How to Earn a Teaching License in Kansas

Why become a teacher in Kansas? There are several reasons to consider teaching in the state, and your achieving that goal will largely depend upon your current situation. Where are you in your education journey? Do you want to specialize? Are you living in a different state right now?

This guide can help you determine the pathway that’s right for you at any point in your career. If you’re just beginning your journey you’ll need to know about the Kansas certification process. Or maybe you want to learn how to progress to advanced certification and earn a specialty endorsement or move into administration. If you’re a teacher looking to move to Kansas from out of state, we can help you understand reciprocity.

The short video below gives an overview of what to expect as a certified teacher in Kansas state.


The standard method for becoming a teacher in Kansas is through a state-approved program as an undergraduate student. Kansas has approved many programs statewide for training new teachers. In a college or university’s education department, you will receive the appropriate coursework and a mentored student teaching program that will give you experience and the sense of being in an actual classroom. Continue reading to get a complete description of the required steps for successful teacher certification in the state of Kansas.

Minimum Education Requirements for Kansas State Teachers

Whether you are seeking teacher certification through the more traditional route or through an alternative process, you will still need to have at minimum a bachelor’s degree. Depending on the content area you wish to teach, you may also be required to complete a teacher preparation program specific to the teacher specialty of your choice. When applying for teacher certification in Kansas, it’s good to know the different types of licenses available, and what is required for each. Below, you will find some of the most common licenses for Kansas teachers.

Initial License: This license is the first license an individual holds to begin teaching while preparing for a professional license. To apply, you will need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution; a completed teacher preparation program; to pass the appropriate content exams; and eight semester hours of recent credit.

Professional License: A professional license comes after an initial license, and it is issued to an individual who has successfully completed a performance assessment and is maintained by professional development. This assessment is prescribed by the Kansas state board or by a national or regional accrediting agency recognized by the board. You must also have at least one year of recent accredited experience, or at least eight recent semester credit hours.

Accomplished Teaching License: This license is issued to those who have successfully completed an advanced performance assessment that has been designated by the Kansas state board in order to identify accomplished teaching, or for those who have earned national board certification. You must have a valid Kansas professional teaching license to earn the Accomplished licensure.

Provisional Teaching Endorsement License: This provisional license grants individuals access to practice in an endorsement area while they are completing the requirements for the respective endorsement. Applicants must hold a valid initial or professional license and verify completion of at least 50 percent of a Kansas-approved teacher education program for the endorsement field requested.

To learn more about the minimum education requirements visit the Kansas State Department of Education.

Student Teaching

Student teaching, also known as a teacher preparation program, is required by the state of Kansas in order to meet all teacher certification requirements. Depending on your area of focus, you may need to complete a specific type of teacher preparation program specific to the content area you wish to teach. Most teacher preparation programs require at least 12 weeks of student teaching. Learn more about approved programs by endorsement, approved programs by institution and accreditation statuses by visiting the approved preparation programs and institutions page on the Kansas State Department of Education website. Keep in mind that Kansas also offers online approved programs to make completing your teacher preparation convenient and easier than ever before.

Pass Kansas State Certification Exams

Unless you have an advanced degree such as a master’s or doctorate degree with a content area focus or are a certified teacher with endorsements from another state, you will need to take and pass certain certification exams. For example, if you want to become a teacher in Kansas without any prior teacher licenses or certifications, you will have to take one out of the four Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) assessments as well as the appropriate content assessments in order to receive your Initial Educator License. You will pick which PLT test is most appropriate for your level of licensure or level of specialization. If you are adding a new licensure endorsement to your certifications, you will need to receive a passing score on the appropriate content assessment. To learn more about Kansas state certification exams and qualifying scores, visit the Kansas Test Requirements page on the Educational Testing Service’s website.


Once you have all the necessary information and have taken and passed all Kansas state certification exams, you are ready to apply for licensure. Regardless of which license you are applying for, all applicants will need official transcripts verifying their bachelor’s degree or higher; verification of completion of a teacher preparation program; official passing scores for all necessary exams; a completed application; and a license fee between $60 and $85. Please keep in mind that regardless of which license you are applying for, the application process will take six to eight weeks. To learn more about the application process or to find the appropriate application forms, visit the license application page on the Kansas State Department of Education website.

How Much Do Teachers in Kansas Make?

With the cost of living lower than other larger states, Kansas is a wonderful place to consider starting or continuing your teaching career. With a generous benefits package and a competitive salary, it is hard not to see the advantages of becoming a teacher in Kansas. Check out the table below to get a more detailed description of the different teacher salaries in Kansas.

salary outlook
Position Median Salary
Early Childhood Educator $37,810
Elementary School Teacher $50,130
Secondary School Teacher $50,150
Special Education Teacher $42,310
Education Administrator $94,120


Job Growth for High School Teachers through 2031

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

Specialty Certifications

As previously stated, if you plan to teach in an area of focus, you will need to pass the minimum Praxis exam certifications and complete additional endorsement examinations depending on your area of focus. Read below to learn more about teacher specialty certifications and the necessary steps to completing certifications for areas of focus.

Early Childhood Education


Early Childhood Education includes birth-grade 3 and birth-kindergarten. To become a certified teacher in early childhood education you will need to complete one of the four Principles of Learning and Teaching assessment exams and receive a qualifying score. You will also need to take the Praxis II for Education of Young Children to be certified to teach early childhood education in Kansas.

