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How to Get a Teaching License in Ohio

Certified teachers are in demand in Ohio where over 3,500 public schools serve 1.7 million students across the state. With fewer Ohio college graduates pursuing bachelor’s degrees in education, the state’s school districts are competing to fill vacancies from a smaller applicant pool. As a prospective teaching candidate here, you can be more selective in choosing a position where you can make a difference.

Read on to learn about the different ways to get teacher certification in Ohio, and check out the video below for key facts about teaching in the state.

Education Requirements for Ohio Teachers

The requirements for Ohio teacher certification include a bachelor’s degree and a state-approved educator preparation program related to the specific certification you are pursuing. You also must pass the specific Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) that test pedagogical and content knowledge relative to your type of certification. Most types of certification also require passing an assessment based on the principles of research-based reading instruction. Background checks by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and FBI are required for all certifications.

Ohio has a tiered teacher certification system. New teaching candidates earn a four-year Resident Educator license, which allows you to become part of the Ohio Resident Educator program in the school or district where you work. During this period, you will receive mentoring during the first two years, technical support for submission of performance-based assessments during the third year and district-specific education during the fourth year. After completion of a four-year Resident Educator Program, you are eligible to apply for a five-year Professional teaching license.

Besides a bachelor’s degree, you also most complete an educator preparation program approved by the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. State-approved programs have the authority to recommend candidates for an Ohio educator license. First-time certification candidates typically complete a bachelor’s degree as part of an educator preparation program. However, you also can pursue post-baccalaureate educator preparation programs that allow you to earn a certificate or graduate degree if you previously earned a bachelor’s degree.

Most types of teacher certification in Ohio require the completion of coursework on the teaching of reading. This curriculum is included in state-approved educator preparation programs. Early Childhood, Middle Childhood and Intervention Specialist certifications require 12 semester hours of reading coursework. Certifications in Multi-Age, Adolescence to Young Adult and Career-Technical require three semester hours of reading curriculum. In addition, state-approved educator preparation programs must include curriculum related to substance abuse education.

Student Teaching

Student teaching is included in all Ohio state-approved educator preparation programs. As part of your program requirements, you must complete at least 100 clock hours of field experiences prior to student teaching for your initial certification. For a second certification, you must complete at least 50 clock hours of field experiences. Completion of a full-time student teaching assignment lasting a minimum of 12 weeks also is required.

Pass Ohio Certification Exams

Ohio requires a passing grade on the Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) related to the type of certification you desire. The Evaluation Systems group of Pearson administers OAEs. If you are a first-time certification candidate, you must pass the OAE Pedagogical Knowledge Assessment for the grade level of the certification you want. You also must pass the OAE content assessments that correlate with your certification.

Additional required assessments include the OAE Foundations of Reading exam if you are a candidate for certification in Early Childhood (grades PK-3), Middle Childhood (Grades 4-9), Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (PK-3) and Intervention Specialist: Mild/Moderate Needs (grades K-12), Moderate/Intensive Needs (grades K-12), Gifted (grades K-12), Hearing Impaired (grades PK-12) or Visually Impaired (grades PK-12).

If you are applying for certification in a foreign language, you also must pass the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages/Language Testing International (ACTFL/LTI) World Language Examination for your foreign language. Candidates for certification in audiology, school psychologist, speech-language pathology and a third-grade reading guarantee must take the appropriate Praxis II assessments administered by Educational Testing Services (ETS).

Candidates for teacher certification in Ohio are required to pass just one Pedagogical Knowledge Assessment in their careers. New content and licensure areas can be added by passing the OAE content-area exam associated with the new certification.

Apply

Upon completion of all certification requirements, the dean or administrator of your educator preparation program must recommend you for certification to the Office of Educator Licensure. You must initiate your certification application via the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) Connected Ohio Records for Educators system or ODE.CORE. The ODE.CORE website is accessible by signing in to the Security Application for Enterprise (SAFE) portal. First-time candidates apply for an initial four-year Resident Educator License.

Your application for teacher certification must be submitted within 12 months of completing your educator preparation program. Typically, your transcripts and assessment scores are submitted electronically. Payment of the application fee also is submitted online.

