How to Earn a Teaching License in Nebraska
If you want to teach in Nebraska, your first step is to earn certification. While there are different pathways to doing this, your options depend on your current level of education and experience.
This guide can help you determine what’s right for you at any point in your education or career. Perhaps you’re just beginning your journey and need to know about Nebraska’s certification process. Or maybe you want to learn how to earn your advanced certification in an area of specialty, or you’re already teaching but looking to move to Nebraska from out of state.
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 Nebraska.
Requirements for Teachers
Nebraska had an average student-to-teacher ratio of 14.1 in 2022, a ratio below the median of 15:1 for all U.S. states that year, according to the National Education Association (NEA). With a workable class size, teachers have more opportunities to educate and encourage students on a personal level. Getting a teaching license in Nebraska can give you the chance to make an impact one student at a time.
Requirements for initial Nebraska teacher certification include completion of a bachelor’s degree and a teacher education program at a state-approved institution. If you are just starting out, you can earn a bachelor’s degree as part of your required teacher education program. The Nebraska Department of Education requires candidates to complete coursework in the areas of Human Relations Training and Special Education Training. Scores on the Praxis Core basic skills test and the Praxis Subject Assessment that aligns with your specific certification also are required.
In addition to meeting the education and assessment criteria, you must prove that you have worked as a teacher in a state-approved school or completed at least six credit hours in education in the five years prior to submitting your certification application. This traditional route qualifies you for a five-year Initial Teaching Certificate.
To progress to a five-year Standard Teaching Certificate, you must have two consecutive years of half time or more teaching experience with a regular Initial Certificate. You can earn a 10-year Professional Certificate if you have two consecutive years of half time or more teaching experience with a regular certificate and have earned a master’s degree in an approved subject area within 10 years of your application.
Minimum Education Requirements for Nebraska Teachers
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement for Nebraska teachers pursuing an Initial Teaching Certificate. You also must complete a teacher education program through a state-approved college or university. In addition, Nebraska initial teacher certification requires coursework in both Human Relations Training and Special Education Training.
The Human Relations Training component requires a pre-approved course that includes instruction on six skills related to classroom diversity. You can meet this requirement in a state-approved teacher education program. If you did not complete a formal course but have work experience in which you had the opportunity to learn the six skills taught in the required curriculum, you can write a narrative that explains how your experience helped you acquire each skill.
You can meet the Special Education Training requirement by completing an approved Special Education course that provides instruction on five skills for teaching the exceptional child in the classroom. This coursework is included as a component of an approved teacher education program. If you did not complete an approved Special Education course but have work experience in which you earned the five skills provided in the required curriculum, you can write a narrative that addresses how your experience relates to each skill.
Student teaching that includes practicum and a clinical experience is necessary to fulfill the requirements of a state-approved teacher education program in Nebraska. Your practicum experience must consist of at least 100 clock hours of contact with students prior to your clinical experience. The practicum can include a range of activities such as observation, instruction or research in educational environments where students are served.
You also must complete a clinical practice in a Nebraska school system or an approved school in another state. Your clinical experience must last at least 14 full-day weeks for one field endorsement, one field endorsement and one subject endorsement, or up to two subject endorsements at the same level. A clinical experience of at least 18 full-day weeks is necessary if you are seeking two field endorsements, one field endorsement and one subject endorsement not specified in the field endorsement, one field endorsement and one subject endorsement not at the same grade level, or two subject endorsements not at the same grade level. An additional nine full-day weeks of clinical practice experience is required for each additional field or subject endorsement.
Pass Nebraska Certification Exams
You must pass specific Nebraska certification exams for an Initial Teaching Certificate. You must fulfill a basic skills requirement by passing the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators assessments in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. This is required for all teaching and administrative certificates unless you have two years of professional teaching experience. You also must achieve required scores on the Praxis Subject Assessment that correlates with type of certification you are pursuing.
After you have accomplished the academic and experience requirements for an Initial Teaching Certificate, you are ready to submit an application on the Nebraska Department of Education (DOE) website. You also must pay a non-refundable application fee by credit card here.
In addition to an application form, you must provide official transcripts from any college or university where you earned credits. Official transcripts sent electronically or in a sealed envelope directly from your institution to the DOE Teacher Certification are required. Your scores from the Praxis basic skills test and Praxis Subject Assessments will be sent directly to the DOE from Educational Testing Service (ETS).
In addition to your application, you must submit fingerprint cards for a background check. You can request a fingerprint packet 24 hours after you submit your online application. If you have or previously held a Nebraska educator certificate or permit or you have been a continuous resident of Nebraska for the preceding five years, you do not have to submit fingerprint cards.
When you submit your application, it is assigned to a DOE Certification Analyst. Within four to eight weeks of submitting your application, your assigned Analyst will contact you via email with a checklist of any forms or documents that your application requires for completion.
How Much Do Teachers in Nebraska Make?
