How to Earn a Teaching License in Indiana

If you’re thinking about becoming a teacher in Indiana, your first step after you finish your education is to earn teacher certification. While there are several ways to doing this, your options depend on your level of education and experience.

This guide can help you determine the pathway that’s right for you at any point in your journey. Perhaps you’re beginning your teaching career and need to know about the Indiana certification process. Or maybe you want to learn how to progress to advanced certification, or you’re already a teacher looking to move to Indiana from another state and are wondering what the reciprocity agreement is.

You’ll find all that information and more right here. 

Minimum Education Requirements for Indiana

The traditional route to licensure requires that you complete your education and teacher preparation program through an in-state college.

The education you must complete prior to earning your Indiana teacher certification will vary slightly depending on the subject and grade level you plan on teaching. For those interested in teaching at the elementary school level (K-6), you must earn your bachelor’s degree in an education major with a content-area minor or double major in education and a specific content area. The secondary level (5-12) requires candidates to earn their bachelor’s degree in a specific content area major with a minor in education.

The In-State Preparatory Program you must complete is offered through Indiana colleges and universities, and can often be completed while you earn your bachelor’s degree. It should be focused on the subject area and grade level you intend to teach.

Other Requirements

The Office of Educator Effectiveness and Licensure (OEEL) is the part of the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) that is in charge of reviewing and issuing all teacher certifications in Indiana. They also determine the requirements for certification. There are two levels of licensure offered by OEEL:

Initial Practitioner License: All new teachers can work towards earning this license by becoming certified in CPR, completing a suicide prevention training, earning a bachelor’s degree, completing a teacher preparation program and passing all required exams. It is valid for two years.

Proficient Practitioner License: A teacher holding an initial license is eligible to apply for the proficient license after working as an Indiana teacher for two years. You can earn it through two different routes. One route is by completing the Indiana Mentor and Assessment Program (IMAP). To complete this program and earn the proficient practitioner license, you will need to complete a two-year mentorship. The other route is the Professional Growth Plan (PGP). For this route, you will work as an Indiana teacher and attend conferences and workshops, participate in committee work and school improvement plans, and complete coursework that is current on educational reforms and trends. It is valid for five years.

Student Teaching

Before you become an Indiana teacher you must complete a student teaching experience. You will be able to complete this experience through your preparation program. As a student, you will work with an experienced teacher in their classroom. Your program will monitor your progress as a student teacher and require that by the end of the experience you are planning and delivering lessons to the students on your own.

Pass the Indiana Certification Exams

Your preparation program will notify you when you are ready and eligible to sign up for the appropriate certification exams. All teacher candidates in Indiana must take and pass three examinations administered by Pearson:

1. The Indiana Core Academic Skills Assessment (CASA) serves as the basic skills test for educators in Indiana. It will cover reading, writing and math.

2. The Developmental/Pedagogical exam you take will correspond to the grade level you have been trained and educated to teach. The exam will cover strategies of teaching as they relate to your designated grade level, such as Methodology, Classroom Management, Student Development and Diversity; Learning Processes; Learning Environment; Instructional Planning; Assessments and the Professional Environment as a teacher.

3. The Indiana CORE content exam can be taken after taking the first two exams. It adds an area of concentration to your license. The education focus of your degree and preparation program should align with the content exam that you take.


You can only apply for your Indiana teacher certification after you have completed all requirements and have graduated from your teacher preparation program. Your program will determine when you are ready to apply and will recommend you for application.

To apply, you will access your Licensing Verification and Information System (LVIS) account and complete the initial teacher certification application. While your preparation program will verify most of your information, you will need to submit a valid CPR card and your suicide prevention certificate. The OEEL will review your submitted information and determine if you are qualified to teach in Indiana.

How Much Do Teachers in Indiana Make?

While you review the teacher salaries for Indiana below, keep in mind that you may make well above or below the national median salary. As a new teacher, you will often earn closer to the reported average. However, as an experienced teacher, or if you have a higher level of education, you could make above the average. Your teacher salary will also depend on the school district or school that you teach in. The following high school teacher median annual salary for Indiana is reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

salary outlook
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education
hero-widget-desktop-graph hero-widget-desktop-graph






Median Hourly WageN/A

Job growth1%

Total Employment20,200

Metro area Median Salary Bottom 10% Top 10%
Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN $60,340 $46,900 $90,870
Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN $58,850 $46,760 $78,230
Evansville, IN-KY $58,600 $37,790 $75,580
Fort Wayne, IN $57,500 $40,090 $76,820
Muncie, IN $56,850 $39,420 $80,390
Bloomington, IN $56,420 $38,430 $76,650
Elkhart-Goshen, IN $51,540 $40,350 $74,660
South Bend-Mishawaka, IN-MI $50,350 $38,420 $74,250
Michigan City-La Porte, IN $50,200 $39,040 $79,200
Terre Haute, IN $48,370 $38,600 $77,590

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2022 median salary; projected job growth through 2032. Actual salaries vary depending on location, level of education, years of experience, work environment, and other factors. Salaries may differ even more for those who are self-employed or work part time.


