Learn About Teaching & Licensing in Louisiana
Teaching in Louisiana
A teaching career is one of the most rewarding life paths a person can take. If you have hear the call of the teaching profession, then you are indeed a special person with a lifetime of intangible rewards ahead. Teachers are entrusted with our country’s most precious resource, so teachers must meet certain requirements prior to entering their own classrooms. This isn’t a reason NOT to become a teacher, though. When you take the step-by-step certification process, you will find that it’s not as hard as you used to think.
Louisiana is happy to have you join the ranks of its education professionals if you meet its criteria for teachers. The state offers multiple routes to teacher certification to suit every need, wherever you may be in your career path. Keep reading to learn how to obtain your teacher’s license and get into a classroom of your own to enrich the lives of our state’s youth.
Louisiana has many colleges and universities that offer teacher-preparation programs for undergraduate students. If you have thought about teaching but don’t yet have a bachelor’s degree, this is the most common route to take. Your training will include 180 hours of field experience and one full semester as a student teacher in your own classroom under the helpful guidance of a mentor. Though each program has its own prerequisites, every new teacher will need to fulfill the following requirements:
- Pass both Praxis I and II
- Provide full transcripts for all college-level courses
- Pass a background check and get fingerprinted
- Receive an offer of employment from a Louisiana public school
Alternate Routes to Teacher Certification
Louisiana is happy to recruit non-traditional teachers into its schools, if they meet certain qualifications. If you have been working for a while but are thinking of a career change, the state does not require that you return to school for a full 4-year degree. Rather, it offers three tracks for prospective teachers who have already completed a non-education undergraduate degree. Each of these tracks has its particular strengths, but all include paid classroom experience, an important advantage for working adults.
The three programs are:
- Practitioner Teacher Program: This program is a streamlined track to teaching certification. All candidates must have graduated from a regionally accredited undergrad program with a minimum 2.5 GPA and pass both the Praxis I and II exams.
Once admitted to this program, you will receive a Practitioner License 1 (PL1) certification that is good for one year, but you can renew it for up to three years. During the program, your PL1 will remain in force as long as you are taking a minimum of six semester hours per year. You may also substitute an equivalent number of contact hours. The program will take a maximum of 33 credit hours to complete, with a minimum of 24 for the PK-3 grade levels.
- Master’s Degrees: If you select this route, you will not only receive teacher certification, but you will also have a master’s degree at the end. Teachers often receive a higher salary with a master’s degree, so you might want to consider this route if you want to maximize your pay. Under this program, you will receive a Practitioner License 3 (PL3) that is good for one year. Your PL3 is renewable for up to three years. In order to remain in the program, you must be enrolled for a minimum of nine graduate-level semester hours per year. Completion of your program will typically involve between 33-39 credit hours.
On top of your graduate coursework, the state will require that you pass both Praxis I and II. Take practice tests and supplement your studying with a test-prep course if you have any trouble.
- Certification-Only Alternative Certification Program: This alternative method begins with more coursework and also includes practical classroom experience. While you are studying in preparation for your time in the classroom, you can opt for face-to-face instruction or take courses online. This flexibility is great for people who are balancing a full-time job and children.
Once you have finished your classroom readiness training, you will receive a Practitioner License 2 (PL2) that is valid for one year. You may renew your PL2 for up to three years, as long as you continue taking at least nine semester hours of coursework, and remain enrolled in the Certification-Only Program.
Teaching Careers in Louisiana
Teaching in Louisiana is a rewarding career for thousands of people. Though teaching is sometimes challenging, there is nothing quite like seeing a young person’s eyes light up when they overcome a personal or academic hurdle. And contributing to kids’ success is one of the most satisfying jobs you can have. To find the most up-to-date information on teacher certification, check the Teach Louisiana website, where you’ll find lists of approved teacher-preparation programs and other valuable information.
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