How to Become a Teacher in Louisiana
To embark on a teaching career in Louisiana, you’ll need to obtain state certification. The certification process consists of four major steps:
- Meeting the state’s educational background requirements as well as those for a state-approved educator preparation program
- Completing a program, including a teaching residency
- Passing the appropriate exams for your desired teaching position
- Applying for your certificate and participating in a background check
As a Louisiana teacher, you can expect to initially make about $52,660 (the median salary for new teachers). However, the demand for teachers is so high that recently the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) increased K-12 education funding statewide.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through each step and point you to useful resources to make your journey to Louisiana teacher certification smoother.
Get Your Louisiana Teacher Certification
As mentioned, to get your Louisiana 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 to Become a Teacher in Louisiana
Louisiana 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 Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the Department of Education Louisiana Believes site.
Educational background requirements will be set by the state-approved educator preparation program you select. You have the choice of enrolling in a university program or taking the shorter options of a post-baccalaureate program or an alternative certification program.
If you opt for either a post-baccalaureate or an alternative certification program, candidates for Louisiana Alternative Teacher Certification must have a minimum of a 2.2 GPA for acceptance and pass the same exams as traditional-pathway educators, the Praxis basic skills test and Praxis content-area exams. These exams are typically taken prior to applying to an alternative teacher preparation program.
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 field work. 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 one-year probationary certificate known as the temporary authority to teach (TAT) certification, pay an application fee, and undergo a criminal background check. You’ll create a Teach LA Live account for this application process. The TAT certificate is valid for one calendar year and can be renewed twice provided the educator has fulfilled the requirements.
Pass Required Tests to Become a Teacher in Louisiana
To demonstrate your grasp of educational theory and pedagogical best practices, you will have to take the Principles of Learning (PLT) test from the Louisiana PRAXIS exam series. You must also take the appropriate PRAXIS content area test(s) to confirm that you understand the content area(s) you want to teach. Once you’re a certified teacher, you can take more PRAXIS exams. This will expand the number of content areas in which you’re eligible to teach. Login to ETS to register for the appropriate test(s) required for Louisiana licensure.
Submit Your Certification Application to Become a Teacher in Louisiana
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 Teach LA Live account account. The Louisiana Department of Education will perform a national criminal background check, which includes fingerprinting, as part of the process.
The Louisiana Department of Education issues a standard certificate, but you won’t receive a paper copy. Instead, Teach Louisiana will post a virtual certificate to your online account as the official record of your certification as a Louisiana educator. Potential employers will search for that virtual certificate via Teach Louisiana’s Certificate Lookup tool.
Teaching Careers in Louisiana
A high demand for teachers makes Louisiana an appealing place to start a teaching career. While the median starting salary for teachers is $52,660, the state has devoted a significant amount of funds to supporting school systems’ strategic compensation models. According to the 2022 – 2023 US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Areas tool, teachers in the following subject/content areas are in especially high demand in Louisiana:
- English as a Second Language
- World Languages
- Special Education
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 Louisiana Success Guide for more information. Good luck!
Frequently Asked Questions about Alternative Teacher Certification
How do I get a teaching certification in Louisiana?
To get a Louisiana teaching certification, you will need to meet educational background requirements, complete an educator preparation program, pass state-required tests, submit an application to the Louisiana Department of Education, and undergo a background check.
First, you must hold 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 Louisiana Department of Education via Teach Louisiana.
Your fourth step will be completing an online application and going through a background check, including fingerprinting. The Louisiana Department of Education Teach Louisiana portal will issue a virtual standard certificate for you, which potential employers can find online.
How long does it take to get teacher certification in Louisiana?
If you have a bachelor’s degree, you can earn your certification in 12-18 months by completing a post-baccalaureate or alternative certification program. If you don’t have a degree, you should enroll in a university program so that you can obtain your degree while also completing an educator preparation program. That process usually takes about five years.
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 Louisiana?
For a prospective teacher with a bachelor’s degree, the fastest way to become a teacher in Louisiana is through an alternative certification program.
Can you become a teacher in Louisiana without a degree in education?
Yes. If you have a bachelor’s degree that is not in education, you can become a teacher in Texas by completing an alternative teacher certification program.
In lieu of a degree in education, you can become a teacher in Louisiana by enrolling in an alternative certification program. Louisiana requires alternative certification programs to identify the content area (subject) enrollees will pursue for certification. 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 PRAXIS certification test in a different content area.
How long does my teacher certification last in Louisiana?
Your certification last approximately three years. Louisiana has different tiers of certification. The length of certification depends on which you obtain. A Level 1 Professional Certificate is valid for three years and the first certification a new licensed teacher acquires. Teachers must graduate or complete a State-approved teacher preparation program (traditional or alternative path with 2.5 GPA), pass all required PRAXIS exams for area of certification, and be recommended by a university or private provider to receive a Level 1 Professional Certificate.
How do I renew my teacher certification in Louisiana?
To renew your Louisiana teacher certification, you must complete 150 clock hours (CLU) of professional development and submit an online application. You can find the application for renewal here.
Can I teach in Louisiana without certification?
You can teach in Louisiana without certification. You must apply for a one-year probationary certificate known as the temporary authority to teach (TAT) certification. This certification can be renewed for an additional two years.
Can I take more than a year to complete a Louisiana alternative teacher certification program?
You can take more than a year to complete most Louisiana alternative teacher certification programs if the need arises. 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 Louisiana if I have a teacher certificate from another state?
If you have a standard, renewable certificate from another state, you may apply for Louisiana teaching certification by submitting a request to review your credentials to the Louisiana Department of Education. Your certificate does not need to be currently valid, but it must have been a standard-level certificate when it was issued. The Department of Louisiana has created a detailed out-of-state certification application.