How to Become a Teacher in Rhode Island

As a teacher, you will learn that you hold one of the most respectable and rewarding jobs in the world. Teachers have the direct ability to influence and impact their students in a way that others may not. Rhode Island boasts their excellent educators. With that said, the following steps will help you become a certified educator in Rhode Island.

Choose What You Want to Teach

The first decision you must make is the type of certification you would like to earn. Some common areas are elementary school, high school, middle school, or special education. This is the most important step. The second most important step, for middle school and high school teachers, is to decide what subject area you would like to focus on. For example, would you like to teach Science? The Rhode Island Department of Education provides information about schools, teachers, and students in the state, which could help you make a decision.

Complete Your Education Requirements for Teaching in Rhode Island

Anyone who chooses to teach in the state of Rhode Island must have a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree. You must also complete an educator preparation program that is approved by the state board in Rhode Island. The educator preparation courses will focus on whatever area you choose to teach.

If you do not have a Bachelor's Degree yet, it is likely that you will be able to complete Bachelor's Degree and educator preparation programs simultaneously. Talk to a college or university advisor to see if such a blended program is available to you. This is a great route for individuals who know from early on that they want to become a teacher.

Complete a Teacher Preparation Program

Rhode Island has eight institutions of higher education with approved educator preparation programs. If the program id accredited, educator preparation programs can be completed at a physical school or online.

Educator preparation programs are generally structured on a combination of college coursework and fieldwork. College courses in the program usually cover topics such as, subject-based teaching methods, differentiated instruction strategies, classroom management, and integration of technology. Fieldwork includes classroom observations, student teaching, and/or internships. Student teachers become instructors in real classrooms under the supervision and guidance of an experienced teacher. During your time as a student teacher, you will prepare and implement lessons based on the needs of your student population. In addition, you will be required to monitor classroom behavior, grade assignments, and communicate with parents. In Rhode Island, graduates of approved programs are automatically eligible for certification (provided they have achieved passing test scores).

As mentioned earlier, many teaching candidates complete an educator preparation program as part of the Bachelor's Degree. However, if you already have a Bachelor's Degree, you can complete a post-baccalaureate or alternative educator preparation program. Some institutions of higher education even offer joint Master's Degree and educator preparation programs.

Alternative Teacher Certification in Rhode Island

There are other routes that you can take in order to become a licensed teacher in Rhode Island.

Alternative Educator Preparation

The alternative educator preparation program provide preparation to educator candidates who serve as teachers of record while completing the approved program. These programs may be offered by an institution of higher education, a professional organization, or a private service provider.

Preliminary Educator Certificate

Preliminary Educator Certificates are awarded to individuals who are not fully certified to serve as educators of record, while pursuing certification. There are six types of Preliminary Educator Certificates: Alternate Route Preliminary, Career and Technical Education Preliminary, Emergency Preliminary, Expert Residency Preliminary, Temporary Initial Educator Preliminary, and Visiting Lecturer Preliminary.

Pass the Required Tests for Rhode Island

Basic Skills

Rhode Island requires public school teachers to pass a basic skills test. This test could be fulfilled by taking the CORE Academic Skills for Educators Test. This CORE exam measures an individual's skills in basic reading, writing, and mathematics.

Subject Tests

A subject knowledge verification test must also be taken. The Praxis II test will usually fulfill this requirement. The test includes three portions: subject assessment, principles of learning and teaching, as well as a teaching foundations test. The test should be taken in the area you want to teach.

Apply for your Rhode Island Teacher Certification

Application Requirements

You will be required to provide the following when you apply to become a certified teacher in Rhode Island:

  • Completed application form
  • Application fee as established by the Board of Regents
  • Official transcript(s) from an approved institution showing degree(s) and completion of an educator preparation program
  • Official verification from the testing agency showing a passing score on required assessments

Contact Information

Rhode Island Department of Education
255 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903
Phone: (401) 222-4600

Find a Teaching Job in Rhode Island

After completing the above steps, you will be fully prepared to find a job in the state of Rhode Island as a professional and fully qualified teacher. There are countless opportunities for you to choose from now that you are qualified. Take your time and explore your options before making this life-changing decision.

