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Rhode Island, RI Teacher Certification

Rhode Island School Demographics

Rhode Island’s has nearly 15,000 full- and part-time public school teachers who educate more than
150,000 students. The state has approximately 350 public schools and 15 public charter schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

How to Find a Teaching Job in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is a local control state, meaning that hiring of teachers is done at the local level by one of the state’s school districts. Rhode Island’s Education Exchange provides a detailed list of school websites that announce and describe district-specific employment.

As of 2011, Rhode Island was financially stable enough to offer a decent salary scale for public school educators, according to a 2009 National Education Association, Rankings & Estimates Report.

How to Acquire a Rhode Island Teacher’s License

The initial credential issued by Rhode Island for any grade level, is the Certification of Eligibility for Employment (CEE). This certificate is meant for applicants who are new to the system and who have completed an accredited Teacher Preparation Program, including student teaching. The CEE is valid for three years and applies to early childhood, elementary and secondary teachers.

  • The Certification of Eligibility for Employment allows applicants to seek permanent employment in Rhode Island. It can be renewed every three years until the applicant finds a teaching job. The CEE is also valid for substitute teaching.
  • Certified teachers who have had two or more years of teaching experience may fulfill the student teaching requirement by completing a one-year supervised internship at the grade level of the CEE.
  • No matter what path teachers take to become certified in Rhode Island, they are required to pass specific Praxis exams.
  • Once applicants with a CEE become employed and fulfill all coursework, tests and student teaching requirements, they are qualified to obtain a Professional Certificate, which is valid for five years.

Educator Certification Procedures

Early Childhood Certificate

The early childhood teaching certificate is valid for Early Childhood Education in Rhode Island public schools. Early Childhood encompasses preschool programs through grade two.

The CEE for early childhood education requires the following:

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
  • Graduation within the previous year from an approved program for the preparation of early childhood teachers.
  • Minimum scores specified by Rhode Island for tests focused on the Education of Young Children.
    • Once applicants with a CEE complete all tests and student teaching and find a job, they can obtain a Professional Certificate, which is valid for five years.

Elementary Teacher Certificate

  • The elementary educator certificate is valid for teaching grades 1-6 in the public schools of Rhode Island.
  • Requirements for the Certificate of Eligibility for Employment include:
  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
  • Graduation from an approved program for the preparation of elementary school teachers, within the previous five years from date of application.
  • Achieve prescribed scores on the Elementary Content Knowledge Test and the Elementary Content Area Exercises Test.
    • Once applicants who hold a CEE become employed, and fulfill all coursework, tests and student teaching requirements, they can obtain a Professional Certificate, which is valid for five years.

Secondary Teaching Certificate

  • The Secondary Teaching Certificate is valid for teaching a specific subject area in grades 7-12 at a public junior or senior high school.
  • Requirements for receiving the three year Certificate of Eligibility for Employment (CEE), include:
  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
  • Graduation from an approved program for the preparation of secondary education teachers within the previous five years from the date of application.
  • Prescribed minimum score on the Principles of Learning and Teaching Test for grades 7-12.
    • After becoming employed, and fulfilling all coursework, tests and student teaching requirements, applicants with a CEE can obtain a Professional Certificate that is valid for five years.

Certification for Teacher Specialties

The state has specific academic requirements for subject specialization.

Applicants must complete:

  • Relevant PRAXIS II exams for content knowledge and educational skills for each specialization certification.
            • and
  • A student teaching requirement for each specialty.
            • or
  • An internship requirement for experienced teachers requesting new certification areas.

Highly Qualified Teacher Designation

The No Child Left Behind Act mandates that all teachers of core academic subjects be “highly qualified” as defined by federal law. Having a Rhode Island teaching certificate does not necessarily mean an educator meets the federal definition of a highly qualified teacher.

Highly qualified teachers must meet certain guidelines, including: 


  • Have a Bachelors Degree.
  • Hold full state certification.
  • Demonstrate subject matter competency in the core academic subject.
  • Meet approved professional development or service criteria.

Reciprocity: Interstate Certification Compact

Rhode Island offers Enhanced Reciprocity as a route to certification. This route allows certification be granted to an applicant with a valid and comparable certificate from another member state, if the applicant has complied with Rhode Island requirements.

Teachers with emergency certification

Individuals who do not qualify for full state certification may be granted an Emergency Certificate or Emergency Permit to teach in the public schools, upon written request of the Superintendent of Schools, when fully certified applicants are not available.

References

  • http://www.ride.ri.gov/EducatorQuality/Certification/default.aspx
  • http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/states/
  • http://www.teachingtips.com/teaching-certificates/rhode-island/
  • http://infoworks.ride.uri.edu/2009/state/infoworks2009-full.pdf