Teachers in Nebraska earn salaries according to their years of experience and level of education. Considerations such as type of certification and school district finances also can affect how much money teachers make. Some average Nebraska teacher salaries are indicated here.
|Early Childhood Educator||$37,300|
|Elementary School Teacher||$60,700|
|Secondary School Teacher||$60,900|
|Special Education Teacher||$62,870|
Job Growth for High School Teachers through 2031
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics, 2021
You can earn specialty certifications in Nebraska that authorize you to teach specific grade levels and content areas while holding an Initial Teaching Certificate. You can add endorsements to an existing certificate or permit by meeting the educational and Praxis assessment qualifications in place when you submit your application. If you add a specialty area endorsement for the same grade level as the endorsements on your certificate, you do not have to fulfill student teaching experience requirements for the new endorsement.
Early Childhood Education
You can earn certification in Early Childhood Education in Nebraska with an Early Childhood Inclusive (Birth through Grade 3) certificate. This allows you to teach children birth through grade 3, including those with special developmental and/or learning needs. To qualify, you must complete a bachelor’s degree and an approved early childhood education teacher education program. You can complete a bachelor’s degree in your teacher education program. Post-baccalaureate programs that offer a certificate or master’s degree also are available if you qualify.
Completion of the Human Resources Training and Special Education Training curriculum or approved related experience is required for an Initial Teaching Certificate. You also must achieve passing scores in the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests and the Praxis Education of Young Children subject tests.
Elementary School Teacher
For certification as an elementary school teacher in Nebraska, you can earn the Elementary Education (K-6) certificate. This certification authorizes you to teach all elementary subjects in kindergarten through grade 6 in all schools and grades 7 and 8 in self-contained classrooms. To qualify, you must have a bachelor’s degree and completion of a state-approved elementary education teacher education program. This can be accomplished in a program that offers a bachelor’s degree or post-baccalaureate certificate or master’s degree depending on your education credentials.
Your coursework must satisfy the Human Resources Training and Special Education Training requirements or you must meet the experience substitutes. For an Initial Teaching Certificate, required examinations include the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests in Reading, Writing and Mathematics and the Praxis Elementary Education: Curriculum and Instruction Assessment.
Secondary School Teacher
To work as a secondary school teacher in Nebraska, you must earn certification in a content area for grades 7-12. To do so, you need a bachelor’s degree with a major of at least 30 semester hours in your subject area and a state-approved teacher preparation program. You can do this by completing a teacher preparation program that awards a bachelor’s degree, post-baccalaureate certificate or master’s degree.
Your academic requirements include coursework in Human Resources Training and Special Education Training or the experience equivalents. To earn an Initial Teaching Certificate, you must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests in Reading, Writing and Mathematics and the Praxis assessment that aligns with the content area of your certification.
Substitute Teacher Certification
Nebraska offers two types of substitute teacher certification, State Substitute Teacher and Local Substitute Teacher. Both certifications require fingerprint background clearance for candidates who have not been a resident of Nebraska for at least five years prior to application.
A five-year State Substitute Teaching Permit allows you to teach any subject at any level for no more than 90 days in the same assignment, though you can teach an unlimited number of days per year. The requirements for a State Substitute Teacher are a bachelor’s degree and completion of a teacher education program at an approved college or university. You also must meet the Human Relations Training requirement or provide proof of having met the requirement from experience.
The three-year Local Substitute Teaching Certificate authorizes you to teach for a total of 45 days in one school year. The license is requested by the superintendent of an employing school system and is only valid for schools in that system. To qualify, you need a minimum of 60 semester credit hours of college courses with at least one course in professional education. You also must meet the requirement for coursework or work experience in Human Relations Training.
Physical Education (PE) Certification
You can earn Physical Education (PE) certification for grades PK-6, 7-12 or PK-12 in Nebraska. A bachelor’s degree or higher with physical education major or a related degree with at least 30 semester hours in physical education courses is required for endorsements in grades PK-6 or 7-12. If you are seeking both the PK-6 and 7-12 endorsement or the PK-12 endorsement, you must have a minimum of 42 hours of physical education coursework for both elementary and secondary school physical education programs.
In addition, you must complete an approved physical education teacher education program, which can include a bachelor’s degree, post-baccalaureate certificate or master’s degree program. Additional requirements include coursework or approved experience in Human Relations Training and Special Education Training. You must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators basic skills tests and the Physical Education: Content Knowledge subject area assessment for an Initial Teaching Certificate.
Special Education Certification
You can choose Nebraska Special Education certifications that match the type of special education services you wish to pursue. Your options include Special Education Generalist (K-6), (7-12) (K-12); Deaf or Hard of Hearing Education (Birth-12), (PK-6), (7-12); Early Childhood (Birth-K); Early Intervention Specialist (Birth-K); Functional Academic Skills and Independent Living Specialist (Birth-12); and Inclusion and Collaboration Specialist (PK-12). All certifications require a bachelor’s degree or higher and an approved special education teacher education program.
Additional requirements include coursework or approved experience in Human Relations Training and Special Education Training. You must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators basic skills tests and the Praxis Subject Assessments that aligns with your desired Special Education certification.
