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How to Become a
Teacher in Indiana

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How to Become a Teacher in Indiana

To embark on a teaching career in Indiana, you’ll need to obtain state certification. The certification process consists of four major steps: 

  1. Meeting the state’s educational background requirements as well as those for a state-approved educator preparation program
  2. Completing a program, including a teaching residency
  3. Passing the appropriate exams for your desired teaching position
  4. Applying for your certificate and participating in a background check

As an Indiana teacher, you can expect to initially make about $56,609 (the average starting salary for new teachers). In this guide, we’ll walk you through each step and point you to useful resources to make your journey to Indiana teacher certification smoother.

Get Your Indiana Teacher Certification

As mentioned, to get your Indiana teaching certification, you must meet educational requirements, complete an educator preparation program, and pass the required tests. You’ll need to consider a few factors as you go through each of these steps.

Meet Educational Background Requirements

Indiana requires most teaching applicants to have a bachelor’s degree in any subject from an accredited college or university. If you’re unsure whether the institution you attended is accredited, you can search for it at the Indiana Department of Education website. 

The state-approved educator preparation program you select sets the educational background requirements. You can enroll in a university program or take the shorter options of a post-baccalaureate program or an alternative certification program.

Opt for either a post-baccalaureate or an alternative certification program. Candidates for Indiana Alternative Teacher Certification must have a minimum of a 2.5 GPA for acceptance and pass the same exams as traditional pathway educators, the required Praxis exams in Indiana. Before registering for an exam, programs recommend that applicants review the requirements for approved subject areas and endorsement they are seeking.  There are several ways to meet exam requirements for both the professional knowledge or subject knowledge exams.

Complete an Educator Preparation Program

If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, a university program gives you the opportunity to earn one while also fulfilling your educator preparation program requirements. You’ll have to go through a four-year degree program, take courses in the specific content areas you’ll need for your certification, and do one year of fieldwork. While completion time will vary from person to person, this certification route generally takes about five years. 

Completing an alternative certification or post-baccalaureate program will take significantly less time since you won’t have to earn credits for a degree. You usually will be able to complete the program’s coursework alongside the required two semesters of field experience. That means you will usually complete the program within a year. 

Another benefit of alternative certification or post-baccalaureate programs is that they’re likely to offer paid internships. Some alternative certification programs offer an unpaid clinical teaching placement that’s shorter in duration than the internship. In all cases (including university programs), once you are eligible for your teaching residency and you secure a teaching position, you must apply online for a teacher license, pay an application fee, submit your transcripts, and undergo a criminal background check. Application steps for your teacher certification or an emergency substitute license can be found here. 

Pass Required Tests to Become a Teacher in Indiana

To demonstrate your grasp of educational theory and pedagogical best practices, you will have to take a Praxis Core Skills Exam for Educators (Core), Principles of Learning and Teaching Assessment (PLT) for the grade level you are interested in instructing, and your Praxis Subject Assessments for the subject areas you are interested in teaching. You will create an account and register for your tests on the ETS Praxis website. 

Submit Your Certification Application to Become a Teacher in Indiana

Your educator preparation program must recommend you for certification before you can apply. Once they do, you can complete the application form and pay the fee via your online LVIS account. The Indiana Department of Education will perform a national criminal background check, which includes fingerprinting, as part of the process. 

The Indiana Department of Education issues a standard certificate, but you won’t receive a paper copy. Instead, the Indiana Department of Education will post a virtual certificate to your online account as the official record of your certification as a Indiana educator. Potential employers will search for that virtual certificate via the Indiana LVIS Educator certificate lookup tool. 

Teaching Careers in Indiana

A high demand for teachers makes Indiana an appealing place to start a teaching career. While the average starting salary for teachers is $56,609, the state has devoted a significant amount of funds to supporting school systems’ strategic compensation models. According to the U.S. Department of Education data from the 2022-2023 school year, Indiana struggles with shortages in the following areas: special education, science, language arts, and mathematics.

Hopefully, you now have the information you need to begin your journey toward a satisfying new career. If the alternative certification option sounds right for you, download our Indiana Certification Guide for more information. Good luck! 

Frequently Asked Questions about Alternative Teacher Certification

How do I get a teaching certification in Indiana?

To get an Indiana teaching certification in Indiana, you will need to meet educational background requirements, complete an educator preparation program, pass state-required tests, be recommended to the Indiana Department of Education, and undergo a background check.

You must go through four steps. First, you’ll have to meet the educational background requirements set by the state and by the educator preparation program you select. One of those prerequisites will be a bachelor’s degree. Second, you must complete your educator preparation program, which will involve a mix of coursework and field experience. Third, you must pass all the tests required to confirm your teaching capabilities. Once you have completed all the program requirements and passed the tests, your program will send a recommendation for your certification to the Indiana Department of Education.

Your fourth step will be completing an online application and going through a background check, including fingerprinting. Also, the Indiana Department of Education will issue a virtual standard certificate for you, which potential employers can find online.

How long does it take to get teacher certification in Indiana?

If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can earn certification in 12-18 months by completing an educator preparation program. It takes about five years on average to become a certified teacher in Indiana if you don’t have a degree, which includes the time is takes to obtain your degree while also completing an educator preparation program. 

If you already have a degree, you can opt for a post-baccalaureate or alternative certification program. You can usually complete a post-baccalaureate or alternative certification program in 12-16 months.

What is the fastest way to become a teacher in Indiana?

For a prospective teacher with a bachelor’s degree, the fastest way to become a teacher in Indiana is through an alternative certification program. 

Can you become a teacher in Indiana without a degree in education?

Yes. If you have a bachelor’s degree that is not in education, you can become a teacher in Indiana by completing an alternative teacher certification program. Indiana requires alternative certification programs to identify the content area (subject) enrollees will pursue for certification. Also, if your degree directly relates to a certification field, the program will identify that field as your content area. But once you’re enrolled, you have the option of taking a certification test in a different content area.

How long does my teacher certification last in Indiana?

Your standard certificate is valid for ten years and is renewable. Indiana has different tiers of certification. The length of certification depends on which you obtain. For more information, see the Indiana Department of Education Renewal Process.  

How do I renew my teacher certification in Indiana?

To renew your Indiana teacher certification, visit the Indiana Department of Education’s website. The website provides detailed information about the types of certifications and renewal requirements here. 

Can I teach in Indiana without certification?

No, you must have a certification to teach in Indiana. 

Can I take more than a year to complete a Indiana alternative teacher certification program?

You can take more than a year to complete most Indiana alternative teacher certification programs if the need arises. In addition, they will often even extend your probationary certificate for up to two years. Your educator preparation program can advise you regarding the possibility of an extension.

How do I get approved to teach in Indiana if I have a teaching certificate from another state?

If you have a standard, renewable certificate from another state, you may apply for Indiana teacher certification by submitting a review of your credentials to the Indiana Department of Education. In addition, your certificate does not need to be currently valid, but it must have been a standard-level certificate when it was issued. The Indiana Department of Education has created a detailed out-of-state reciprocity resource.

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