At the time you submit your application for your first Ohio teacher certification, you’ll need a baseline criminal background check by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal and the FBI. Background checks are conducted via the online WebCheck system so that your results can be sent directly to the ODE. Only BCI and FBI background checks that are less than one year old at the time of application are acceptable.

How Much Do Teachers in Ohio Make?

Teachers in Ohio earn salaries based on considerations that include a teacher’s education, level of experience, specialty certification and the finances available from a school district’s budget. Some average teaching salaries in Ohio are listed here.

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Job Growth for Teachers through 2026

Position Average Salary
Early Childhood Educator $27,110
Elementary School Teacher $59,000
Secondary School Teacher $59,610
Special Education Teacher $40,280
School Administrator $83,780
School Principal $92,510*
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics; *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

Specialty Certifications

Ohio offers eight types of specialty certifications. The certifications determine the type of students you are authorized to teach. Specialty certifications in Ohio include Early Childhood (grades PK-3) Licensure, Middle Childhood (Grades 4-9) Licensure, Adolescence to Young Adult Licensure (grades 7 to 12), Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (PK-3) Licensure, Intervention Specialist Licensure (PK-12) or (K-12) in a specific content area, Multi-age Licensure in a specific content area (Grades PK-12), Career Technical Licensure and Associate Licensure.

Early Childhood Education

type-preschoolYou can earn certification as an early childhood teacher in Ohio with Early Childhood Licensure. This certification authorizes you to teach students from Prekindergarten through the 3rd grade. It requires a bachelor’s degree or higher and completion of a state-approved educator preparation program in Early Childhood Education, which includes a 12-semester hour requirement in reading instruction techniques. You also must pass the OAE Pedagogy Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Early Childhood (PK-3), the OAE Early Childhood Assessment and OAE Foundations of Reading exams.

If you want to concentrate on teaching the youngest students, you can choose to pursue an Associate certificate, which authorizes you to teach prekindergarten ages 3 to 5 only. This certification requires the completion of an associate degree or higher and passing grades on OAE Prekindergarten Content Assessments (Subtests I and II).

Elementary School Teacher

type-elementaryTo pursue a career as an elementary school teacher in Ohio, you can earn certification with the Early Childhood Licensure to teach students from Prekindergarten through the 3rd grade. You must complete a bachelor’s degree and a state-approved educator preparation program in Early Childhood Education, including a 12-semester hour requirement in reading instruction techniques. Requirements also include passing grades on the OAE Pedagogy Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Early Childhood (PK-3), the OAE Early Childhood Assessment and OAE Foundations of Reading exams.

You can obtain certification to teach older elementary school children by earning Middle Childhood Licensure, which authorizes you to teach students in grades 4 through 9. This certification requires a bachelor’s degree and specialization in two fields that include Language Arts and Reading, Mathematics, Science or Social Studies. Requirements include a state-approved educator preparation program in Middle Childhood Education (Grades 4-9), including a 12-semester hour requirement in reading instruction techniques. Required assessments include the OAE Pedagogy Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Middle Childhood (4-9) and the OAE Foundations of Reading. You also must pass at least two OAE Middle Grades Content Assessments in the specific subjects that you are applying to teach.

Secondary School Teacher

type-highschoolYou can be a secondary school teacher in Ohio if you obtain the Adolescence to Young Adult (7-12) Licensure. This certification authorizes you to teach students in grades 7 through 12 in one specific content area. Requirements include a bachelor’s degree or higher and completion of a state-approved educator preparation program in Integrated Language Arts, Integrated Mathematics, Integrated Social Studies or Integrated Science and all Science Programs.

Each program includes a three-semester hour requirement in reading instruction techniques. Required assessments include the OAE Pedagogy Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Adolescence to Young Adult (7-12) and the content assessment that correlates to the subject area in which you are seeking secondary school certification. The OAE Foundations of Reading exam is not required for this certification.

Substitute Teacher Certification

type-substituteOhio has two types of substitute teacher certification. Short-term substitute teacher certification permits you to teach up to 60 school days in a given classroom. Long-term teacher certification authorizes you to teach for periods longer than 60 days. Substitute teacher certification is valid for a period of one year or five years, depending on the needs of the hiring location.

