Teacher Certification in Louisiana, LA

Quality Counts is the most comprehensive ongoing assessment of the state of American education. According to Education Week’s annual education report card, Louisiana’s overall grade is a C+, as compared with the United States grade of C in areas of policy and performance. Louisiana has been making steady improvement in some but not all areas. Overall, Louisiana’s national ranking has risen from 35th in 2009, to 27th in 2010 to 21st in 2011. While the national grade is a C, Louisiana earned a B for making positive strides in the Teaching Profession area, which evaluates policies for maintaining and improving teacher quality.

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Standard Teaching Certificates

Louisiana has three levels of Professional Level Certificates for teachers.

Level 1

This Professional Certificate is valid for three years. To receive a Level 1 Professional Certificate, teachers must:

  • Earn a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Complete a state-approved traditional teacher preparation program.
  • Have at least a 2.5 GPA.
  • Pass all required PRAXIS exams.
  • Be recommended by a university or private Teacher Preparation Program provider.

Level 2

The Level 2 Professional Certificate is valid for five years. Teachers who already have a Level 1 Professional Certificate must:

  • Complete all additional required programs and tests.
  • Teach for three years in their area of certification in an approved educational setting.

Level 3

The top Professional Certificate is valid for five years. Teachers with a Level 1 or Level 2 Certificate are eligible for a Level 3 Certificate after they have:

  • Completed a Master’s Degree from a regionally accredited university/college.
  • Taught for five years in their area of certification.

Out-of-State Certification

The Out-of-State certificate is valid for three years. It is issued to teachers who:

  • Have completed a teacher preparation program from a regionally accredited university/college in another state.
  • Hold a standard teaching certificate in another state.
  • Have not yet taken the Louisiana PRAXIS tests.
  • Completed student teaching or have 3 years of experience in their certified area.

The Level 1 Professional Certificate is issued to candidates who:

  • Meet all requirements for the Out-of-State certificate.
  • Have completed the Louisiana PRAXIS tests.

Teachers can be issued a Louisiana three-year certificate while they complete Praxis exams. An Out-of-state candidate may be excused from having to complete all Praxis exams for certification purposes if s/he meets each of the following criteria:

  • Has at least 3 years of teaching experience in another state.
  • Has taught on the Out-of-State certificate for 1 year in Louisiana.
  • Receives verification of all experience. from the employing Louisiana school
  • Submits an experience verification form, professional conduct form and certification fee for the higher- level certificate.

Traditional Teacher Preparation Program

A traditional teacher preparation program is a four-year Bachelor of Arts or Science university degree program that includes:

  • General education courses.
  • A certification area focus.
  • Professional teacher preparation education.
  • 180 hours of field experiences.
  • One semester of student teaching or internship in an approved school.
  • The degree program integrates content knowledge, professional knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technology.

Regular certification areas in a traditional teacher preparation program are Early Childhood Education (grades PK-3); Elementary Education (grades 1-5), Middle School Education (grades 4-8), and Secondary Education (grades 6-12).

Middle school education and secondary education programs prepare teachers in the specific content disciplines they will teach.

All-level (K-12) traditional teacher preparation programs are available for certification in art, dance, foreign languages, health and physical education, and music.

Louisiana Alternative Teacher Preparation Programs

Louisiana’s alternate teaching preparation programs were developed to address the shortage of teachers. If you have at least a bachelor’s degree & want to be a teacher, an alternate preparation program is the right pathway for you. An alternate teaching preparation program can lead to certification as a teacher for non-education graduates.
o Three types of Alternate Teaching Preparation programs allow professionals and recent college graduates to pursue a career in teaching:

  • The Practitioner Teacher Program is a streamlined certification path that combines intensive coursework and full-time teaching.
  • The Master’s Degree Program is an intensive path that results in a master’s degree as well as certification.
  • The Certification-Only Program is for individuals not wishing to participate full-time or pursue a master’s degree through one of the other alternate paths to certification.

Prerequisites for each alternate teaching preparation program differ, but each program type requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.

Since Praxis exams are required for Louisiana state certification, these exams are also part of the admission standards as well as the completion standards of alternate programs.

Practitioner Teacher Alternate Certification Program

  • The Practitioner Teacher Alternate Certification Program offers a streamlined certification path that combines intensive coursework with full-time teaching.
  • Candidates are issued a Practitioner License 1 upon entering a state-approved program.
  • Candidates are issued a Level 1 Professional License after successful completion of all Practitioner program requirements.
  • The Practitioner Teacher Alternate Certification Program is valid for one school year and may be renewed annually up to three years.

Highly Qualified Teacher Designation

The highly qualified requirement applies to teachers of core academic subjects. The term “core academic subjects” means English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography. In the area of arts, states may determine which arts courses will be considered core academic subjects.