Elementary School Teacher


Elementary Education covers kindergarten-age 6. On top of completing and passing the minimum certification exams, you will need to receive a qualifying score on the Praxis Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment exam.

Secondary School Teacher


Certifications for secondary school teachers will vary depending on the area of focus you wish to teach, but this endorsement does work with grades 6-12. This means that you will have to meet your minimum certifications requirements as well as receiving an endorsement in the area you wish to teach.

Substitute Teacher Certification


There are two routes for you to become a substitute teacher in Kansas. You can either apply for certification as a standard substitute or as an emergency substitute. For a standard substitute license, you must hold a degree and have completed a teacher preparation program. To apply for an emergency substitute license, you must have completed at least 60 semester credit hours through an accredited university by one of the following regionally accredited associations:
• New England Association of Schools and Colleges
• Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
• The Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
• Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges
• Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
• Western Association of Schools and Colleges
• Association for Biblical Higher Education

Physical Education (PE) Certification


The state of Kansas requires that all prospective PE teachers receive certification or licensure in physical education for early childhood, elementary, middle and high school levels. Elementary school teachers may teach required elementary school physical education classes without any additional certifications. To learn more about certification for PE teachers and general information on physical education, visit the Society of Health and Physical Educators website.

Special Education Certification


There are a few different specialty certifications for special education in Kansas, including deaf or hard-of-hearing; Gifted; High-Incidence Special Education; Low-Incidence Special Education; and Visually Impaired. Depending on the grade level and area of expertise you wish to be certified in, you will be required to take one of the five Praxis exams in special education listed below:
• Gifted Education
• Special Education: Core Knowledge and Severe to Profound Applications
• Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications
• Special Education: Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students
• Special Education: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments

English as a Second Language Certification


To become certified as an ESL teacher in Kansas, you must meet the minimum education requirements as well as complete and pass the English to Speakers of Other Languages Praxis content area exam.

Certifications for School Administrators


Whether your end goal is to work as a school administrator or a principal, you will need to get your certifications in school administration to work in the Kansas state education system. There are two certification exams you will need to take and pass to get certified as a school administrator, the first being the School Leaders Licensure Assessment for certification in building leadership. The second exam, School Superintendent Assessment, will get you certified in district leadership.

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.

Teacher Reciprocity Agreements in Kansas

Teaching across states can be a confusing experience with every state having its own certification requirements. Teacher reciprocity in Kansas is not unconditionally recognized by all other states, but there are reciprocity guidelines in place that will make your transition to Kansas easier than ever. Read the chart below to get a more detailed and granular description of the reciprocity guidelines for teaching in Kansas.

NASDTEC Interstate Agreement Kansas is a participating state in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement. It also offers a two-year “exchange license” for participating states and eligible candidates.
State Grants Full Reciprocity No.
Coursework Requirements There are no additional coursework requirements. However, in order to receive a teaching license for out-of-state teachers, you must have at least one year of teaching experience or eight semester credit hours within the last six years.
Test-out or Exemption Not applicable. Kansas has no additional coursework requirements.
Assessment Requirements There are a few assessment requirements for certain candidates. Candidates will have to have taught at least three years within the past six years or have five years of total teaching experience in order to be exempt from assessment requirements. Those individuals who meet this requirement are eligible for a Professional License. If you do not meet the conditions above, you will have to pass content and performance assessments in order to be eligible for the Professional License. Candidates working to complete assessment requirements may still be eligible for an Initial license allowing for full-time employment. Also keep in mind Kansas may accept comparable out-of-state assessments.
Different Requirements Based on Experience There are two options for requirements based on experience. In order to receive an Initial License, you must verify one year of teaching experience or eight semester hours of credit. In order to receive a Professional license, you must verify three years of teaching within the past six years or verify five years of total teaching experience. Those candidates eligible for a Professional License are exempt from the assessment requirements, but those not meeting the above requirements will need to complete content and pedagogy performance assessments in order to receive a Professional License. Do keep in mind Kansas will also accept comparable out-of-state assessments for those who qualify.
Performance Requirements No.
Special Reciprocity for Advanced Credentials Candidates who meet the experience requirements and have advanced credentials are eligible to receive a Professional License. All other candidates must receive an initial license while working toward receiving their Professional License.

Alternate Teaching Certification

Note that Kansas offers an Interim Alternative License to allow for temporary teaching practice for those who have completed an alternative education program and hold an out-of-state license. For those who wish to enter alternative education programs to earn certification, some of the available programs are outlined below.

Transition into Teaching for Career Changers

If you are looking to start an exciting and exhilarating career in teaching as a second career, you may want to take the alternative route to teacher certification. If you wish to teach in Kansas, you may also want to consider certification through the Restricted Teaching License Alternative Pathway. This alternative to certification is intended to respond to school districts’ needs in hiring qualified teachers. Please keep in mind that this alternative licensure program is only available for secondary content areas and limited numbers of all level subjects.

Before you begin applying, you will need to meet the minimum eligibility requirements which include receiving a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution while maintaining a 2.75 GPA. You will also need to take and pass the Praxis II content assessment in the content area you wish to teach as well as complete supervised practical training under the collaboration of the supporting institution and hiring school district. To learn more about the application process and necessary application materials, visit the Restricted Teaching License Alternative Pathway page on the Kansas State Department of Education website.