How to Become a Teacher in Kansas

Lesson

How to Become a Teacher in Kansas

There are multiple paths available to become a teacher in Kansas, including both traditional and various alternative options. Kansas separates traditional education licenses into three distinct categories: teaching, leadership, and school specialist. Within those categories, differing levels of licensure may be achieved, depending on education and experience.

For Initial Teaching Licenses, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree from an accredited institution;
  • Completion of an approved educator preparation program;
  • Satisfy recency; and
  • Passing scores on the Praxis PLT exam and relevant subject-matter exam(s).

Initial license holders may upgrade to a Professional license.

For Initial Leadership Licenses, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • A graduate degree from an accredited institution;
  • Completion of a graduate-level leadership program with a 3.25 GPA;
  • Satisfy recency;
  • Passing scores on the relevant leadership exam;
  • Five years of accredited experience with a valid license; and
  • Passing scores on the Praxis educational leadership test.

After completing a year-long performance assessment, Initial leadership license holders may qualify for a Professional license.

For School Specialist Licenses, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • A graduate degree from an accredited institution;
  • Completion of a graduate-level school specialist preparation program with a 3.25 GPA;
  • Satisfy recency;
  • A valid Professional teaching license; and
  • Passing scores on the relevant school specialist exam.

In Kansas alternative teacher certification programs come in many forms, including restricted and substitute teaching licenses, which will be discussed in later on. Whatever path one takes, learning how to get a teaching license in Kansas is a great place to start.

Kansas Teacher Certification Programs

One of the requirements for obtaining a Kansas teaching license is the successful completion of an approved teacher preparedness program from an accredited institution. All programs must adhere to standards established by the Kansas State Department of Education. Accreditation standards are set by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation ("CAEP").

Not all approved institutions offer the full-range of subject-matter endorsement study, nor do all programs offer online opportunities. Programs with less than 10 initial or 5 advanced license study areas are designated "limited." The following educational institutions offer programs which satisfy Kansas teacher certificate requirements:

Institution Name Location Initial Level Advanced Online Study
Baker University Baldwin City, KS Yes Limited No
Barclay College Haviland, KS Limited No No
Benedictine College Atchison, KS Yes Limited No
Bethany College Lindsborg, KS Yes Limited No
Bethel College Newton, KS Yes Limited No
Central Christian College McPherson, KS Limited Limited No
Emporia State University Emporia, KS Yes Yes Yes
Fort Hays State University Hays, KS Yes Yes Yes
Friends University Wichita, KS Yes Limited Yes
Haskell Indian Nations University Lawrence, KS Limited No No
Kansas Independent College Association Topeka, KS No Limited Yes
Kansas State University Manhattan, KS Yes Yes Yes
Kansas Wesleyan University Salina, KS Limited Limited No
McPherson College McPherson,KS Yes Limited No
MidAmerica Nazarene University Olathe, KS Yes Limited Yes
Newman University Wichita, KS Limited Limited Yes
Ottawa University Ottawa, KS Yes Limited Yes
Pittsburg State University Pittsburg, KS Yes Yes Yes
Southwestern College Winfield,KS Yes Limited Yes
Sterling College Sterling, KS Yes Limited Yes
Tabor College Hillsoboro, KS Yes Limited No
University of Kansas Lawrence, KS Yes Yes Yes
University of Saint Mary Leavenworth, KS Limited Limited No
Washburn University Topeka, KS Yes Yes Yes
Wichita State University Wichita, KS Yes Yes Yes

Three notable institutions with a broad range of programs covering a wide spectrum of subject matter and grade level instruction at all levels include Kansas State University, Pittsburg University, and Wichita State University.

Kansas Teacher Certificate Requirements for Education

Traditional Kansas teaching licenses require, at minimum, the successful completion of an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution. Coursework should be specific to the subject area in which an applicant wants to teach. All Kansas teaching licenses also require "recency," meaning completion of coursework and/or relevant experience within a designated time period prior to application. At least 8 credit hours or one year of accredited teaching must completed within six years of application for an initial teaching, leadership, or specialist license. Applicants must also have completed a Kansas-approved teacher preparation program, including hands-on experience, such as student teaching or practicums. The same recency requirements of 8 credit hours or one year of accredited teaching is also one of the accepted requirements for renewal of initial licenses.