Teaching in a Public School

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) has outsourced all public job listings through SchoolSpring.com. As noted on the department's website, all applications to RIDE must now be made through this auxiliary site. Using a third-party system allows employers and potential employees to effectively manage their profiles, applications, and postings.

Currently, the state of Rhode Island has need for trained professionals who can teach languages, STEM subjects, and special education.

Teacher Associations in Rhode Island

After their contract begins, teachers join a professional association or union. Unions support teachers by advocating for their financial, legal, and professional rights in the classroom.

Teaching in a Private School

Other employment alternatives exist for teachers uninterested in the public system. The state's 199 private schools seek certified, dynamic educators as well. Private schools usually have smaller class sizes which make it easier for teachers to meet the needs of all their diverse students. Candidates should note that some private schools have a religious affiliation. Those who wish to be employed by a private school can seek more information from the actual school, as there may be additional requirements.

Teacher Shortage in Rhode Island by Subjects or Discipline (2014-2015)

The following list of teacher shortage areas in Rhode Island has been obtained from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) list for the 2014-2015 school year

  • Early Childhood
  • Elementary Education
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Spanish
  • Biology
  • Business Education
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Social Studies
  • World Language
  • Special Education
  • Early Childhood Special Educator
  • Elementary/Middle Special Educator
  • Middle/Secondary Special Educator
  • Severe Profound Special Educator
  • Special Subjects
  • Family and Consumer Science
  • Library Media
  • Music
  • Technology Education
  • Theatre
  • Support Professionals
  • Reading Specialist Consultant
  • Other Areas
  • Bilingual and Dual Language
  • Career and Technical Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • School Nurse Teacher

Number of Public School Teachers By Grade

The table below lists the number of public school teachers in Rhode Island by grade level during the 2012-2013 school year.

Grade LevelNumber of Teachers
Pre-kindergarten & Preschool Teachers129
Kindergarten Teachers346
Elementary Teachers4,884
Middle & High School Teachers4,512

Data obtained from the State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data 2013

Number of Private School Teachers By Grade

There are more than 130 private schools with an estimated 2,100 private school teachers in Rhode Island. The table below details the number of teachers by grade level during the 2011-2012 school year.

Grade LevelNumber of Teachers
Elementary School Teachers925
Middle & High School Teachers521
Combined K-12 School Teachers667

Data obtained from the Private School Universe Survey (PSS) 2012

Continue Your Education and Professional Development

In order to be most effective in the classroom, teachers are required to continually develop their professional practice in a variety of ways. Through in-services, webinars, seminars, research, conferences, writing, curriculum development, and self-assessment, teachers continually gain strategies in order to boost student achievement. In addition, professional development helps teachers reach their personal career and salary goals. Professional development most often centers around implementing strategies for student engagement in their particular subject matter, but can also focus on evaluation, additional school roles, or educating special populations.

Professional Development in Rhode Island

Rhode Island's Department of Education has numerous supports in place to ensure that teachers receive the training that they need to meet state and student standards. An up-to-date calendar informs teachers of accredited professional development offerings throughout the state. There are also a number of online third-party PD providers such as teacheredonline.org that provide convenient and high-quality online offerings to educators. Teachers requiring additional information may contact the Office of Educator Quality and Certification (EQAC).

Employment and Teacher Salary in Rhode Island

The state of Rhode Island is actively recruiting new teachers to fill teacher shortages throughout the state. Teachers certified to teach STEM subjects, languages, elementary education, special education, and other subjects may experience less difficulty finding work in their field. With a starting salary of $39,196, teachers in Rhode Island make a competitive salary. For best hiring opportunities, teacher applicants are encouraged to apply first to districts with the highest enrolment numbers like Providence, Cranston, Warwick, and Pawtucket.

Total Employed

4,030

Salary Range

$62,250 - $94,450

Elementary school teachers have a salary range between $62,250 to $94,450 a year in Rhode Island. There are around four thousand employed elementary school teachers. Read about what it takes to become an elementary school teacher.

