How to Earn Your Teacher Certification in Louisiana

If you’ve ever thought about teaching in Louisiana, your first step after completing your degree program is to earn teacher certification. While there are different ways to doing this, your options depend on your level of education—and what you ultimately want to teach and at what grade level.

This guide can help you determine the pathway that’s right for you at any point in your journey. Perhaps you’re beginning and need to know about the Louisiana state certification process. Or maybe you want to learn how to progress to advanced certification, or you’re a teacher looking to relocate to Louisiana from out of state and need to understand the reciprocity process.

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 Louisiana.

Basic Teaching Requirements

Whether you’re just starting your journey towards teaching in Louisiana or looking to advance your teaching license by specializing, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) has certification options that you can work towards:

Level 1 Professional Certificate: This is the entry-level certification, and is what all first-time teachers should work towards earning. It is valid for three years and can be renewed only once. While you hold it you will need to work towards earning your Level 2 Certificate.

Level 2 Professional Certificate: To advance to this level of certification you must teach a minimum of three years in your area of certification. You will also be expected to take and pass the Louisiana Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program (LATAAP). Level 2 licenses are valid for five years and can be renewed.

Level 3 Professional Certificate: This level is unique, in that teachers who hold a Level 1 or Level 2 certification may apply for it. You can be eligible for the Level 3 teacher certification by earning a master’s degree, teaching for five years, and passing the LATAAP. This license can also be renewed and is valid for five years.

Minimum Education Requirements for Louisiana Teachers

To earn a Level 1 teacher certification you will need to complete a bachelor’s degree program and a teacher preparation program with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Traditionally in Louisiana, the preparation program is completed as a four-year Bachelor of Arts or Science degree program. The program will include general education courses, a certification area focus, professional education, 180 hours of field experiences, and one semester of student teaching or internship in a school. You can find alternate ways of completing this requirement at the end of this article.

Student Teaching

Your student teaching experience will be a part of your degree program and should last for at least one semester. As a student teacher you will work with an experienced teacher in their classroom. Throughout the process you will utilize your teaching knowledge while working with the students in an effort to gain confidence in the classroom. The classroom should focus on teaching the same grade level and subject matter that you are seeking to earn your certification in.

Pass Louisiana Certification Exams

The LDOE requires all teacher candidates to pass certain Praxis exams in order to earn their teaching license. There are two main exams that you should expect to take:

Praxis I Core Academic Skills for Educators: This exam serves as the basic skills exam. It will cover Reading, Writing, and Math. You can take the exams simultaneously, or individually. You may be exempt from this testing requirement if you have earned a composite ACT score of 22, or if you have earned a combined verbal and math SAT score of 1030.

Praxis II Content and Pedagogy Exam: There are no exemptions offered for the Praxis II. To earn certification in a specific licensure area, you will need to pass the Praxis II that corresponds to the grade level and subject you seek certification for. You can find more detailed information on Praxis II exams and licensing areas in the Certification Areas section below.


You should apply for your Louisiana Level 1 professional certification when your degree program recommends you for certification. They will only recommend you once you have completed all of the requirements set forth by the LDOE.

Teacher application requests in Louisiana should be mailed in to the LDOE at: Louisiana Department of Education Attention: Certification P. O. Box 94064 Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9064. The request should include a certification fee and a Professional Conduct form. You should also verify who you are by including the following information: full name and date of birth, social security number, valid email address (so that the LDOE can notify you about your certification request), mailing address, and telephone number.

Before applying, you should make sure that your official transcripts and your testing scores have all been sent into the LDOE. They will then be on file under your name and will be added to your application when it arrives. Once the LDOE receives your request, it should take them about 10-15 business days to begin reviewing it. You can check the status of your application here.

How Much Do Teachers in Louisiana Make?

Just like most careers, there are a variety of factors that contribute to the salary you make as a teacher. Where you work, what teaching position you have, what level of teaching license you hold, and how long you’ve been teaching can all push your salary above, or even below the reported average teaching salaries for Louisiana.

salary outlook
Position Median Salary
Early Childhood Educator $29,520
Elementary School Teacher $48,650
Secondary School Teacher $49,710
Special Education Teacher $60,040
School Administrator $74,690


Job Growth for High School Teachers through 2031

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

Specialty Certifications

After meeting the Praxis I requirement, all certification candidates will need to complete the appropriate Praxis II exams in order to complete the testing requirement in full. There are a variety of exam options at the Praxis II level and each exam will correspond to a specific area of certification.