Job Growth for High School Teachers through 2032

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, 2022

Specialty Certifications

As we previously discussed, you must complete a degree and preparation program in the specific area of education you intend to be licensed in and pass the tests that relate to these same areas before you can earn your Indiana certification. You can find the specific Pearson testing information for a variety of Indiana teacher certification areas below.

Early Childhood Education


Candidates for licensure in the area of early childhood education must pass the developmental/pedagogy exam for Early Childhood Education P-3. This exam costs $114 to take and will cover childhood development, learning and the learning environment; developmentally appropriate methodology and assessment; and family and community relationships and the professional environment.

You must also pass the CORE content exam in Early Childhood Generalist K-6. It includes four sub-tests that you can take individually for a $45 fee or as a unit for $145. The sub-tests are 1) Reading and English Language, 2) Mathematics, 3) Science, Health, and Physical Education, and 4) Social Studies and Fine Arts.

Elementary School Teacher


The developmental/pedagogical exam you must take to become an Indiana certified elementary school teacher is the Elementary Education exam. You must pay a $114 fee to take this exam. To pass it you must be proficient in four content areas: 1) Student Development and Diversity, 2) Learning Processes and Environments, 3) Instruction and Assessment, and 4) The Professional Environment.

From there, you will need to pass the CORE content exam in Elementary Education Generalist. Just like the exam for early childhood education, the total exam will cost $145 or $45 per sub-test. It also includes the same four sub-tests as those for the early education CORE exam, mentioned above.

Secondary School Teacher


Secondary school in Indiana refers to middle school and high school. While both take the same developmental/pedagogy exam, the CORE content exam will vary. The developmental exam will be for Secondary Education 5-12. It costs $114 to take. There are five distinct testing categories within this exam: 1) Student Development and Diversity, 2) Learning Processes and Environments, 3) Instruction and Assessment, 4) Reading Instruction, and 5) The Professional Environment.

Middle School (5-9) CORE content exam options–There are four content certification areas available for middle level teachers. Each has a corresponding content exam that costs $114 to take.

1. English Language Arts: This exam covers reading comprehension and analysis, components and modes of writing, communication and media literacy, and middle school English language arts instruction and assessment.

2. Mathematics: This exam covers number systems and operations, algebra and functions, measurement and geometry, statistics and probability, and middle school mathematics instruction and assessment.

3. Science: This exam covers foundations of science, physical science, earth and space science, life science, and middle school science instruction and assessment.

4. Social Studies: This exam covers world history, U.S. history, U.S. and world geography, government and citizenship, economics, social studies literacy and research skills, and middle school social studies instruction and assessment.

High School CORE content exam options: At the high school level, there are far more than four certification areas available. Each content area has its own corresponding CORE content area exam that costs $130 to take. These certifications can be in a particular science focus, such as chemistry, or even a social studies focus, such as psychology.

Substitute Teacher Certification


In Indiana, substitutes must earn a substitute teacher permit. The standards and approval of these permits is overseen by each school district, called school corporations in Indiana. Although most requirements will vary depending on the school corporation you seek your permit in, Indiana does require all substitute teacher to have at least a high school diploma and be 18 years or older.

Physical Education (PE) Certification


To be certified to teach PE for all grade levels in Indiana, you can take the developmental/pedagogy exam for “P-12 Education.” Five categories make up this exam: student development and diversity, learning processes and environments, instruction and assessment, reading instruction, and the professional environment.

Qualifying as a PE teacher will require that you take the Physical Education CORE content exam for $130. You must be able to answer question relating to psychomotor growth and development, movement, sports, and fitness activities, and the physical education program in order to pass the exam.

Special Education Certification


The developmental/pedagogy exam you will complete to teach special education will vary depending on the grade level you want to work with. It can be in early childhood education, elementary education, or even secondary education. Whichever exam you take, it will cost $114.

You also have a choice for the CORE content Exceptional Needs exam you take. As a special education instructor you can be specialized in four distinct areas by taking the corresponding exam for $130: 1) Blind or Low Vision, 2) Deaf or Hard of Hearing, 3) Intense Intervention, and 4) Mild Intervention. You must be proficient in the following areas for each exam: foundations and professional knowledge; development, characteristics, and assessment; individualized programs; and planning and delivering instruction and interventions. The exact exam content will be specific to the exceptional needs population that the exam relates to.

You should make sure that all of your education is completed in the field of exceptional needs you seek to work with.

English as a Second Language Certification


Similar to the special education teacher certification, you should take the developmental/pedagogy exam for the grade level that you are interested in teaching. The exam will cost $114.

You will also need to take the CORE “English Learners” exam, also for $130. You should be familiar with foundations of English language learners, English Learner (EL) instruction and assessment, and professional practice prior to taking the exam.