Elementary School Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick4,790$72,220

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Elementary School Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2021)

Total Employed

400

Salary Range

$54,670 - $128,920

English teachers have a salary range between $54,670 to $128,920 a year in Rhode Island, with over 400 employed in the state. See details on how to become an english teacher.

English Language and Literature Teachers (College Professor)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick420$77,830

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for English Language and Literature Teachers (College Professor) (SOC Code: 25-1123)

Total Employed

4,310

Salary Range

$59,150 - $92,530

As a high school teacher in Rhode Island you can expect to make between $59,150 - $92,530. There are around four thousand employed high school teachers. Take the next step and learn to how to become a high school teacher.

High School Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick5,040$69,900

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for High School Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2031)

Total Employed

190

Salary Range

$67,290 - $148,270

In Rhode Island, a history teacher's salary may range from $67,290 to $148,270. There are around 190 employed history teachers. Get more information about becoming a history teacher.

History Teachers (College Professor)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick200$90,880

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for History Teachers (College Professor) (SOC Code: 25-1125)

Total Employed

410

Salary Range

$43,470 - $95,800

Kindergarten teachers in Rhode Island, can earn between $43,470 to $95,800 a year. There are around 410 employed kindergarten teachers. Read about what it takes to become a kindergarten teacher.

Kindergarten Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick500$64,100

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Kindergarten Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2012)

Total Employed

11,350

Salary Range

$43,470 - $153,480

As a math teacher in Rhode Island you can expect to make between $43,470 - $153,480. Rhode Island is home to about eleven thousand math teachers. See our guide on how to become a math teacher.

Mathematical Science Teachers (College Professor)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick240$87,380

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Mathematical Science Teachers (College Professor) (SOC Code: 25-1022)

Total Employed

970

Salary Range

$21,940 - $71,890

P.e. teachers have a salary range between $21,940 to $71,890 a year in Rhode Island. Rhode Island is home to about 970 p.e. teachers. See our guide on how to become a p.e. teacher.

Coaches and Scouts
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick1,030$40,580

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Coaches and Scouts (SOC Code: 27-2022)

Total Employed

1,390

Salary Range

$24,780 - $62,700

In Rhode Island, a preschool teacher's salary may range from $24,780 to $62,700, with over 1,390 employed in the state. See details on how to become a preschool teacher.

Preschool Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick1,890$33,030

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Preschool Teachers (SOC Code: 25-2011)

Total Employed

1,000

Salary Range

$50,170 - $128,180

As a school administrator in Rhode Island you can expect to make between $50,170 - $128,180. Rhode Island is home to about 1000 school administrators. Take the next step and learn to how to become a school administrator.

Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick190$59,110

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Education Administrators, Preschool and Childcare Center/Program (SOC Code: 11-9031)

Education Administrators, Elementary, Middle, and High School
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick1,050$97,580

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Education Administrators, Elementary, Middle, and High School (SOC Code: 11-9032)

Total Employed

860

Salary Range

$47,070 - $90,410

School counselors in Rhode Island, can earn between $47,070 to $90,410 a year, with over 860 employed in the state. See our guide on how to become a school counselor.

Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick1,090$62,590

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Educational, Guidance, School, and Vocational Counselors (SOC Code: 21-1012)

Total Employed

660

Salary Range

$48,630 - $91,420

School librarians have a salary range between $48,630 to $91,420 a year in Rhode Island. Rhode Island is home to about 660 school librarians. Read about what it takes to become a school librarian.

Librarians
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick710$62,100

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Librarians (SOC Code: 25-4021)

Total Employed

1,660

Salary Range

$52,470 - $94,920

In Rhode Island, a special education teacher's salary may range from $52,470 to $94,920. Rhode Island is home to about a thousand special education teachers. Interested in becoming a special education teacher?

