How to Become a Teacher in Idaho
If you want to find a rewarding career that will allow you to positively impact others, then you want to become a teacher. Educators have the opportunity to influence and change the lives of students. However, you should know that there are certain requirements that need to be met and steps that should be taken in order to become an educator in the state of Idaho.
Choose What You Want to Teach
Would you like to work with middle school students or high school students? Do you like teaching foundational skills at the elementary school level? Do you want to teach children with special needs? The decision is yours. Before you go any further, you should have a good idea of what level or subject you would like to teach. Each specialty area has specific requirements. If you are still not sure, the Idaho State Department of Education has information on students, parents, and schools in the state.
Complete Your Education Requirements for Teaching in Idaho
To become a professional teacher in Idaho, you must obtain at least a Bachelor's degree. You will also need to successfully complete a state board-approved teacher preparation program. The curriculum of the preparation program is specifically based off of what level you choose to teach.
If you do not have a Bachelor's Degree yet, do not worry. Many colleges and universities offer joint or blended Bachelor's Degree and educator preparation programs. These specific programs combine the courses that you will need for a Bachelor's Degree as well as for a teacher preparation program. In other words, blended programs allow individuals to become a teacher faster and more efficiently.
Complete a Teacher Preparation Program
To become a certified teacher in Idaho, you will be expected to complete a teacher preparation program.
Teachers in Idaho are able to prove that they are highly qualified to teach through the completion of a teacher education program. Courses in these programs often focus on differentiated instruction, subject-based teaching methods, classroom management strategies, multiple measures for assessment, pedagogy, and more. Another aspect of the program is fieldwork. You can expect to participate in student teaching and/or interning. As a student teacher, you will have the opportunity to actually experience teaching. Student teachers work in a classroom with a mentor teacher in order to master their skills as a teacher.
If you already have a Bachelor's Degree, you can complete a post-baccalaureate teacher preparation program. This alternative program will take you down the correct path toward earning proper teaching certification. If interested, your school may even have a joint Master's Degree and certificate of teaching program.
Alternative Teacher Certification in Idaho
There are several alternate routes to becoming qualified as a teacher in Idaho. Many of the alternative paths will give you the ability to immediately teach under a Temporary Certificate.
Idaho Provisional Teacher Authorization
In Idaho, Provisional Authorization allows school districts to request an emergency authorization to hire a candidate who is not appropriately certified. However, provisional Authorization usually applies after attempts to hire an appropriately certificated person have failed.
Content Specialist Authorization
Content Specialist Authorization offers an accelerated route to certification for candidates who are highly qualified in a "high needs" subject area. For this authorization, the hiring school district must have an identified need for teachers in that area.
Teacher to New Certification/Endorsement Authorization
Teacher to New Certification/Endorsement Authorization allows an Idaho school district/charter to hire an individual who holds a valid Idaho credential to serve in a position for which the candidate does not hold the applicable certificate/endorsement. For this authorization, the district must show the candidate is otherwise qualified to serve in the position while working toward obtaining the proper certificate/endorsement.
Idaho Interim Teaching Certificate
If you have a license to teach in another state, you may be eligible for certification in Idaho as well through an Idaho Interim Certificate. The State Department of Education is can issue an interim certificate to applicants who already have a valid teaching certificate. This interim certificate can be valid for up to three years.
Pass the Required Tests for Idaho
Certified teacher in Idaho are required to pass a basic skills test, which measures a candidate's skills in basic reading, writing, and math. This exam can be fulfilled by taking the CORE Academic Skills for Educators Test.
Aspiring teachers must also pass a subject knowledge verification exam. The Praxis II exam can be taken to fulfill this requirement. However, it is very important for the candidate to take the test that applies to the specific area of certification. The test includes multiple choice questions as well as well as several essay questions.
Apply for your Idaho Teacher Certification
You will be required by the Department of Education to submit these forms when you apply to become an Idaho educator:
- Completed and signed application form
- Non-refundable $75 application fee
- Completed fingerprint card (if applicable)
- Completed institutional recommendation
- Official Praxis II assessment score
- Official college transcript(s)
- Copies of any teaching certificates you have (if applicable)
- Official statement of status eligibility
- Records of employment (if applicable)
Idaho Department of Education
650 West State Street
PO Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0027
Phone: (800) 432-4601
Find a Teaching Job in Idaho
Once you have completed the above steps, you will be ready to take on the world of education. You will be ready to begin your career and to make an impact on the lives of children in the state of Idaho!
Public School Teaching Jobs in Idaho
The state of Idaho has partnered with idaho.schoolspring.com in order to ensure that the state's students have a pool of qualified educators from which to draw. Given that many subject areas and localities are experiencing a high need for certified teachers, teachers are encouraged to investigate loan forgiveness and grant awards for pursuing a teaching career in designated areas. Upon retirement, teachers draw a pension from the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho (PERSI). All state employees are automatically members by law.
AFT and IEA
Once hired, teachers may become part of the Idaho Federation of Teachers (AFT) or the Idaho Education Association (IEA). Although unions in the state have seen a decline in recent years, the organizations exist to lend a voice to teachers who need advocacy.
Private School Teaching Jobs in Idaho
Teachers may also pursue a career or contract in one of Idaho's 148 private schools. Several of Idaho's private schools have religious affiliations, some are gender-segregated, and some specialize in accelerated learning. Teachers may enjoy a lower student to teacher ratio in such an environment.
Continue your Education and Professional Development
The state of Idaho strongly endorses and support professional development for the state's educators and administrators. Under state guidelines, professional development opportunities are challenging, data-driven, and thought provoking for teachers looking to expand their practice and meet today's student achievement goals. Professional development offers the opportunity for collegial learning.
PDs are differentiated by the experience and needs of teachers and administrators. The state is clear that professional development is meant to occur over time and has a self-reflective components.
Professional Development in Idaho
The state of Idaho has a number of initiatives designed to assist teachers with their professional development. Part of their strategic development is the emphasis of technology in the classroom. There is a push for technology to be both teacher-driven and student-driven. In addition to the state offering professional development courses to support classroom learning, a number of Idaho universities provide relevant teacher professional development opportunities. Among them are Idaho State University and Boise State University. Teachers are encouraged to contact the Department of Education through their school channel, as well as contacting post-secondary institutions in order to stay informed of relevant offerings.
The Benefits of Earning a Master's Degree to Qualify for the Master Educator Credential and Earn a Higher Salary
Idaho is a state that has gotten serious about rewarding teachers for their professionalism and quality in recent years. In 2015, the legislator passed House Bill 296, creating the Master Educator premium program to encourage professional development among Idaho teachers.
The designation has five components teachers are expected to be able to demonstrate in order to qualify:
- Professional Collaboration and Partnership
- Students and Learning Environment
- Content, Instruction, and Assessment
- Professional Growth
Of these, the Professional Growth component may give consideration to whether you are pursuing or have attained a master's degree in the field.
Earning the Master Educator designation is a fast way to boost your salary: you'll get a $4,000 premium per year on top of your normal salary.
The best part of this is that many districts in the state, such as Boise Independent School District, also reward teachers with a master's degree by putting them in a higher salary track. In Boise, that puts you in the Class V lane, which adds another $1,160 per year at Index A. These are cumulative with the Master Educator premium, which really boosts your investment in graduate studies.
Even better, you can use your studies to keep your license current along the way. Idaho requires six semester credits of professional development in order to renew your license (which will expire every five years), at least three of which must be transcripted. In order to apply, those credits must be tied to a content area endorsement recognized by the state, or otherwise related to pedagogical best practices or school leadership.