The minimum requirement for substitute teacher certification in Ohio is a bachelor’s degree, except for career-technical teaching licenses, which can be granted based on experience. Additional requirements for long-term substitute teacher certification vary. To apply for a long-term Early Childhood substitute teacher license, your bachelor’s degree must include 12 semester hours in professional education leading to an early childhood license. A long-term substitute license in Middle-Childhood, Adolescence to Young Adult, or Multi-Age must include 20 semester hours of coursework in the subject field for which licensure is requested.

Before applying for substitute teacher certification, you must be hired by a school, district or educational service center and notify your employer that you will be naming them to electronically sign your substitute teacher application. You can apply for substitute teacher certification with an online application from the Office of Educator Licensure. Substitute teachers who do not have a valid background check on file from previous educator license, certificate or permit must submit to a criminal history check by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the FBI.

Physical Education (PE) Certification

type-physical-educationYou can earn Physical Education (PE) certification in Ohio by obtaining a Multi-Age Licensure (PK-12) with a specialty in physical education (PE). This authorizes you to teach PE across all grade levels. Certification requirements include a bachelor’s degree or higher and completion of a state-approved educator preparation program in PE, including a three-semester hour requirement in reading instruction techniques. You also must pass the OAE Pedagogy Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Multi-Age (PK to 12) and the OAE Physical Education content assessment. The OAE Foundations of Reading exam is not required for this certification.

Special Education Certification

type-special-educationYou can earn Special Education certification in Ohio by obtaining an Interventional Specialist Licensure, which permits you to teach grades PK-12 or K-12, depending on your choice of certification. You can choose specialties in Early Childhood (PK-3), Hearing Impaired (PK-12), Mild/Moderate Needs (K-12), Moderate/Intensive Needs (K-12), Visually Impaired (PK-12) or Gifted (K-12). Requirements include a bachelor’s degree and completion of a state-approved Interventional Specialist educator preparation program that concentrates on the type of special education certification you are pursuing.

All Interventional Specialist programs include a 12-semester hour requirement in reading instruction techniques. Required assessments include an OAE Pedagogy Assessment of Professional Knowledge (PK-3) for Early Childhood certification and OAE Pedagogy Assessment of Professional Knowledge (PK-12) for all others, except Gifted. You also must pass an OAE content area assessment related to the type of certification you are pursuing and the OAE Foundations in Reading exam. Certification in Gifted (K-12) requires only the OAE Reading assessment.

English as a Second Language Certification

type-tesolEnglish as a Second Language certification in Ohio is available by obtaining a Multi-Age Licensure (PK-12) and specializing in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). This authorizes you to teach English as a second language across all grade levels. Requirements include a bachelor’s degree or higher and completion of a state-approved educator preparation program in TESOL, including a three-semester hour requirement in reading instruction techniques. You also must pass the OAE Pedagogy Assessment of Professional Knowledge: Multi-Age (PK to 12) and the OAE TESOL content assessment. The OAE Foundations of Reading exam is not a requirement for this certification.

Certifications for School Administrators

type-principalCertification for school administrators in Ohio includes a five-year Professional Administrator License. Requirements include a master’s degree and completion of a state-approved Administrator preparation program. Specializations are offered as Principal (PK-6), Principal (4-9), Principal (5-12), Superintendent and Administrative Specialist in six different areas. A passing grade in the OAE Educational Leadership content assessment also is required. A candidate for principal certification must have two years of successful teaching experience with students of the ages and the grade levels for which certification is desired. For superintendent certification, a candidate must have three years of experience in a position that required a Principal or Administrative Specialist certification.

Teaching Reciprocity Agreements in Ohio

Understanding reciprocity agreements in Ohio is important if you are pursuing teacher certification with an education and/or professional experience achieved in another state. You may be able to accelerate your receipt of an Ohio teacher certification or bypass some requirements with appropriate out-of-state credentials.

