Idaho Teacher Certification Guide


How to Become a Teacher in Idaho

Home to parts of Yellowstone National Park and stretches of the Rocky Mountain range, Idaho is a state full of natural wonders for prospective educators to explore. Whether an individual is Idaho-educated, certified in another state, or pursuing alternative options, there is a pathway to an Idaho teacher certification for everyone. All Idaho educators must attain at least a bachelor's degree to become certified. Most educators will then complete an approved teacher preparation program (either in-state or out-of-state). However, some prospective teachers might earn their certification through the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) or through Teach for America (TFA), especially those who completed a degree in a field other than education. Depending on the particular pathway a person takes, there may also be state testing requirements that must also be completed before the candidate is eligible to apply for certification. These requirements help ensure that all Idaho teachers possess the skills necessary to successfully educate at the K-12 levels. We will cover all of this in greater detail here.

Idaho Teacher Certification Preparation Programs

The most common route to earning an Idaho teacher certification begins with getting an undergraduate degree. All Idaho educators must hold at least a bachelor's degree, so this first step is vital. Candidates will then need to participate in one of the available Idaho teacher certification programs. Most teacher preparation programs are part of a college or university's education program; these generally require specific coursework, assessments, and fieldwork such as internships or student teaching. Below is a list of Idaho colleges/universities that offer approved Idaho teacher preparation programs at the undergraduate and/or graduate levels:

  • Boise State University
  • Idaho State University
  • Northwest Nazarene University
  • Brigham Young University
  • College of Idaho
  • Lewis-Clark State College

As of 2019, the Idaho State Board of Education (SBOE) requires all higher education institutions with teacher preparation programs to adhere to a strict set of guidelines as stated in a newly published Performance Measure Rubric. The rubric helps assessors determine whether each school achieves key outcomes in student learning, surveys, and employment. It also helps ensure that all necessary factors for an effective teacher preparation program are met. Thus, candidates can be sure that they are enrolling in an institution that will aptly prepare them for a career in teaching.

Idaho Teacher Requirements for Education

As mentioned above, the minimum degree requirement for a teaching license in Idaho is a bachelor's degree. Whether the degree is in education or another subject unrelated to education will help determine which teacher preparation pathway an individual will take. The institution awarding the baccalaureate degree and the institution running the teacher preparation program must be regionally accredited and accredited through the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Idaho teacher requirements necessitate that teaching license candidates complete relevant coursework in teaching during their preparation program, pass the state-required assessments, and complete fieldwork in teaching. This may take the form of an internship, externship, or student teaching.

Idaho Praxis Exams for Certification

Unlike many other state departments of education, the Idaho SDOE does not require prospective teachers to take the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam to get a teaching certificate in Idaho. However, it should be noted that many institutions require Praxis passing scores for admission into their teaching programs, so candidates may end up taking the Core tests during the certification process regardless. To get a teaching certificate in Idaho, the SDOE only requires that future educators pass the Praxis Subject Assessment(s) that corresponds to the content area and grade level they intend to teach. In some cases, candidates who have passed exams that assess similar content to the Subject Assessment test may be eligible to waive the Idaho Praxis requirement. Conversely, some situations may necessitate additional testing. While rare, some situations may require individuals to complete additional literacy or technological proficiency exams. Some educators may also opt to complete further testing to acquire additional teaching endorsements. Additional testing may also be required for certification renewal in certain situations.

Other Idaho Teacher Certification Requirements

Among the many Idaho teacher requirements is the state-mandated background check process. Any individual who wishes to teach in Idaho must undergo fingerprinting and pass a Background Information Check (BIC). Prospective educators who have completed a BIC within the last three years to receive their student teaching placement do not need to complete an additional BIC and can submit that documentation when applying for certification.

Application Process for Idaho Teacher Certification

To apply for an Idaho teach certification, candidates must first do the following:

  • Obtain at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Complete an approved teacher preparation program
  • Pass the appropriate Praxis tests for teachers
  • Undergo fingerprinting and a background check

Once these steps have been completed, candidates must compile their application packet to be mailed to the State Department of Education. The packet should include:

  • A completed application form.
  • Official transcripts.
  • Praxis Subject Assessment score sheet.
  • BIC documentation.
  • A completed institutional recommendation form.