Certifications for School Administrators


Indiana awards two main levels of certification to school administrators:

Building Level: This level of licensure most often applies to principals or assistant principals. You must hold a valid Indiana teaching license; pass the CORE content Building Level exam; complete an approved Building Level Administration program; and earn a master’s degree to earn this certification. You must also make sure that your CPR and suicide prevention certifications are up-to-date.

District Level: A superintendent must hold this level of certification. All candidates for a district level certification must pass a District Level CORE content exam; complete a specialty degree in education (EdS) or an approved administrator superintendent program; and hold a valid teacher certification with two years of teaching experience.

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 Indiana

Reciprocity for teachers between the states is facilitated by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement. It requires that states who participate in the agreement to create a statement that outlines what steps and requirements out-of-state teacher must complete earning teacher certification reciprocity in their state.

NASDTEC Interstate Agreement Yes. Indiana does participate.
State Grants Full Reciprocity No. All candidates will be expected to complete additional training within one year of working in Indiana. Also, depending on the subject area you teach, you may be expected to complete additional coursework.
Coursework Requirements All out-of-state teachers must complete additional training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Heimlich Maneuver, and the use of an automated external defibrillator and complete Suicide Prevention Training. Also, if you are seeking reciprocity in one of the following subject areas, you may need to complete additional coursework: Exceptional Needs, English Learners, Early Childhood Generalist, Elementary Education Generalist, Fine Arts, Communication Disorders and High Ability.
Test-out or Exemption There are no test-out exemptions for coursework.
Assessment Requirements If you have not completed a content area test approved by your state, Indiana may require that you complete their state approved content area test.
Different Requirements Based on Experience Your experience level is part of what determines what Indiana license you can earn. Out-of-state candidates with less than three years of full-time teaching experience are eligible for an Initial Practitioner license, and candidates with more than three years of full-time teaching experience are eligible for a Practitioner license. Your teaching experience must be in the same area that you are seeking Indiana licensure in.
Performance Requirements Out-of-state teachers do not need to verify a specific level of effectiveness as a teacher.
Special Reciprocity for Advanced Credentials The advanced credentials you hold for your out-of-state license do not factor into the Indiana license you are awarded. Only your experience level will.

Information reported by the Education Commission of the States.

Alternate Teaching Certification

Whether you are a recent graduate or a career professional looking to transition into teaching, alternate teaching certification options may work for you. While you will still be expected to complete most of the requirements for an Indiana teacher certification, these programs present you with alternative ways to complete the requirements. For some, you can even work as a paid teacher while you complete the requirements.

Teach for America

Working across the nation in 53 diverse population areas, Teach for America (TFA) wants to increase the success rates of students in high-needs school by creating qualified teachers to teach these students. Within these regions, TFA typically works in metropolitan areas, and the Indiana region is no exception. In Indiana, TFA is based out of Indianapolis.

As a TFA member, you will be trained in teaching expectations and responsibilities. From there, you will be placed in an Indianapolis school as a teacher for a two-year commitment. During your time with the school, you will gain the hands-on practical experience that can help make you a confident teacher. TFA will also guide you through the teacher certification process and make sure that you meet the licensure requirements for Indiana. At the end of your commitment, if you have completed all the requirements, you will be eligible to earn your Indiana teaching certification.

Transition into Teaching for Career Changers

The OEEL has encouraged the movement of career professionals into the teaching field by creating alternate route to teacher certification. This movement not only helps to fill teacher shortages, but it also helps create qualified teachers who can work to help students succeed academically. There are two key alternative pathways to licensure in Indiana monitored by the OEEL:

Advanced Degree: As you can probably guess, candidates for this route must have an advanced degree. If you are awarded a license through this route, you are only eligible to teach at the secondary level. An advanced degree is defined as a master’s or higher and the degree must be related to the subject that you intend to teach.

One requirement for this route includes being able to verify at least one year of experience teaching at the middle school, high school or college level. You must also pass the content area test that corresponds to your master’s degree major and the Secondary Education pedagogy test. You must also earn an adult CPR, AED and Heimlich maneuver certification, and complete a suicide prevention training that results in a certification.

Transition to Teaching: This route will require that you already hold a bachelor’s degree and that you complete a transition to teach program that includes 18 hours of coursework for secondary education and 24 hours for elementary education.

The exact program requirements will vary depending on the grade level you seek to teach. Grade level options Early Childhood Education Preschool-3 and Elementary Education K-6 both require that you complete 24 hours of preparation, with six hours specifically in reading. The Secondary Education 5-12 requires 18 preparation hours.

To obtain a Transition to Teaching Permit, you must provide evidence that you are currently enrolled in a preparation program, are hired by an Indiana School Corporation, have a CPR, AED, and Heimlich maneuver certification, and present proof of completing suicide prevention training.