How to Become a Teacher in Nebraska
Becoming a teacher in the great state of Nebraska will prove to be one of the most rewarding things you do in your life. Following the steps in this guide will show you exactly how to get there.
Here are some of the steps you will need to take in order to become an educator in Nebraska.
Choose What You Want to Teach
You will first need to choose what type of teacher you want to become. What do you want to teach? If you prefer to teach multiple subjects, then becoming an elementary school teacher is the right path for you. Do you have a background in a specific subject and a passion for teaching it? If so, you should consider teaching middle school or high school where you'll earn a content area endorsement in addition to your teaching certificate.
In all cases, your teaching certification and any additional endorsement you might earn will be issued through the Nebraska Department of Education.
Earn a Bachelor's in Education to Meet the Requirements for a Teaching Certificate in Nebraska
In Nebraska, the basic education requirements for becoming a certified teacher are obtaining a bachelor's degree and completing a teacher education program. In order to get proper endorsement, the teacher education program should focus on the area you would like to teach. This means that teachers must be professionally trained through an approved educator preparation program to teach in one specialty subject or a certain range of grade levels. Each endorsement requires specific coursework. In addition to the coursework, teaching candidates in Nebraska are required to take a course on human relations.
Complete a Teacher Preparation Program
In order to get an endorsement in Elementary Education, you will need to complete specified coursework. Some of the classes you will take may include: elementary curriculum, instructional strategies, child development, cross-cultural communication skills, classroom management, and education history. In addition, you will take methods courses in English language arts, mathematics, history/social studies, and science. Lastly, you will have the option to take elective courses such as fine arts, humanities, and health and wellness.
To get an endorsement to teach the Middle Grades (4th - 9th) in Nebraska, you will need to complete semester hours/units dedicated to middle level education courses. In addition, you will need to take courses dedicated to two or more Content Areas of Specialization. Each Content Area of Specialization will require a certain amount of units.
If you would like an endorsement in Music (K-12th), you will need to complete courses in composition, conducting, theory, music history and literature, performance, and techniques.
In order to get an endorsement in Secondary Language Arts (7th-12th), you will need to complete courses in the following: writing, reading, speech, journalism, and mass communications.
To become endorsed as a Secondary History teacher (7th-12th), you must complete a specified amount of semester units. You will take several history courses and some in one or more of the following areas: geography, psychology, economics, or political science.
An endorsement in Secondary Mathematics (7th-12th) will require that you take related mathematics courses.
To get an endorsement to teach Secondary Natural Science (7th-12th) you will complete several laboratory based courses in the natural sciences including biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics.
Alternative Teacher Certification in Nebraska
There are alternative routes to teacher certification in Nebraska designed for individuals who have not completed a traditional educator training program.
Teaching Certificate From Another State
If you hold valid teaching certification from another state, you may be able to transfer your certificate to Nebraska. The Nebraska Department of Education may request additional state requirements.
Provisional Commitment Teaching Certificate
If you have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution but have not yet completed all of the traditional education program requirements, a school may request a Provisional Commitment Teaching Certificate. This is a provisional certificate as it is only valid for one year and only applies to the school that requested the issuance. However, if you show progress toward full certification, this provisional certificate can be renewed.
Pass the Required Tests for Nebraska
The next step to becoming a teacher in Nebraska is to pass certain tests. You will have to pass a basic skills test that will assess your knowledge on fundamental areas of teaching. You will also need to pass a subject area competence test.
In Nebraska, the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests are the approved Basic Skills test for teacher credentialing. Passing scores must be achieved in Reading, Writing and Mathematics.
Candidates applying for any initial endorsement(s) in Nebraska will need to pass the Praxis II subject matter competence test as well. This test should be taken in the area you want to become certified in as it will be used to verify your content knowledge. The test includes three portions: subject assessment, principles of learning and teaching, as well as a teaching foundations test.
Apply for your Nebraska Teacher Certification
The Nebraska Department of Education requires certain documents to be submitted and approved before teaching in the state:
- Completed application form
- Documentation to support the application, including official college transcript(s) from every college or university you have attended
- Non-refundable application fee
- Endorsement by completion of teacher education program
- Proof of passing status on all required exams
- Copies of any teaching certificates you have, if applicable
- Clear status of fingerprints and background check
Nebraska Department of Education
301 Centennial Mall South
P.O. Box 94987
Find a Teaching Job in Nebraska
The last and final step for you now is to simply find a great job! Once you have met all the requirements to becoming a certified teacher, you will be ready to begin your career as a teacher. There are so many great schools in Nebraska, therefore the sky's the limit for you and your career!
