If a prospective student or teacher wants to begin teaching in Wyoming, they must become licensed by the state. For most applicants, this will first involve completing a degree in a qualifying education program. These programs are available throughout the country. Depending on an applicant's desired teaching area and the location of their education program, they may also need to pass one or more standardized exams. There are also several other more minor requirements applicants must complete, in addition to submitting an application packet, and we will cover these in detail here.
Wyoming provides successful applicants with an initial teaching license and then adds endorsements to licenses for additional areas the applicant is qualified to teach. The entire licensing process can be a bit lengthy and complex, so if a prospective teacher is interested in teaching in Wyoming, they should become familiar with all of the requirements as soon as possible. Read this guide to learn specifics about each of the licensure application requirements and tips that may prevent surprises along the way.
Wyoming Teacher Certification Programs
The Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB) controls the requirements for licensure in Wyoming. The PTSB has a list of teacher preparation programs approved for meeting Wyoming teaching certificate requirements, both in and out of the state. In particular, the PTSB lists the University of Wyoming's College of Education in Laramie, WY as a recommended teacher preparation program. This school offers a variety of elementary and secondary education majors to fit each student's interests. Specifically, they have accredited programs for both Initial Teacher Preparation and Advanced Preparation.
If an applicant does not see a desired school on the PTSB website, they may apply to any college or university with an accredited teaching program. This accreditation must be given by an accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). A directory of these accredited programs can be found on the CHEA website and narrowed down by an applicant's desired teaching area and school location. By requiring that all teachers in the state of Wyoming have their background in an accredited program, the PTSB can ensure that all educators enter the workforce with a solid foundation of knowledge and experience. If applicants are unsure if their desired program is accredited, they are encouraged to reach out to the program/school directly.
Educational Requirements for Wyoming Teacher Certification
To qualify for a license to teach in Wyoming, an applicant's educational program must meet several requirements. Firstly, their accredited program must incorporate a student teaching component, though no set amount of student teaching hours is required. Secondly, programs must lead to what the PTSB calls an 'Institutional Recommendation.' This recommendation is official paperwork from an applicant's college or university stating that they have completed their education program and are qualified to teach the subject areas covered in it. This recommendation is required for all applicants, even if they have already been teaching in another state. If an Institutional Recommendation cannot be given, applicants must apply for a teaching license in Wyoming via the "Alternative Route" described below.
If an individual is applying for a teaching license from within the state of Wyoming, they may need to complete some testing requirements. All of the tests required by Wyoming State are Praxis Series exams, which are standardized exams offered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Various states across the nation use these tests as requirements for prospective teachers to prove their content knowledge competencies. Each Praxis exam has a specific format, and aspiring teachers can take most tests at locations nationwide. The ETS website has extensive information available for each test, including the content that will be tested, study guides, and sample questions, so be sure to use all available resources when preparing for any applicable exams. Not every applicant in the state of Wyoming will need to take Praxis exams to obtain a teaching license - it all depends on their specific teaching area of interest. More information on specific testing requirements is provided below.
Praxis Wyoming Testing Requirements
In determining if applicants need to meet Wyoming Praxis Test requirements, they should consider what grade level and subject they would like to teach. To earn an initial teaching license, applicants will only need a Praxis exam if they plan to teach at the elementary school level or Social Studies at any grade level. Other than these, applicants will only need a passing Praxis score if they plan to teach in Early Childhood or Special Education. If an applicant wishes to be certified in another subject area and does not have an Institutional Recommendation for it, they may take a Praxis II Subject Assessment to prove competency and become licensed in that area. A full list of the tests offered for this purpose can be found on the Praxis exam website under Wyoming's Testing Requirements. If an applicant is using this route to prove they have content knowledge, they must fill out a "Demonstration of Competency" application in addition to their other application materials.
If an applicant wishes for their license to be endorsed in an area that they do not have an Institutional Recommendation and requires a Demonstration of Competency, there are several rules and requirements they must adhere to in addition to taking another Praxis test:
The Demonstration of Competency can only be used to add an endorsement at the grade level for which the applicant is already licensed
The applicant must have completed 27 course hours, nine of which must have been completed in the past five years, from an accredited institution in the subject area in which they wish to prove competency
All courses must be passed with a grade of "C" or higher, with a maximum of six credit hours being pass/fail (where "pass" indicates an equivalent grade of "C" or higher)
A maximum of three course hours (though there need not be any) may be in pedagogical courses for the grade level at which the applicant is already licensed
Additional Requirements for Wyoming Teacher Certification
In addition to the above educational and Praxis test requirements, applicants will also have to go through a background check and submit two fingerprint cards. Applicants will have to request a fingerprint packet from the Wyoming PTSB, and upon receiving their packet with the cards in it, they will have them taken at a local fingerprinting location. Upon submitting the fingerprint cards, the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation will initiate a background check.
Applicants will also need to show that they understand both the US and Wyoming State Constitutions. If an applicant took higher education courses that taught this material, they may highlight those courses on their transcript when they submit their documentation. If not, they will need to take two 20 multiple-choice question quizzes to prove their knowledge. Additional quiz details can be found on the PTSB website. Finally, applicants will need to submit an application that confirms their history, experience, and teaching goals.