Payment for the $75 non-refundable application fee can be made via check or money order or by cash if paid in person. Applications may take up to 14 weeks to process. Candidates whose application is denied have 30 days from the date of denial to appeal for a hearing.

Idaho Alternative Teacher Certification

While many educators take the traditional route to obtain their certification, several Idaho alternative teacher certification options are available to individuals considering a new career in teaching. Many of these non-traditional options also require less time and money than a traditional program might. The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE), for example, offers prospective teachers an online program that they can complete at their own pace.

Future educators may also consider the Teach for America (TFA) program, which takes two years to complete and involves a summer training program, coursework completed at Boise State University, and work with a mentor.

The College of Southern Idaho (CSI) and Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC) also offer alternative specialty programs in which each participant works with a mentor and with the school to create an Individualized Learning Plan (ILP) to acquire the necessary skills and pedagogical knowledge necessary to pass the Idaho Common Summative Assessment at the conclusion of their program. The specific requirements and program plans vary from institution to institution.

It is important for candidates for any of these alternative certification routes to note that they will still be required to hold at least a bachelor's degree to participate in these programs and obtain certification.

Idaho Teacher Certification for Out-of-State Teachers

Individuals who hold a valid teaching license in another state can still pursue employment as an educator in Idaho through Idaho teaching certificate reciprocity. While the state does not offer full reciprocity for out-of-state teachers, Idaho is part of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), along with 46 other US states. Some candidates may require additional testing, but not all. Likewise, some candidates may be required to complete additional coursework before they are granted their Standard Certificate. Idaho offers these candidates a one-time Interim Certificate that is valid for three years to allow adequate time to complete the source requirements.

Advancement & Professional Development for Idaho Educators

Teachers in Idaho are required to apply for certificate renewal every five years. The renewal process is similar to the initial application process, except that candidates are required to provide proof that they have completed at least six semester credits of professional development that are:

  • Relevant to developing the role and skills of an educator
  • Within the general content area in which the educator is currently certified
  • Focused on policies, procedures, and practices that most effectively support student learning

In many cases, educators can substitute up to three semester credits with hours spent working in an Idaho school, with 15 contract hours equating to 1 semester credit hour, per the Idaho SDOE. As with the initial application process, candidates should anticipate up to 14 weeks of processing time. Once the application has been processed and paid, candidates can expect their new certificate to be mailed in 2-3 weeks.

Idaho Educator Employment Outlook & Salary

Naturally, any individual considering a career in teaching in Idaho will be interested in knowing what salary they can expect to earn annually, and what employment opportunities they may see once they have obtained their certificate.

Career preparation and statistic site, ONet OnLine forecasts 5-10% job growth for teachers in Idaho between 2020-2030, depending on the subject area and grade level. The site also provides the following data on the average annual salary for teachers in Idaho:

Grade Level Salary
Elementary $60,940
Middle $60,810
Secondary $62,870

Idaho teachers also enjoy several additional benefits in their employment contracts, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid vacation time. Prospective educators should also consider whether they wish to pursue a teaching position at a public or private school, given that the demographics vary for each type of institution (See chart below).

Public Schools Private Schools
Number of Schools 719 143
Number of Students 284,834 17,626
Student:Teacher Ratio 18:1 13:1
% Non-White Students 22% 13%

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What score do you need to pass the Praxis in Idaho?

    To become a teacher in Idaho, candidates must take and pass the Praxis II subject exam related to their intended content area and grade level. The passing score for each exam varies, but more information is available to candidates on the ETS Praxis website.

  • Is a California teaching credential valid in Idaho?

    Individuals who hold a valid teaching license in California can apply for certification in Idaho. While Idaho does not offer full reciprocity, both states are members of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for license reciprocity. Candidates applying for an Idaho teaching certificate from California may be required to complete additional coursework while working with an Interim Certificate for 3 years.

  • How long does it take to be a teacher in Idaho?

    The length of time needed to obtain a teacher certification in Idaho depends on which pathway and individual takes to earn this licensure. Traditional programs through a college or university tend to take slightly longer, while some alternative programs can be completed in as little as two years. Self-paced online options also exist for candidates who require more flexibility.