Early Childhood Education


In Louisiana, early childhood certifications qualify teachers to work with grades PK-3. To earn this certification candidates will need to pass two Praxis II exams: Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood with a score of at least 157 and Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects. The multiple subjects exam will include four subtests, you must earn a passing score or higher on each: Reading and Language Arts with a score of 157; Mathematics, also with a score of 157; Social Studies with a score of 155; and Science with a score of 159.

Elementary School Teacher


Elementary school teachers in Louisiana are certified to work with grades 1-5 and must pass two Praxis II exams to be certified.

First is the Principles of Learning and Teaching Grade K-6 with a score of 160 or higher. The next exam is the Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects, which you can find a description of above.

Middle and Secondary School Teacher


Louisiana middle school teachers are certified to teach grades 4-8. All middle school teachers must earn a passing score of 160 or higher on the Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 5-9 Praxis II exam. From there they must take the Praxis II Middle School exam that aligns with the subject they intend to teach. There are four options: English Language Arts with a score of at least 164; Mathematics with a score of 165 or higher; Science with a score of 150 or higher; and Social Studies with a score of at least 149.

As a secondary school teacher you will be qualified to work with grades 6-12. There are a variety of certifications areas available at the secondary level and each has a corresponding Praxis II exam that you will need to take and pass. In Louisiana these areas include: Biology, Chemistry, English, General Science, Mathematics, Physics, Social Studies, and Speech. To teach one of these subjects at the secondary level you will also need to pass the Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7-12 with a score of 157 or higher.

Substitute Teacher Certification


The LDOE does not issue substitute certifications. Each school district, referred to as parishes in Louisiana, has control of the requirements substitute teachers must meet to teach in their parish. All parishes will require candidates to hold at least a high school diploma, with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees often being preferred. You should also expect to complete and clear a background check before being permitted to gain employment as a substitute teacher.

Physical Education (PE) Certification


PE teachers in Louisiana must pass the Praxis II Health and Physical Education: Content Knowledge exam with a score of 160 or higher.

They must also determine what grade level they intend to work with and take the Principles of Learning and Teaching exam that corresponds with that grade level. The options include K-5, 5-9, 7-12.

Special Education Certification


There is not a general special education certification offered in Louisiana. To teach special education you must earn a certification that qualifies you to work with a specific special education population.

For each certification area you must pass the corresponding Praxis II exams.

Early Interventionist
Age Birth-5
Special Education: Preschool/Early Childhood;
Principles of Learning and Teaching: Early Childhood; and
Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects
Hearing Impaired K-12 Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications;
Special Education: Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students; and
Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects
General Education or Special Education Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications;
The Principles of Learning and Teaching that corresponds to the grade level you seek to work with; and
The Content and Pedagogy exam that corresponds to the subject you want to teach.
Significant Disabilities Grades 1-12 Special Education: Core Knowledge and Severe to Profound Applications and Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects 153*
Visual Impairments/Blind K-12 Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications;
Special Education: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments; and
Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects

*Reading and Language Arts, 157. Mathematics, 157. Social Studies, 155. Science, 159.

English as a Second Language Certification


To become an ESL teacher in Louisiana you must already hold a teaching license. You will then be eligible to add ESL to your license by completing specific coursework requirements. These requirements include three semester hours in each of the following subjects:

Methods of Teaching ESL
Introduction to Language and Culture
Structure of the English Language
Curriculum Design for the Multicultural Classroom

Certifications for School Administrators


To become an administrator in Louisiana you must earn an Educational Leader (EDL) certification. The LDOE offers three levels of certification:

EDL 1: EDL 1 candidates should already hold a Level 2 teaching certification and have three years of teaching experience.  You will then need to complete a graduate degree preparation program in educational leadership and pass the Praxis II School Leaders Licensure Assessment.

EDL 2: To gain an EDL 2 you must hold a valid EDL 1 certificate or a comparable out-of-state educational leader certificate. Candidates should also have at least three years of teaching experience and educational leadership experience as an assistant principal or above.

EDL 3: You should hold a valid EDL 2 and have five years of teaching experience and successful administrative or management experience in education to gain an EDL 3 certification. You must also earn a passing score on the Praxis II School Superintendent Assessment.

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 Louisiana

When you move to Louisiana as an out-of-state teacher you must transfer your out-of-state teaching license into a Louisiana teaching license. You can do this by meeting the reciprocity requirements that they have in place. The statement of reciprocity was created in conjunction with the Interstate Agreement, in which all participating states make steps towards facilitating reciprocity between states. The agreement was created by the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC).