Wyoming Teacher Certification Application Steps
All applications, including those to obtain an initial license, add an endorsement to an existing license, or demonstrate a competency, are available on the PTSB website. Candidates may send applications to the PTSB via email, mail, or fax. Once they are received, applicants will receive an invoice that they must pay for their application to be considered. The cost will depend on the type and number of submitted applications.
Once a complete application has been received, it will take four to six weeks for it to be processed. If an application is submitted during the summer, it may take six to eight weeks. Applicants must submit all their required documentation at once. Otherwise, their application may be marked incomplete and could experience delays in processing.
Alternative Wyoming Teaching Certificate Requirements
If an applicant is licensed to teach in another state and does not wish to or does not meet the requirements for the traditional process for Wyoming teacher certification, they may apply for a teaching license through what Wyoming State calls the "Alternative Route to Licensing".
To meet the Alternative Route requirements, applicants must have taught in a state they are licensed in for at least three of the last six years. They must show all evidence of their full-time work experience in a school, such as evidence of teaching or administrative duties, from the last ten years, not including student teaching. They must also provide their teaching license from the state they are currently teaching in, and proof of passing either Wyoming testing requirements or the testing requirements from their current state. Alternative Route applicants must also provide the additional application requirements (ex. fingerprinting and constitutional knowledge) that the traditional application requires.
If an applicant is currently in the process of obtaining all of their required application components, but have not yet completed them, they may apply for an Exception Authorization, which allows them to work in a particular job in a Wyoming school district for one year. These exceptions may be granted because an applicant has not passed their required testing or completed all their required coursework despite having a teaching degree. It may also happen for educators holding a specific position for which they do not have a license (e.g., a School Counselor position) and several other scenarios. If an applicant wishes to apply for an Exception Authorization, they will have to fill out a special application that pertains to their scenario. If approved, the applicant will have one year to complete their requirements and must stay at their current job position in the interim.
Wyoming Teacher Certification for Out-of-State Teachers
For out-of-state applicants who did not complete their education in Wyoming but are looking to begin teaching in Wyoming, their situations may fall under the traditional application scheme or the Alternative Route. The Alternative Route requirements are those listed in the section above. Via the traditional route, applicants must meet all of the same requirements that in-state applicants need, but they must also be eligible for a teaching license in the state they are currently in. If an applicant is from New York, for example, they must take all the exams required of them if they were applying to be a teacher in New York and complete any additional requirements that New York State may have that Wyoming does not. Note that applicants will not need to then take the required exams for Wyoming if the two states' requirements differ, but they must complete all other Wyoming-specific requirements.
If an applicant already has a license from another state and wishes to gain a teaching license from Wyoming, their applications fall under the National Association of State Directors of Teaching Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement on Reciprocity. Under this agreement, licensed teachers from all states may be granted their teaching license in Wyoming, provided that they attended an accredited education program that required student teaching and passed the required tests for their state. The full text of this agreement is available on the NASDTEC website.
Wyoming Teacher Professional Development & Advancement
There are ample opportunities for those teaching in Wyoming State to grow their teaching skills. Many of these opportunities are Professional Development Workshops, where attendees will learn particular skills, use certain educational tools and programs, or focus on improving outcomes in their classrooms. Workshops that PTSB approves can earn attendees credits that they may use for renewing their teaching license. The number of credits earned depends on how long the workshop is. PTSB has many workshop options listed on their website. These listed workshops are pre-approved to earn attendees credits for their licenses. If an individual attends a non-approved workshop, it may count for renewal credits, but they will have to send a request to PTSB and wait for approval or rejection. In addition, if an individual's organization is interested in hosting a workshop, they may also receive license renewal credit for their hosting duties if their workshop request is approved. Individuals who wish to see the status of their workshop credits and how many they need for renewal may do so in their PTSB online account.
Wyoming Teacher Employment Outlook & Salary
There are about 7,350 public school educators currently teaching in Wyoming throughout the state's 364 public schools. There are fewer than 100,000 students in the state and the teacher-to-student ratio is around 13:1. The average salary for teachers in all grade levels is just under $63,000, though the starting salary is a bit lower at just over $60,000.
Job opportunities within the public school system are available to view on the Wyoming School Boards Association website. Teaching positions are broken into different subject and grade level categories on this site, and there are currently about 100 openings, though this number will obviously change quite frequently. Given that teachers, especially for higher grade levels, often have to specialize in particular subjects, this means that the job market for teachers in Wyoming is a bit competitive.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is student teaching in Wyoming?
The PTSB simply requires that student teaching be a part of an applicant's training, but does not specify how many hours of student teaching need to be included in said training. Many of the accredited programs that PTSB recommends will include multiple years of student teaching.
How do you become a substitute teacher in Wyoming?
There are several ways to become a substitute teacher in Wyoming, all of which involve obtaining a permit. For a typical substitute teacher permit, an applicant may either complete 60 teaching hours from an accredited university or complete 54 in-school training and observation hours, in addition to other application requirements. If an applicant is a licensed, retired teacher, they may apply for a Lifetime Substitute Teacher Permit instead.
How long does it take to become a teacher in Wyoming?
There is no set length of time it takes to become a teacher in Wyoming. The accredited education programs typically required usually take four years to complete. If the needed testing and other requirements are met concurrently with the educational requirements, graduates may be able to apply for licensure as soon as their program is complete.