Required Tests for a Kansas Teaching License

One of the Kansas teacher certificate requirements involves the successful completion of a Praxis Kansas Principles of Learning and Teaching ("PLT") exam. In order to qualify for a Kansas teaching license, candidates must achieve a passing score on the Praxis core test, as well as on the subject-matter specific exam(s) pertinent to their educator specialty.

Exemptions to the Praxis Kansas exam requirements are available for educators who meet specific experience and license requirements, are licensed in another state with matching out-of-state subject-matter assessments, are certified by the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards ("NBPTS"), or were licensed before May, 1986.

Principles of Learning and Teaching

To obtain a Kansas teaching license, applicants must successful complete one of the core Principles of Learning and Teaching ("PLT") exams. The purpose of the PLT exams is to assess an aspiring educator's knowledge of the pedagogical concepts necessary to teach effectively. The Praxis Kansas PLT exams assesses an applicant's understanding of human development, different learning and instruction processes, the needs of diverse learners, the psychology of teaching, and professionalism. The PLT exams to choose from are:

  • Early Childhood: Two hours long, includes 70 multiple choice questions and 4 essay questions based on two case histories. Passing score is 160.
  • Grades K-6: Same as Early Childhood
  • Grades 5-9: Same as Early Childhood
  • Grades 7-12: Same as Early Childhood
  • Grades PreK-12: Two hours long, includes 100 multiple choice questions. Passing score is 157.

Kansas Praxis Subject Assessments

Praxis Kansas exams for specific subject matters, grade levels, and areas of specialty are required (in addition to the Kansas PLT exam) to obtain a Kansas teaching license. Praxis passing scores on all exams range from the mid-140 to high-160 range. Exams that are subject-matter specific, and generally cross all grade levels, include art, languages, music, and physical education. Specific to secondary education are exams that concentrate in more refined areas, such as agriculture, biology, business, chemistry, history, math, physics, speech, sciences, and technologies. Elementary and middle school subject-matter exams include general areas such as English, history, math, reading, and science, whereas early childhood exams focus specifically on material for ages birth through third grade.

Exams for English as a second language and special education are geared towards those unique teaching skills. Exams for school specialists, such as librarians, counselors, psychologists, or reading specialists are offered, as well as exams for those seeking school leadership licensure as a principal or administrator.

Other Kansas Teacher Certificate Requirements

In order to apply for a Kansas teaching license, applicants must submit fingerprints for a background check. Fingerprints may be submitted at the same time as the teaching application; however, the $50 payment for the background check must be made separately. The following applicants must submit fingerprints as part of Kansas teacher certificate requirements:

  • Those seeking their first teaching license;
  • Those with an expired Kansas license;
  • Those who have never submitted fingerprints as part of the application process; and
  • Out-of-state applicants.

How to Apply for a Kansas Teaching License

Before applying for a Kansas teaching license, applicants should review all Kansas teacher certificate requirements, such as education and experience, to ensure compliance. Applicants should also have submitted fingerprints for a background check. Most applications can be completed online via the Kansas Licensure Application System, https://appspublic.ksde.org/AuthenticationPublic/login.aspx. Different forms and fees apply to each license or endorsement. Fees range from $60 - $85, and if accepted, applicants should expect to have their license within 6-8 weeks.

Kansas Teaching License Renewal

Kansas teaching licenses vary in length, from one-year non-renewable licenses to five-year Professional licenses. Initial licenses are valid for two years and can be renewed with no additional requirements for up to five years from initial issuance. Professional licenses fall into two categories based on the license-holder's level of education. For those holding an undergraduate degree, there are two paths to meet the requirements for renewal:

1. Submit proof of 8 credit hours in an approved program, plus an official undergraduate transcript; or

2. Submit proof of participation in an official professional development program, including 160 professional development points (80 from college credit), plus an official undergraduate transcript.

For those with a graduate degree, there are three paths:

1. Have three years of verified accredited experience during the past five years; or

2. Submit proof of 8 credit hours in an approved program, plus an official graduate transcript; or

3. Submit proof of participation in an official professional development program via official professional development transcript with 120 professional development points.

If applicants want to add a new subject-matter area to their license upon renewal, 8 credit hours spent in the professional development program will be applied to the requirements for adding additional endorsements.