Special Education Teachers (Preschool)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick80$63,840

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Preschool) (SOC Code: 25-2051)

Special Education Teachers (Kindergarten and Elementary School)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick950$71,040

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Kindergarten and Elementary School) (SOC Code: 25-2052)

Special Education Teachers (Middle School)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick600$70,820

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (Middle School) (SOC Code: 25-2053)

Special Education Teachers (High School)
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick580$71,830

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Special Education Teachers (High School) (SOC Code: 25-2054)

Total Employed

1,820

Salary Range

$25,360 - $34,850

In Rhode Island, a substitute teacher's salary may range from $25,360 to $34,850. Rhode Island is home to about a thousand substitute teachers. Read about what it takes to become a substitute teacher.

Substitute Teachers
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick2,030$28,460

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Substitute Teachers (SOC Code: 25-3098)

Total Employed

4,540

Salary Range

$24,280 - $44,060

In Rhode Island, a teaching assistant's salary may range from $24,280 to $44,060. There are around four thousand employed teaching assistants. Interested in becoming a teaching assistant?

Teacher Assistants
AreaTotal EmploymentSalary
Providence, Fall River, Warwick5,600$30,080

Data taken from BLS Occupational Employment Statistics (http://www.bls.gov/oes/) for Teacher Assistants (SOC Code: 25-9041)

Top School Districts Supporting Teachers in Rhode Island

homepage_badge_topTeachers work hard every day and the more support they have the better they can succeed at inspiring our future. This is why Teacher.org has ranked school districts in Rhode Island that excel in supporting teachers inside and outside of the classroom. 26 school districts in Rhode Island were analyzed with the top 10 school districts being featured below. The school districts were scored on several factors which represent how well a school district supports their teachers.

For more information on school district rankings, see our methodology page: http://www.teacher.org/school-district-ranking-methodology.

Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 70.95
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 94.57
% Proficiency Score: 96.53

Located in Kent County, the East Greenwich School District is a public district educating students ranging from preschool to grade 12. The 6 schools employ almost 150 classroom teachers to support its enrollment of 2,400 students. With a classroom ratio of just over 16:1, the teachers create a quality environment to foster academic excellence. Learn more by visiting the East Greenwich School District website at egsd.net.

District Details
  • > 100 FTE Teachers
  • 2,000-3,000 Students
  • > 100 Total Support Staff
  • 85.0 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 91.86
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 69
% Proficiency Score: 93.17

Serving Washington County, the South Kingstown School District operates 9 elementary, middle, and high schools. The district employs approximately 300 classroom teachers to educate over 3,400 students ranging from preschool to grade 12. With a classroom ratio of about 13:1, South Kingstown educators pride themselves in achieving success for all learners. Learn more by visiting the South Kingstown School District website at skschools.net.

District Details
  • > 200 FTE Teachers
  • 3,000-4,000 Students
  • > 100 Total Support Staff
  • 82.0 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 73.41
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 83.07
% Proficiency Score: 91.33

Serving Washington County, the North Kingstown School District operates 8 publically funded schools. With over 4,100 students enrolled in grades ranging from PK - 12, the district employs about 260 classroom teachers to meet student need. North Kingstown School District educators provide their students with a learning environment that allows each student the inspiration to reach individual success. Learn more by visiting the North Kingstown School District website at nksd.net.

District Details
  • > 200 FTE Teachers
  • 3,000-4,000 Students
  • > 150 Total Support Staff
  • 80.5 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 91.57
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 70.5
% Proficiency Score: 85.04

Located on the southwestern shoreline of the state of Rhode Island, in Washington County, the Westerly School District operates 6 public schools. The district employs over 250 classroom teachers to educate just over 3,000 students ranging from preschool to grade 12. With a classroom ratio of approximately 12:1, teachers are able to shape an environment where their students feel inspired, challenged, encouraged and supported in achieving their highest potential. Learn more by visiting the Westerly School District website at westerly.k12.ri.us.

District Details
  • > 200 FTE Teachers
  • 3,000-4,000 Students
  • > 100 Total Support Staff
  • 75.0 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 84.94
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 64.78
% Proficiency Score: 90.79

Located in Providence County, the Scituate School District operates 5 public schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. The district employs about 110 classroom teachers to support its enrollment of just over 1,500 students from grades PK - 12. Teaching staff in the Scituate School District take pride in providing their students with the necessary skills and knowledge needed to achieve success in everyday life. Learn more by visiting the Scituate School District website at scituateri.net.

