, teacher preparation requires human relations and special education instruction.
Complete Applicable Trainings
Regardless of the subject or grade level candidates want to teach, their training program may require courses in foundational teaching skills, pedagogy, special education, and human relations. Training also involves field experiences, including student teaching, internships, and field observations.
Training programs require classes on the subject or grade level educators want to teach. For example, people seeking elementary education endorsement must take classes like child development, classroom management, and math, English, and science basics. People teaching in middle or high school need more focused courses on their chosen subjects.
Pass Required Certification Tests
Upon completing a state-approved educator training program, candidates must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills Test. The Praxis Core assesses individuals' basic academic skills, including mathematics, reading, and writing. No matter the grade level or subjects they want to teach, candidates must demonstrate competencies in these areas.
Prospective teachers must also take one or more content-specific Praxis Subject Assessments to receive an endorsement in the area(s) or grade level they want to teach. Exams cover over 90 different subjects, from agriculture to world languages.
Apply for Certification
After individuals complete their educational and exam requirements, they must complete a Nebraska teaching licensure application, which requires several forms. Candidates must go to the Nebraska Department of Education website and complete an online application form. They also need to provide the following:
- Official transcripts showing evidence of a bachelor's degree
- Proof of successful completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program
- Scores on the Praxis Core and Subject Area assessments
- Nonrefundable processing fee
The application process also requires submitting to a state and federal criminal background check. The Nebraska Department of Education requires blueprints via LiveScan or traditional rolled ink.
How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in Nebraska?
Teacher training program graduates earn an initial certification, which remains valid for five years. The standard certification, which goes to teachers with two consecutive years of full- or half-time instruction, also requires a five-year renewal process. Candidates should consult the Nebraska Department of Education for renewal requirements for specialized certifications.
Individuals teaching in Nebraska must also take six credit hours of continuing education courses every five years to remain in good standing. Some professionals who want to improve their classroom teaching and acquire more knowledge consider going back to school to earn a master's degree in education.
Career Outlook for Teachers in Nebraska
Due partly to the coronavirus pandemic, many teachers are retiring or changing careers, and school districts have an urgent need to replace them. The next few years may lead to school enrollment increases across Nebraska, adding to the current teacher shortage. The BLS projects that jobs for elementary, middle, and secondary educators will grow 4.3%, 12.4%, and 7.5%, respectively, between 2020-2030.
According to 2020 BLS figures, certified elementary and high school teachers in Nebraska earned mean annual salaries of $61,890 and $62,530, respectively. Educators working in public schools tend to make more than professionals working in private schools.
A master's degree can qualify people for an optional professional teaching certificate for teaching in Nebraska. Master's graduates must show a background in special education, curriculum and instruction, educational technology, or areas related to their teaching interests. A master's degree enables teachers to expand their employment prospects and potentially increase their annual earnings by more than $4,000.
In-Demand Teaching Careers in Nebraska
Music teachers instill in students an appreciation for music and prepare learners for musical performance. These educators expose students to music theory and concepts like pitch, tempo, and rhythm, which are foundational to singing and playing instruments. Teaching music in Nebraska requires teacher preparation training in performance, techniques, and music history and theory. They also need training in composition and conducting.
Mean Annual Salary: $44,110
These professionals work with learners with physical, emotional, learning, or mental disabilities. They adapt general education curricula to meet these students' needs, and they teach basic skills to learners with moderate to severe disabilities. Teaching certifications in Nebraska require special education training as part of teacher preparation programs.
Mean Annual Salary: $62,890
Physical education (PE) teachers expose students to health, physical development, and sports. PE instructors possess knowledge of health sciences and athletics. They teach learners the basics of various sporting activities, showing them the benefits of sport to physical and mental health. These professionals also promote an appreciation for physical activity and regular exercise.
Mean Annual Salary: $47,680
English as a Second Language (ESL)
ESL teachers work with students whose primary language is not English. These professionals help students write, read, and speak in English. They also adapt general education curricula to help learners gain linguistic competency in various academic and other settings.
Mean Annual Salary: $46,310
A person who teaches general math instructs students on the broad aspects of the field. They typically teach arithmetic classes at the elementary level and algebra, statistics, geometry, or calculus in high school. Most math teachers consider themselves STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) instructors. They increase students' awareness of and interest in these subjects beyond elementary or secondary school.
Mean Annual Salary: $51,390
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in Nebraska
How do I get teaching certification in Nebraska?
Teaching in Nebraska requires at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Another requirement includes completing a teacher training program that offers internships, classroom observations, and supervised student teaching experience.
The Nebraska Department of Education provides a list of all state-approved training programs. After completing training, candidates take the Praxis Core Test and the appropriate Praxis subject test. These exams assess their general teaching skills and knowledge of their specialized subject area. Final steps include applying for certification, getting a criminal background check, and completing student teaching hours in a preK-12 classroom.
Can I teach in Nebraska without certification?
No. Individuals cannot teach or supervise a classroom in Nebraska without the proper certification. Before they earn certification, educators must earn a bachelor's degree, complete a teacher training program, and pass the required exams.
How long does it take to become a teacher in Nebraska?
Learning how to become a teacher in Nebraska requires many years of preparation. Earning a bachelor's degree takes about four years of full-time study. Future educators must also complete six semester hours of teacher preparation and training. Finally, they must complete a set number of hours of student teaching.
What can I do with teaching certification in Nebraska?
Teaching certifications in Nebraska expand employment opportunities for many educators. Many education jobs require certification, and they do not all involve classroom teaching. The proper teaching credentials also give individuals access to administrative positions and other support-related occupations like a guidance counselor.
Even if an open position does not require it, a hiring school might prefer job candidates with teaching certification. This credential can also benefit private tutors.
How do I become a substitute teacher in Nebraska?
Substitute teachers in Nebraska do not need to pursue certification. However, they must apply for a substitute teaching permit by registering for The Educator Application and Certification Hub (TEACH). They must also meet the educational requirements of the school or district where they want to work.
Candidates should speak to their prospective employer before applying for the permit to ensure they hold the appropriate qualifications. Educators who already hold a substitute teaching permit and want to change schools might not need to submit a new permit application. Nevertheless, they should talk to the new school system to know what requirements they must meet.
Feature Image: Hill Street Studios / DigitalVision / Getty Images
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