Requirement Description
NASDTEC Interstate Agreement Ohio participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement.
State Grants Full Reciprocity Ohio does not grant full reciprocity to out-of-state certification candidates.
Coursework Requirements Out-of-state candidates may have additional coursework requirements depending on the type of certification they pursue. For certification in Early Childhood, Middle Childhood or Intervention Specialist, candidates must complete 12 semester hours in reading coursework. Those without this credential may qualify for an out-of-state license with limitation to have time to complete the coursework. Educators must complete at least half of the required 12 semester hours of reading coursework to qualify for a standard teaching license.
Test-out or Exemption Ohio does not offer test-out or exemption for out-of-state candidates.
Assessment Requirements Out-of-state candidates who do not have proof of passing a content assessment and professional knowledge/pedagogy assessment in their home state must take the OAEs. In addition, those pursuing certification in Early Childhood, Middle Childhood or Intervention Specialist are required to pass the Foundations of Reading assessment.
Different Requirements Based on Experience Out-of-state candidates with three or more years of professional experience and a standard out-of-state license may qualify for a Professional Educator license. Those with less than three years of experience and an out-of-state license may apply for a Resident Educator or Out-of-State Educator license.
Performance Requirements Ohio does not have performance requirements associated with teacher certification reciprocity.
Special Reciprocity for Advanced Credentials Candidates with a standard teacher license and three or more years of out-of-state professional experience may qualify for a Professional Educator license. Candidates who have an out-of-state license with less than three years of experience may be eligible for a Resident Educator or Out-of-State Educator license.
Information reported by the Education Commission of the States.

Alternate Teaching Certification

Ohio offers alternate teacher certification for students who want an accelerated option. Candidates who have a bachelor’s degree with a grade point average of 2.5 or higher from an accredited college or university can pursue an Alternative Resident Educator License for Teaching a Designated Subject in Grades K-12. You also must pass the OAE Content Assessment for the subject area in which you are seeking certification.

Upon acceptance of an Evaluation Request Application, you will be enrolled in the Intensive Pedagogical Training Institute (IPTI). This online program consists of three learning modules and 25 hours of IPTI-approved field experience within six months of IPTI acceptance. Upon completion of the IPTI requirements, you will receive a statement of eligibility for an alternative license, which can be changed into a four-year alternative resident educator license when you secure a teaching position.

Teach for America

Teach for America is national organization that works toward education equality around the country. In Ohio, volunteers live and work in school districts that serve the Greater Cleveland area in northeast Ohio, and Dayton and Cleveland in the southwest. Teach for America recruits college graduates who have leadership qualities and a commitment to the organization’s mission. Participation is by a competitive application process. Once selected, volunteers take part in an intensive training program to help them earn Ohio teacher certification before they assume classroom positions.

Troops to Teachers

Troops to Teachers, an organization managed by DANTES for the U.S. Department of Defense, helps active and retired members of the U.S. military begin new careers as teachers. If you are eligible, you can receive support in transitioning to a teaching career and meeting Ohio teacher certification requirements. As a candidate in Troops to Teachers, you may qualify for a stipend to help pay for teacher certification expenses or a bonus for accepting a teaching position in a high-needs school.

Active or honorably discharged service members of the U.S. military, National Guard or Reserve and the Ohio Military Reserve or Ohio Naval Militia (under the Ohio Adjutant General) do not have to pay certification fees for educator licenses, permits, certificates and renewals in Ohio. The DOE also offers fee waivers to the husbands and wives of service members on active duty.

Transition into Teaching for Career Changers

If you’re a career changer with a bachelor degree in a non-education field, you can transition into teaching with state-approved post-baccalaureate educator preparation programs. You can choose from programs that solely offer instruction in teacher preparation or those that provide educator preparation with the completion of a graduate degree. Career changers with five or more years of full-time experience in career fields related to agriculture, business, family and consumer sciences, health careers, marketing, or trade and industry, may be eligible to pursue a Career-Technical Workforce Development license in their area of specialty.

Supplemental License

Once you gain a valid Ohio teaching certificate, you can earn a license to teach in a supplemental area. This credential allows you to teach in a supplemental area at the request of your employing Ohio school district while you complete the process for obtaining standard certification in that area. Supplemental licenses can be earned in Early Childhood (grades PK-3), Middle Childhood (Grades 4-9), Adolescence to Young Adult (grades 7 to 12), Intervention Specialist (PK-12) or (K-12) in a specific content area, Multi-age (PK-12) in a specific content area, a specific endorsement area or Career Technical.

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