Find an Education Path For Teaching in Kentucky, (KY)
If you decide that you want to be a teacher, there are certain steps to follow. The first step depends on where you are now on the path toward reaching your goal. Please choose the highest level of education that you have achieved and we will guide you through the steps to take as you advance towards a teaching career in Kentucky.
Choose Your Highest Level of Education
- I have graduated from High School or Earned a GED…
- Have some college or an Associate’s Degree
- Earned a Bachelor’s Degree…
- Earned a Master’s Degree…
The information below will help you discover the steps you should take to become a teacher in Kentucky.
If You Have a High School Diploma or a GED
The Kentucky Department of Education has partnered with Future Educators Association to support high school students who are interested in pursuing careers as educators. High school graduates with a diploma or a GED certificate are encouraged to continue their education by applying for admission to an education program at a two-year or four-year college. Attending college to study education is a major step on the path toward entering the teaching profession in Kentucky.
- Learn about accredited schools that offer Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees focusing on education, specific academic content areas or student populations.
- Decide what grade level and subject area you are interested in teaching.
- Contact colleges that fit your needs, and request information to help you make a decision about what school to attend and what degree program to pursue.
If You Have Completed Some College or Earned an Associate’s Degree
Community and two-year colleges offer Associate degrees and certificates that can qualify you for employment opportunities in the early childhood education field. Taking education-related college classes and general core requirements that result in an Associate degree will give aspiring teachers a head start when they transfer to a four-year degree program. Earning a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in Education will give prospective teachers a solid foundation for future teaching careers.
- An Associate degree from a regionally accredited two-year or community college may allow you to complete general education core courses and satisfy prerequisites necessary to transfer credits to a Bachelor’s degree program. Earning an Associate degree in Early Childhood Education can qualify you to enter certain four-year colleges as a Junior, eligible to study for a Bachelor’s degree with a major in a program such as Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education.
- Investigate various state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs to find out which ones will accept transfer credits from the college you attended. Contact the schools that interest you to request more information.
- If you attended a Kentucky-approved two-year college and earned a certificate or degree in the education field, you can continue on to a four-year education degree that includes Kentucky’s mandatory Teacher Preparation program.
- Some aspiring teachers, who have earned Associate Degrees or Credentials in Early Childhood Education, choose to seek employment shortly after graduation. An Early Childhood Education certificate or Associate degree may qualify you to begin working with infants, toddlers and pre-school children as a teaching assistant, a para-educator, a Head Start teacher or a childcare worker.
If You Have a Bachelor’s Degree
Kentucky requires prospective teachers to successfully complete a Bachelor’s degree before they are eligible to apply for an Initial Teaching Certificate. The state also requires teaching candidates to participate in The Kentucky Teacher Internship Program (KTIP). This internship program was designed to provide support to new teachers, its goal being to help them experience a successful first year in the classroom. The next steps toward licensing will be determined in part by the choice of undergraduate major.
- If you have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in conjunction with an accredited Teacher Preparation Program, you have already fulfilled essential academic and teacher preparation requirements. Teacher Preparation Programs include coursework and classroom observations, fieldwork, and student teaching. Successful completion of all degree and teacher preparation requirements will qualify you to apply for a teaching certificate or license.
- Before you enter a teacher education program, you may be required to take the Praxis I tests to demonstrate your qualifications. Because each preparation program may have different requirements, you should consult with an advisor before registering for the exam. Mandatory testing for teachers in Kentucky includes passing the Praxis II Specialty Area assessments for each content area of certification. Also required is the Principles of Learning and Teaching exam for the grade level you plan to teach.
- Earning a Bachelor’s degree with a major in liberal studies can be an important step toward certification as an Elementary level teacher. Some certification programs recommend the Liberal Arts major, because it prepares educators to teach in the many different subject areas taught in Elementary school classrooms.
- If you received your Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in the specific subject you wish to teach, you may have already satisfied some certificate programs’ recommended academic requirements. Majoring in a specific subject taught at the secondary school level prepares individuals to become endorsed or qualified to teach high school and middle school classes in that content area.
- Prospective educators, from Kentucky or elsewhere, who’s Bachelor’s degree is not Education, must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program at a regionally accredited institution. Some of these preparation programs have a Post-Baccalaureate option and some are combined with graduate level Master’s in Education programs.
- To apply for licensing, specific state-mandated qualifications must be met. You will need to present evidence of the following: completion of all coursework required to be granted a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, verification that you have finished your teacher preparation program, plus documentation that you have fulfilled all student teaching hours and passed all mandatory Praxis exams. After you have succeeded in taking all of these steps, you will be qualified to submit the official application for an Initial License to teach in Kentucky.
If You Have a Master’s Degree or are in a Master’s Degree program
There are a variety of state-approved Master’s degrees in the field of education. This means you can choose from different paths as you advance toward becoming a certified educator in Kentucky. Choices include: four separate Master of Arts in Teaching degrees, for Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle or Secondary School Teachers; and a Master of Arts or Master of Science in Education degree. These graduate level degree programs are designed to incorporate Kentucky’s teacher certification requirements into the Master’s degree curriculum.
- Accredited universities with graduate programs in education offer a range of Master’s degrees that can lead you to a teaching license and a career as an educator. Master of Arts or Master of Science in Education, or Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees may be offered concurrently with a Teacher Preparation program that is required for certification. You may also have the opportunity to focus on Elementary or Secondary Education, with an emphasis on the subject area you hope to teach.
- When you are ready to begin your teaching career, you must demonstrate that you have completed all requirements for certification or licensure. These steps include finishing required academic coursework, completing an approved Teacher Preparation Program, passing mandated tests, and fulfilling student teaching hours. The next step is to apply for your teaching certificate and begin searching for a job in the education field. Contact the Kentucky Department of Education to request an application.
- Some people who have earned a Master’s degree in Education may decide to continue their education and pursue a doctoral degree. Earning an Educational Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) or a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) may increase your opportunities for a better job and a higher income. Gathering information about available doctorate degrees in your field or specialty will provide the information necessary to discover the best university and education program to meet your needs.