NASDTEC Interstate Agreement Yes, Louisiana participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement.
State Grants Full Reciprocity No, additional requirements must be met.
Coursework Requirements Candidates who have not taught as a regular teacher within the past five years in an elementary or secondary school are required to complete six semester credits relating to the teaching field from a regionally accredited college/university. Candidates may be issued a one year non-renewable certificate while they complete the credit hours required to earn an Out of State Certificate, a three-year nonrenewable teaching certificate.
Test-out or Exemption No, the coursework requirements must be completed if they apply to you.
Assessment Requirements Out-of-state candidates who have met Louisiana’s PRAXIS testing requirements are eligible to receive the Level 1 Professional Certificate, a standard, three-year teaching certificate that will authorize you to teach the grade level or subject that corresponds to your out-of-state license. Candidates who have not met the assessment requirements are eligible to receive the Louisiana Out-of-State Certificate. It authorizes candidates to teach while working towards completing assessment requirements.
Different Requirements Based on Experience Candidates with a valid out-of-state teaching certificate and at least three years of “successful” teaching experience, verified by satisfactory annual evaluation results, do not have to meet additional testing requirements after teaching on an Out-of-State Certificate for one year. After teaching for this one year period, candidates must meet all other requirements to earn a Professional Level Louisiana Certificate. They can do this by gaining a parish’s recommendation for employment and by having a parish representative request that they be granted a valid Louisiana certificate.
Performance Requirements Teachers with three or more years of experience should verify that they have taught “successfully” by submitting their annual teaching evaluations.
Special Reciprocity for Advanced Credentials Louisiana has two main licensure levels for out-of-state candidates: Out-of-State and Professional Level 1. All candidates are given an Out-of-State License until additional requirements are met. Although the level of your original out-of-state license does not factor into the Louisiana license you receive, your experience level does. Candidates with three years of “successful” teaching experience do not have to meet additional testing requirements after teaching on an Out-of-State Certificate for one year and can receive a Professional Level 1 License after that time period.

Information reported by the Education Commission of the States.

Alternate Teaching Certification

From long-time professionals to recent college graduates, many people find an interest in teaching after earning their degree in a non-teachable field. Thanks to alternate paths for earning your teaching certification, there are ways to earn your certification without needing to earn an additional degree in education.

Teach for America

Teach for America (TFA) is an organization that works across the nation. Within Louisiana they work in the South Louisiana area, based out of Baton Rouge, and in the Greater New Orleans – Louisiana Delta areas. Although this program is predominately utilized by recent college graduates, all ages and experience levels are welcome and many career changers also seek out TFA to begin their teaching career.

When you join TFA you commit yourself to working as a teacher for two-years in a high-needs school. TFA will work with you to help find employment opportunities, however at the start of your commitment you will not actually have your teacher certification. The goal is that by the end of your commitment you will have met all of the licensing requirements set forth by Louisiana in order to earn your teaching certification. You can expect TFA staff members to help guide you through the certification process.

Transition into Teaching for Career Changers

If you already hold a bachelor’s degree outside of the field of education, completing an Alternate Teacher Preparation Program could be a good path for you. The LDOE offers three different alternative programs that can be beneficial for recent grads or those already in the field.

To be admitted into any of the programs you must have a bachelor’s degree with a 2.5 GPA or higher. You should also pass the content-specific Praxis II exam in the area of certification being sought and the Praxis I Core Academics Skills exam. The Praxis I requirement may be waived if you have a graduate degree or if you have earned an ACT score of 22 or a combined verbal and math SAT score of 1030. Additional requirements will vary depending on the program.

Practitioner Teacher Program: This program combines coursework and on-the job experiences. You must be able to commit full-time to this program. The practitioner teacher program is available for teacher interested in becoming certified in grades PK-3, 1-5, 4-8, 6-12, All-level (K-12), and Mild/Moderate special education.

Master’s Degree Program: You can work towards completing this program as a full-time or part-time student. If you successfully complete this program you will hold a master’s degree and a teacher certification. The certification can be valid for any one of the following grade ranges: PK-3, 1-5, 4-8, 6-12, All-level (K-12), and all special education areas.

Certification–Only Program: This program can be completed online or face-to-face. Completion of this program can lead to certification in any of the following areas: Grades PK-3, 1-5, 4-8, 6-12, All-level (K-12), and all special education areas except Mild/Moderate.

By joining one of the above programs, you will be eligible to earn a teaching certification that corresponds to your program. For example, those in the master’s degree program can earn the PL 3- Master’s Alternate Program. Theses certifications are referred to as Practitioner Licenses and allow you to teach while completing the program. Each PL is valid for one year and can be renewed for up to three while you complete the program requirements.