District Details
  • > 100 FTE Teachers
  • 1,000-2,000 Students
  • > 50 Total Support Staff
  • 80.0 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 81.57
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 54.84
% Proficiency Score: 100

Located on Narragansett Bay, in Bristol County, the Barrington School District operates 6 elementary, middle, and high schools. The publically funded PK-12 district employs nearly 250 classroom teachers to educate almost 3,400 students. With a classroom ratio of 13:1, the district is committed to creating an environment where students can achieve academic excellence. Learn more by visiting the Barrington School District website at www3.barringtonschools.org.

District Details
  • > 200 FTE Teachers
  • 3,000-4,000 Students
  • > 75 Total Support Staff
  • 88.0 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 89.09
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 59.43
% Proficiency Score: 86.78

Located in the northern portion of Newport County is the Tiverton School District. The publically funded district operates 5 elementary, middle and high schools. Total enrollment is approximately 1,900 students from preschool to grade 12. With a classroom ratio of 13:1, Tiverton School District employs almost 140 teachers to support student need. Learn more by visiting the Tiverton School District website at tivertonschools.org.

District Details
  • > 100 FTE Teachers
  • 1,000-2,000 Students
  • > 50 Total Support Staff
  • 76.5 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 98.98
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 54.53
% Proficiency Score: 77.46

An integral part of Kent County, Rhode Island, Warwick Public School District operates 24 elementary, middle and high schools throughout the area. With a total enrolment of more than 9,300 student, the district employs more than 750 classroom teachers and over 500 additional school staff to meet student needs. With a classroom ratio of about 12:1, Warwick schools are committed to working cooperatively with families and the community to provide a challenging learning environment for all. Learn more by visiting the Warwick Public Schools website at warwickschools.org.

District Details
  • > 500 FTE Teachers
  • 5000-10,000 Students
  • > 300 Total Support Staff
  • 68.5 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 79.02
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 67.99
% Proficiency Score: 82.32

Located in Newport County, Rhode Island, Middletown School District serves public school students from preschool to grade 12 throughout its 5 elementary, middle and high schools. Enrolling more than 2,200 students, the district employs over 150 classroom teachers, creating a ratio of about 15 students per teacher. Middletown teachers, administrators and support staff are committed to ensuring success for every student. Learn more by visiting the Middletown School District website at mpsri.net.

District Details
  • > 100 FTE Teachers
  • 2,000-3,000 Students
  • > 75 Total Support Staff
  • 72.4 Avg % Proficiency
Student/Teacher Ratio Score: 88.37
Teacher/Support Ratio Score: 57.07
% Proficiency Score: 83.31

Located in Kent County, the Coventry School District is a publically funded district that operates 8 schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Over 5,100 students are enrolled from preschool to grade 12. The district employs nearly 380 classroom teachers to support student need. With a classroom ratio of 13:1, the Coventry School District offers a collaborative and supportive environment that empowers students to achieve academic success. Learn more by visiting the Coventry Public Schools website at coventryschools.net.

District Details
  • > 300 FTE Teachers
  • 3,000-4,000 Students
  • > 150 Total Support Staff
  • 73.5 Avg % Proficiency

Continued List of School Districts in Rhode Island

RankingSchool DistrictSchoolsTeachersOverall Score
#11 Portsmouth School District417375.36
#12 Johnston School District821275.32
#13 Smithfield School District615875.29
#14 Lincoln School District619674.23
#15 North Smithfield School District411974.2
#16 Cumberland School District923073.09
#17 Providence Public School District401,39472.13
#18 East Providence School District1336870.67
#19 North Providence School District927270.65
#20 West Warwick School District522070.22
#21 Newport School District813069.89
#22 Cranston School District2467769.34
#23 Burrillville School District515867.6
#24 Pawtucket School District1675963.89
#25 Central Falls School District618662.98
#26 Woonsocket Public Schools1033858.23

Data obtained from the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey