How to Earn a Teaching License in Idaho

If you’ve thought about being a teacher in the state of Idaho, your first step is to earn teacher certification. There are several pathways to doing this, and your options depend upon your level of education and experience.

This guide can help you determine the pathway that’s right for you at any given point in your career. Perhaps you’re just beginning your journey and need to know the basic “first steps” about the certification process. Or maybe you’re already teaching and want to learn how to earn advanced certification or a specialized endorsement, or you’re a teacher looking to move to Idaho and want to understand reciprocity.

You’ll find all that information and more right here. The short video below gives an overview of what to expect as a certified teacher in Idaho.

Idaho Teacher Requirements

If you are a resident or future resident of Idaho, here is the information you need to know to understand how to become a certified teacher in Idaho.

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with important terminology used in Idaho’s teacher certificate documentation.

Credential: Document that lists all certificates and endorsements belonging to the individual.
Certificate: Document which specifies what area and/or grades someone is eligible to teach.
Endorsement: The content or specific area of expertise the individual is approved to instruct or provide specific services.
Revision: Adding a new endorsement or certificate area.

Minimum Education Requirements

In Idaho, all prospective teachers must complete a bachelor’s degree program from an approved accredited institution with a focus on education. In some instances, you can complete an alternate certification if you received your bachelor’s degree in another area of focus besides education. Another aspect of your minimum education requirements to teaching in Idaho is completing your student teaching requirement also known as a teacher preparation program. Read the section below to find out more about the student teaching requirements for the Idaho Department of Education.

Student Teaching

Idaho requires that prospective teachers complete student teaching, also referred to as a teacher preparation program, before graduation or by the time they complete their degree program. However, there are special instances where you do not have to complete a teacher preparation program prior to receiving you degree in Idaho. You will, however, have to apply for an alternative authorization that will be approved by the Professional Standards Commission’s Authorizations Committee. In this process, you will be required to serve in an area of need while simultaneously completing an educator preparation program. You will also have to be enrolled in an educator preparation program for the same area of certification or endorsement for which the alternative authorization is applied.

Pass Idaho Certification Exams

Part of your certification process to becoming a teacher in Idaho will include taking and passing the Praxis II exam. Praxis exam scores are only required for those candidates seeking to get certification in standard elementary, standard secondary, and standard exceptional child and early childhood/early childhood special education. Praxis scores may be waived if the candidate has completed a master’s program with a concentration in a specific content area or if the candidate has received a current National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification in a specific content area. If you have taken content testing similar to that of the Praxis exam, you may submit your test scores in lieu of the Praxis exam requirement.


In the state of Idaho, there are several steps to completing and submitting all application materials. Requirements for applying first include a background check and a fingerprint clearance card. You will be required to provide official transcripts, including completion of a teacher preparation program from an Idaho college or university, or an out-of-state college or university preparation program. A completed Institutional Recommendation form will need to accompany this. Additional documents you must provide include passing scores for subject/license areas on the Official Praxis II Assessment. Subject areas include Early Childhood Education, blended with Early Childhood Special Education (Birth-Grade 3); Elementary Education (Grades K-8); Secondary Education (Grades 6-12 or K-12); World Languages; and Special Education. Once you’ve gathered these requirements, complete your application and pay the $75 application fee.

The initial certificate-which is valid for five years before renewal or revision-is designed for recent college graduates with a bachelor’s degree and/or a master’s degree just starting their teaching career. After five years, you will need to renew your initial certificate which requires the completion of six professional development credits. These credits must include three semester university or college credit hours. The other three hours can be completed though in-service hours. Official transcripts must be provided at time of renewal, along with a completed application and $75 fee. In some cases, you will need to complete the Idaho Comprehensive Literacy Course (ICLC), pass the Idaho Comprehensive Literacy Assessment or complete the Idaho Mathematics In-service Program (MTI). The subject area and grade level you teach will determine whether you need to fulfill these criteria at renewal time. A revision to your initial certificate can be made at any time during the initial five-year certificate period. Requirements for a revision are as follows:

  • Completed application and $25 fee
  • Official transcripts
  • Institutional Recommendation
  • Proof of professional experience during your time as a certified teacher
  • Official Praxis II Score sheet (if applicable)

How Much Do Teachers in Idaho Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics, secondary school teachers in Idaho earn a median annual salary of $49,550. According to the Idaho Department of Education website, teacher benefit packages includes health insurance, retirement and paid holidays, just to name a few. To get a complete list of all the benefits offered to teachers in Idaho, visit the State Employee Benefits page on the Idaho Division of Human Resources website. In the meantime, check out the list of teacher salaries in different teaching specialties from the BLS.

salary outlook
Position Median Salary
Early Childhood Educator $23,940
Elementary School Teacher $48,990
Secondary School Teacher $49,550
Special Education Teacher $48,350
Education Administrator $80,370


Job Growth for High School Teachers through 2031

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2021

Specialty Certifications

Teacher specialties go beyond grade levels and depending on your area of interest, may require different specialty certifications. Read below to find out more about different teacher specialty certifications offered in the state of Idaho.

Early Childhood Education


Certification in early childhood education is similar to other teacher certification processes in the state. However, in Idaho in order to get certified in early childhood education you need to take the Praxis II exam with an area of interest in early childhood or early childhood special education. This includes children from birth to grade three.

Elementary School Teacher


Similar to certification for early childhood education, teaching candidates interested in a focus on elementary school certification need to take and pass the Praxis II exam with an area of interest in elementary education, which includes grades K-12.

Secondary School Teacher


Like early childhood and elementary teacher certification processes, in order to get certified as a secondary teacher in Idaho, you must pass the Praxis II exam with a focus on secondary school teaching. In this scenario, you can either focus on grades 6-12 or K-12.

Substitute Teacher Certification


If you wish to become a substitute teacher in the state of Idaho, a little more research is required. While there are overall state requirements, each school district has their own specific rules. Idaho categorizes substitute teachers in two ways: classified substitutes and certified substitutes. To become a classified substitute teacher, you will need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. You will also need to get your fingerprint clearance card F as well as clear a background check. To become a certified substitute teacher, you need to pass the same background check and fingerprint clearance as a classified substitute, however you need to also have at least a bachelor’s degree or teaching certificate, as well as attend district training sessions. It is important to always confirm these requirements as they are subject to change.

Physical Education (PE) Certification


Idaho is one of the few states that requires certification or licensure of physical education teachers only at the high school level. Certification for physical education teachers must be renewed every five years. Professional development continuing education hours or credits are required to maintain and renew one’s physical education teacher certification or licensure. It is also important to note that there is no state funding provided for this personal development.

Special Education Certification


In order to become a certified special education teacher in the state of Idaho, you must take the Praxis II exam with a focus on special education. Once you take and pass the exam along with meeting the basic qualifications for certification, you will be certified to teach special education in Idaho. To learn more about the Praxis exam and qualifying scores, visit the test requirements page on the Education Testing Service’s website.

English as a Second Language Certification


In order to complete the English as a Second Language (ESL) certification, you will need to have earned your bachelor’s degree in ESL education along with completing and passing the Praxis II exam with a focus on world languages. You will also need to earn an endorsement in bilingual education or English as a new language. Once you complete these requirements, you will be eligible to apply to become a certified ESL teacher. In Idaho, standard certification is valid for five years. To be eligible to renew your certification after that time, you will need to earn at least six semester renewal credits that are relevant to the duties of an ESL teacher.

Certifications for School Administrators


The Idaho State Department of Education requires that school administration and principal candidates earn an administrator certificate. In order to apply for this certificate, you have to have already earned a master’s degree with a focus on school administration.

Certificate vs Certification


A certificate is awarded by an educational institution, and signifies that a student has satisfactorily completed a given curriculum. Certificate programs can help students prepare for certification exams.


A certification is generally awarded by a trade group after an individual has met certain professional requirements (e.g. earned a specific degree, worked professionally in a given field for a set amount of time, etc.) and passed a certification exam.

In short, a certificate is evidence that someone has completed an educational program, while a certification denotes that someone has met a certain set of professional criteria and/or passed an exam.

Not all programs offered are designed to meet state educator licensing or advancement requirements; however, it may assist candidates in gaining these approvals in their state of residence depending on those requirements. Contact the state board of education in the applicable state(s) for requirements.

Teaching Reciprocity Agreements in Idaho

A three-year, non-renewable interim certificate is issued to those wishing to teach in Idaho and are licensed in another state. During this time, you may be required to complete an Idaho literacy and technology course, but each individual’s credentials will be evaluated to determine specific requirements, including testing needs. Applicants must also clear a background check and receive their Idaho state fingerprint clearance card before they can begin working.

There is a possibility to receive a renewable five-year certificate if your transcripts and test scores are comparable with Idaho’s requirements. The fee for the application for this certificate is $75. The table below gives a more granular description on the various aspects of teacher reciprocity in Idaho.

NASDTEC Interstate Agreement Idaho is a participating state in the NASDTEC agreement.
State Grants Full Reciprocity No.
Coursework Requirements Before receiving a Standard Certificate, you may be required to complete an Idaho Comprehensive Literacy exam and a Mathematical Thinking for Instruction exam. Out-of-state candidates are granted a three-year nonrenewable certificate following completing these course requirements. Depending on the hiring district, you may also have to take technology courses.
Test-out or Exemption In order to test out or receive an exception, you will have to take the Idaho Comprehensive Literacy Course or pass the Idaho Comprehensive Literacy assessment.
Assessment Requirements There are assessment requirements in Idaho, however not for all candidates. The state requires that candidates take and pass the Praxis II exam that tests for content proficiency in an endorsed area. If you have obtained an out of state certificate and pass a content test comparable to that of the Praxis II exam, you are not required to take the Praxis II exam. The test can also be waived if the candidate has completed and can provide verification for a master’s degree in a specific content area.
Different Requirements Based on Experience No. Out-of-state applicants who have certification from another state with at least two years of teaching experience and those who are not certified in any other state, and who submit a recommendation from an approved certification program, are eligible to receive a three-year Interim Certificate upon clearance of a background check. Once all the requirements of the Interim Certificate are completed, you may apply for a renewable five-year Standard Certificate.
Performance Requirements No.
Special Reciprocity for Advanced Credentials No. Idaho has two license levels regardless of experience–Interim and Standard. All candidates are eligible for an Interim Certificate while they complete the requirements for a Standard Certificate.

Alternate Teaching Certification

Whether you choose to take the traditional or alternative routes to teacher certification, you will still need to at least have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.

Teach for America

Idaho has only recently joined the many other states that take part in Teach for America. Please keep in mind that Teach for America is an alternative to the more traditional route to becoming a teacher, however it is still a multi-step process.

Before you apply, note that you must have a bachelor’s degree and have maintained a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5. You will also need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship, national/permanent resident status, or deferred action for childhood arrivals. Before the application process, you might also want to consider Teach for America’s two-year commitment requirement. To learn more about the application process and details about Teach for America, visit the Idaho page on the Teach for America website.

Transition into Teaching for Career Changers

Although the traditional route to teacher certification is recommended, there are a plethora of options if you are unable to fulfill the traditional certification requirements. Often, many people transition into teaching as a second career. Luckily, there are programs like the New Teacher Project and American Board that help prospective teachers earn their certification. The state of Idaho does not take part in the New Teacher Project; however, it is an active participant in the American Board program. To earn a certificate from the American Board in the state of Idaho, you will need to complete the following steps:

  • Complete the American Board’s required pedagogy and subject area exams.
  • Obtain a full-time teaching position in an Idaho school.
  • Apply to the Idaho Department of Education for state-issued interim teaching license (valid for three years).
  • Complete the American Board’s year-long clinical experience with a coach assigned by the school district that employs you.
  • Complete a two-year mentorship program within three years.

Upon completion of all above requirements, a candidate can apply to the Idaho State Department of Education to upgrade the interim teaching certificate into a state-issued Idaho teaching certificate which is renewable and valid for five years. American Board works closely with the Bureau of Education to ensure candidates have the resources they need to succeed as teachers in Idaho.