The state of Nebraska has mounted an active campaign to ensure that it continues to have a pool of qualified teachers to hire from. In this vein, the state Department of Education has created an auxiliary website at nebraskaeducationjobs.com in order to help match potential candidates with employers. The site also contains information about teacher certification, job fairs in the state, and relevant online resources.
In the public sector, after a teacher has been hired, he or she may join the local teacher's union. In Nebraska, teachers join the National Education Association (NEA) or the Nebraska State Education Association (NSEA). Both organizations are advocates for teacher rights from labor and legal perspectives.
Upon retirement, teachers are eligible to draw a pension from the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement Systems (NPERS). In addition to offering a monthly allowance based on individual factors, NPERS offers survivor benefits, planning seminars, and disability benefits.
Employment in the public sector is not for everyone. Some teachers may prefer and benefit from working in a private school environment. Nebraska's has over 230 private schools. Keep in mind that salary, benefits, and career advancement may be different than schools in the public sector.
Teacher Shortage in Nebraska by Subjects or Discipline (2021-2022)
The following list of teacher shortage areas in Nebraska has been obtained from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education, Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) report for the 2021-2022 school year:
- Art PreK-12
- Music PreK-12
- Career Clusters PreK-12
- Special Education PreK-12
- Language Arts PreK-12
- World Languages, any world language PreK-12
- ESOL PreK-12
- Mathematics PreK-12
- Health and Physical Fitness PreK-12
- ESOL, Bilingual Education PreK-12
- Science PreK-12
Number of Public and Private School Teachers By Grade
The following Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) table highlights the number of teachers in Nebraska in both private and public schools, by grade level, as of May 2020:
|Grade Level||Number of Teachers|
|Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education||1,810|
|Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education||9,020|
|Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||4,070|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||6,320|
|Special Education Teachers, Preschool||130|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||1,500|
|Special Education Teachers, Middle School||660|
|Special Education Teachers, Secondary School||870|
Continue Your Education and Professional Development
Professional development with the goals of student achievement and collaborative leadership ensures that teachers continue to improve their practice on an ongoing basis. There are a number of platforms and venues for effective professional development including conferences, in-services, webinars, and courses.
When researching professional development options, teachers should ensure that they clearly understand their district's goals for educators, and that offerings are relevant to the needs of the classroom and school.
Professional Development in Nebraska
The State Department of Education in Nebraska is committed to ensuring that teachers have learning opportunities that meet the above mentioned needs. Through a variety of organizations and agencies, both in the state and online, Nebraska teachers can find offerings that suit their needs. Some universities in the state, like the University of Nebraska, have partnered with the Department of Education to create professional development offerings. Finally, organizations like Nebraska's Lied Center offers opportunities to participate in professional development throughout the year. Teachers are encouraged to use these and other resources to find high-quality professional development that suits their needs.
Earn a Master's in Teaching or Education to Achieve a Professional Teaching Certificate and Higher Salary
The Nebraska Department of Education acknowledges educators who have earned a master's by offering the optional Professional Teaching Certificate.
Your Initial Teaching Certificate is valid for a period of five years, during which time you must complete at least two years of teaching experience. You'll then advance to a five-year, renewable Standard Teaching Certificate.
However, earn your master's degree and you'll qualify to advance to the optional 10-year Professional Teaching Certificate. You'll need at least two years of teaching experience and a master's degree in special education, educational technology, curriculum and instruction, or in an area related to your content area.
There are no continuing education requirements for renewing your Standard or Professional Teaching Certificate if you meet the teaching experience requirements.
Earning a Master's in Teaching or Education Means Bringing Home a Higher Salary
In addition to broadening your skillset, qualifying for more professional opportunities, and bringing a higher level of expertise and knowledge to your classroom, a master's degree can also earn you a larger paycheck. According to salary schedules compiled by the Nebraska State Education Association, all public school districts in the state pay more for master's-prepared educators.
For example, educators in the Omaha Public School District earned a minimum salary of $43,000 as of the 2020-2021 school year. However, educators with a master's degree earned a minimum salary of $47,300 - a difference of more than $4,000.
May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics job market trends for elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, secondary school teachers, preschool teachers, teaching assistants, special education preschool teachers, special education elementary school teachers, special education middle school teachers, and special education secondary teachers. Figures represent national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
Data accessed June 2021.