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Teacher Certification in Kentucky

Kentucky has close to 1250 public preschool, elementary school, middle and high schools that serve 650,000 Kentucky children and teens. The Education Professional Standards Board is responsible for issuing and renewing certificates for all Kentucky teachers. Kentucky is committed to maintaining and improving the quality of its schools and to hiring excellent teachers to educate all the students of the state.

  

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Types of Certification

  • Preparation for Kentucky teaching certificates is based on grade levels, specializations, and content area endorsements. Applicants must satisfy certain requirements to be certified in one of the following grade levels or specialties:
    • Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (Birth to Primary).
    • Elementary School (Primary through Grade 5).
    • Middle School (Grades 5 through 9)
    • Secondary School (Grades 8 through 12)
    • Middle/Secondary School (Grades 5 through 12)
    • Elementary/Middle/Secondary School (Primary through Grade 12)
    • Exceptional Children (Primary through Grade 12)

Application Materials

  • All applicants must submit the following for certification:
  • Completed application form.
  • Official transcripts of all graduate and undergraduate coursework.
  • Verification by the Superintendent or Personnel Director of full-time classroom teaching experience at the appropriate grade level(s).
  • Passing scores on the Praxis II Specialty Area tests for each area of certification.
  • Passing test scores for the Principles of Learning and Teaching exam for appropriate grade range.
  • Verification of successful completion of an approved college or university teacher preparation program.

Standard Teacher Certification

The Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board, in cooperation with educational institutions and school districts, establishes standards and requirements for all teacher certification candidates. A full Kentucky teacher’s license is valid for five years and is renewable. Before becoming a licensed teacher, each applicant must meet all of Kentucky’s teacher certification requirements, including:

  • Graduation from a bachelor’s or higher degree program.
  • Completion of an approved teacher education program that is approved to lead to teacher certification and that is offered by a regionally accredited college or university, that leads to teacher.
  • Verification that the teacher preparation program included student teaching and testing.
  • Passing scores on all required Praxis exams.
  • Recency of study, meaning the teacher candidate must have completed teacher education program or six hours of graduate coursework no more than five years before applying for certification.

Kentucky Teacher Intern License

The Kentucky Teacher Internship Program is an internship program designed to provide assistance and mentoring for new teachers. The primary goal of the internship program is to help new teachers experience a successful first year in the classroom. The Kentucky Teacher Intern License allows new teachers to start teaching before they have completed the teacher education program. To be eligible for this program, an applicant must satisfy the following requirements:

  • Have a college degree
  • Get a job within the Kentucky School District
  • Completed Application
  • Select an alternative Kentucky preparation program
  • Present Official Transcripts of all degrees and credits earned
  • Pass the Principles of Learning & Teaching Test (PLT) and the Praxis II (subject area)
  • A Limited One Year Eligibility Certificate may be issued once the above requirements have been met.

To become eligible for standard five-year certification, new teachers who have been granted a Limited One Year Eligibility Certificate must complete their Kentucky Teacher Internship Program during the first year of employment as a teacher.

  • Certification Guidelines for Out-of-State Teachers
    • Out-of-state applicants for teaching certification must complete the following steps:
    • Complete a state-approved Teacher Preparation program at a regionally accredited institution or a state-approved alternative training program. Candidates must comply with the Kentucky’s state-specific requirements related to GPA, testing and internship.
    • Pass all required State of Kentucky certification tests.
    • Submit official transcripts of all college and graduate coursework.
    • Submit completed teacher certification application.
    • Out-of-state applicants who hold a valid certificate and have completed two years of teaching in the subject area and grade level on their certificate may have the current testing requirements waived.
    • A out-of-state applicants who do not have two years of full-time teaching experience must pass Praxis II Specialty Area tests for each area of certification and the Principles of Learning and Teaching test score for appropriate grade range.

Alternative Routes to Certification

There are a number of alternative routes towards teacher certification in Kentucky. Two that are proving successful are:

Teach For America
Teach For America is a nationwide program that endeavors to close the achievement gaps among students in low-income areas.
For Teach for America participants to qualify for a one-year Temporary Provisional Certificate to educate elementary, middle and/or secondary level students, the following conditions must be met:


  • • Hold a bachelor's degree
    • Have an offer of employment from a local school district in the area of certification being sought
    • Meet Teach for America participation criteria.
    • Completes training criteria for Teach for America program.
    • Passes all state of Kentucky content assessments required in the area of certification being sought.

Kentucky Troops to Teachers


The Kentucky education system participates in the Troops to Teachers program. This federally funded program was created to assist eligible U.S. military personnel who are qualified to transition to a new career as public school teachers in “high-need” schools.