English as a Second Language Certification
English as a Second Language (ESL) certification in Nebraska can be earned or grade levels PK-12, PK-6, 4-9 or 7-12. ESL certification is offered as a supplemental certification area requiring 15 semester hours of ESL coursework in an approved teacher education program. You also must complete a 45-hour practicum working with ESL students at the grade level of the certification being pursued. Once you achieve this endorsement, you can teach ESL in the grade levels for which you are certified. No content test is required for ESL certification.
Certifications for School Administrators
Certifications for school administrators in Nebraska are offered as five-year Standard Administrative Certificates. Specialty areas include Principal (PK-12), (PK-8), or (7-12) and Superintendent (PK-12). Principal certification candidates must complete 36 graduate semester hours in a state-approved program in educational administration if they are seeking certification at the same grade level as their teaching endorsement. For Principal certification at a different level from teaching certification, candidates must complete an additional nine graduate credit hours specific to the new level.
Two years of teaching experience and a 250-hour internship at the level of certification desired also are necessary for Principal certification. Required assessments include the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests and the Praxis Education Leadership: Administration and Supervision.
For Superintendent certification, candidates must have a regular teaching certificate, an administrative certificate and a minimum of two years experience as a teacher. Certification requirements include completion of a master’s degree or at least 60 graduate semester hours in educational administration or educational leadership. Completion of an educational specialist, doctoral or other state-approved program for superintendent preparation also is acceptable. Candidates must complete a one-semester internship in an approved school system and the Praxis School Superintendent Assessment.
Teaching Reciprocity Agreements in Nebraska
Teaching reciprocity agreements in Nebraska can help you apply out-of-state education and professional experience toward certification here. If you have a valid teaching license from another state, your credentials may fulfill the requirements for certification in Nebraska, saving you time and educational expenses.
|NASDTEC Interstate Agreement||Nebraska participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement.|
|State Grants Full Reciprocity||Nebraska does not offer full reciprocity.|
|Coursework Requirements||All teaching applicants must prove their completion of training in human relations and special education coursework or related experience. Nebraska also requires proof of recent college credits or work experience with the five years prior to receiving an Initial, Standard or Professional License. You may qualify for a Provisional License that allows you to earn training or other requirements while being employed.|
|Test-out or Exemption||An exemption is available. Out-of-state certification applicants can provide proof of relevant work experience to substitute for training requirements.|
|Assessment Requirements||Candidates from out-of-state must achieve passing scores on the Praxis Core basic skills tests and the Praxis subject assessments that relate to their area of certification. They may qualify for a Provisional License while completing required assessments.|
|Different Requirements Based on Experience||Out-of-state teachers must show proof of completing recent college credits or work experience in the five years prior to receiving an Initial, Standard or Professional License. They may qualify for a Provisional License while they fulfill the experience requirements.|
|Performance Requirements||Out-of-state teachers do not need to provide proof of performance.|
|Special Reciprocity for Advanced Credentials||Out-of-state teachers are not eligible for reciprocity based on advanced credentials. Out-of-state teachers can obtain a Provisional License while acquiring the credentials necessary for a Professional License.|
Information reported by the Education Commission of the States.
Alternate Teaching Certification
Nebraska offers alternate teaching certification via a two-year nonrenewable Alternative Program Teaching Permit. This allows you to begin teaching while you complete the requirements for full certification. To qualify, you must have a bachelor’s degree, qualifications for one or more teaching endorsements and a written permit request from your employing school district.
You must have completed the required coursework of an approved teacher education program, including 50 percent of the pre-student teaching requirements and 75 percent of the requirements for at least one subject area. You also can qualify for the permit if you completed a state-approved alternative teacher education program, hold a current out-of-state teaching license and have one year of approved teaching experience in the last five years.
Teach for America
Teach for America, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting education equality, places teachers in 53 U.S. communities that are desperate for committed and certified teachers. Teach for America corps are promising college graduates who reside in school districts where they can make a difference as teachers and community leaders. While Teach for America does not place teachers in Nebraska, college graduates from here can apply to participate in locations in other states.
Transition into Teaching for Career Changers
The Transitional Certificate Program (TCP) helps career changers earn a Nebraska Transitional Teaching Certificate to begin teaching while completing the requirements for full certification. Program participants must have a bachelor’s degree or higher with at least 75 percent of coursework completed in a secondary field or subject endorsement area. The employing school system must request the Transitional Teaching Certificate and indicate that a fully qualified teacher is not available for the position. Candidates must have proof of a plan that shows mentoring and supervision by the employing school system. Before teaching in a classroom, candidates must complete a pre-teaching seminar.
Nebraska Attracting Excellence to Teaching Program (AETP)
The Nebraska Attracting Excellence to Teaching Program (AETP) awards forgivable loans to undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in an initial teacher education program at qualifying Nebraska institutions. Annual loan awards are up to $3,000 for up to five consecutive years. After the AETP loan recipient completes two years of teaching full time, the loans are forgiven at a rate of up to $3,000 every year the recipient teaches. AETP recipients can earn loan forgiveness up to $6,000 for every year of teaching by working in high need school districts or low income schools