Alternative Paths to Certification for Kansas Teachers

In addition to substitute and restricted teaching licenses, Kansas offers additional alternative licenses for non-traditional educators. Options include the following:

  • Kansas Restricted Teaching License: allowing applicants to teach full-time while completing an approved teacher preparation program in order to qualify for an initial license, this program is designed for mid-career professionals looking for a career change or Heritage language speakers.
    • The following institutions offer approved restricted license programs: Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Pittsburg State University, Southwestern College, and Wichita State University
    • Successful completion of relevant Praxis test(s) and a GPA of 2.75 for the most recent 60 semesters of coursework are additional requirements.
  • Visiting scholar: available in subject areas such as Arabic, Japanese, law, and pre-med, applicants must have two of the following: a graduate degree in the subject matter, extensive experience in the subject matter, or recognized distinction in the subject matter.
  • Career and Technical Education ("CTE") Specialist: available for grades 8 - 12, applicants must have extensive experience, industry credential, and/or occupational competency.
  • STEM: available to applicants with degrees in science, math, engineering, technology, or accounting who have five years of professional employment in their degree area.
  • Kansas Provisional Teaching License: available for grades 7 - 12 educators who have completed 50% of a teacher preparation program in a new subject matter.

Earn a Kansas Substitute Teacher License

The state offers two substitute teaching licenses: an Emergency Substitute Teaching License and a Kansas Standard Substitute Teaching License. Applicants for an emergency substitute teaching license must have completed 60 credit hours from an accredited institution and must have a minimum of an undergraduate degree. Applicants for a standard substitute teaching license also must have completed an approved teacher preparation program with hands-on experience, such as student teaching. Teachers already licensed in Kansas need to meet no additional requirements in order to substitute teach.

Kansas Credentials for Out-of-State Teachers

Teachers from out-of-state may apply for a Kansas teaching license. For Kansas teaching certification out-of-state applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree;
  • Completion of an approved teacher preparation program;
  • Hold a valid teaching license in another state;
  • Satisfy recency; and
  • Passing scores on both Praxis PLT exam and subject-matter exams.

Educators with 3-5 years accredited teaching experience may be exempt from exams, and may qualify for a Professional license.

For leadership licenses, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • A graduate degree;
  • Completion of a graduate-level leadership program with a 3.25 GPA;
  • Hold a valid leadership license in another state;
  • Satisfy recency;
  • Passing scores on the relevant Praxis educational leadership test; and
  • Five years of accredited experience.

Applicants with 3 years of accredited leadership experience may qualify for a Professional license.

For school specialist licenses, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • A graduate degree;
  • Completion of a graduate-level school specialist preparation program with a 3.25 GPA;
  • Hold a valid school specialist license in another state;
  • Satisfy recency; and
  • Passing scores on the relevant school specialist exam.

Applicants with 3 years of accredited school specialist experience may be exempt from exams, and may qualify for a Professional license.

Professional Development & Advancement Opportunities for Kansas Teachers

Professional development plans in Kansas are designed to provide advancement opportunities for educators, while simultaneously creating better learning environments for students. Plans are five years in duration, and include twenty-one components. Each district must ensure educators are provided with educational and advancement opportunities consistent with their established plan. Continuing education, provided through in-service days, mentoring, and other learning methods, offered either individually or within a group, allows educators to meet requirements for renewal of their license at a higher level. The Kansas State Department of Education establishes the criteria necessary for professional development plans.

Kansas Teacher Employment Outlook & Salary

Kansas maintains a 14.3:1 student to teacher ratio in 305 public schools, and a 13:1 student to teacher ratio in 225 private schools (primarily affiliated with a religion). Kansas teacher salaries have historically increased every year, with the average salary for the 2021-2022 academic year in the mid-$50,000 range. New educators can expect earnings in the $30,000 range, whereas experienced teachers can earn upwards of $60,000. Additional benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans, as well as participation in extra-curriculum activities (such as coaching), can add another $6,000 - $8,000 or more to annual compensation. Although Kansas employed 36,000 full-time educators in 2020, they still sought to fill 771 vacancies in public schools. Areas where the need for additional educators is particularly strong include special education, math, elementary education, science, and English.