How to Become a Teacher in Idaho

If you’re curious about how to become a teacher in Idaho, carefully consider your options before making a firm career decision. Your choice of college, major and other activities may influence your ability to teach in Idaho. If you already have your teaching degree and want to advance your education, consider the myriad options for online degree programs that can prepare you to become a teacher in Idaho.

Idaho Education Facts and Figures

With its rugged, mountainous terrain, Idaho is among the least-populous U.S. states, with just 1.6 million residents. Despite its small population, Idaho was the sixth-fastest growing state, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This influx of new residents may translate to a greater need for educators in the state.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that Idaho has 755 public schools, with numerous other private schools unreported. The state has approximately 275,000 students and a workforce of more than 15,000 public school teachers. With a student-to-teacher ratio of 17.6, Idaho ranks slightly above the national average of 15.97. These moderate class sizes make it easier for educators to effectively manage their classrooms. This is shown by Idaho’s test scores, which are consistently higher than the national average at the fourth- and eighth-grade levels.

The Process of Becoming a Teacher in Idaho: Getting Certified

The state of Idaho requires would-be teachers to meet several requirements to become certified.

  • Baccalaureate degree. All teachers applying for certification must complete a bachelor degree from an accredited four-year institution.
  • Professional education requirements. Teachers must demonstrate successful completion of coursework in education that prepares them for classroom work. The specific coursework requirements differ depending on the type of certificate sought. These are the requirements for a standard secondary certificate:
  • 20 credits in the foundations of secondary education.
  • At least three credits of reading in a particular content area.
  • Six credits of secondary student teaching. You may substitute two years of experience as a teacher in sixth through 12th grades.
  • Teaching field requirements. All applicants must be prepared to teach at least two fields of education, with 30 credits of preparation in their primary field and 20 credits in their secondary field.
  • Institutional recommendation. Applicants must have recommendations from their undergraduate institutions.
  • Proficiency in a content area. You must demonstrate proficiency in one or more content areas to earn an endorsement that qualifies you to teach in that area. Demonstration of proficiency is determined by test scores on the Praxis II exam in the particular content area.

If you haven’t completed a teacher-preparation program or the requisite coursework to receive a standard teaching certificate, Idaho offers alternate paths to certification and endorsement. This means if you have a bachelor or master degree in another content area, you can enter the classroom and work toward completing a teacher-preparation program — an attractive option if you’re switching careers in midlife.

Benefits of Becoming a Teacher in Idaho

One of the benefits of teaching in Idaho is the quality of life. The state of Idaho spends approximately 31% of its total education budget on teacher salaries. According to the National Education Association, the average salary of teachers in Idaho is $45,178, with a beginning teacher salary of $29,915. Considering the relatively low cost of living in many parts of Idaho, this is an affordable salary for many people.

As of April 2013, the Idaho unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, significantly below the national unemployment rate of 7.5 percent. This indicates a strong economy, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Idaho’s education sector grew by 3.9 percent in the past 12 months. Furthermore, the National Education Association states that Idaho is experiencing a shortage of teachers in math, science, music, art and special education. If you’re trained in those specialties, you may be well-equipped to find rewarding teaching positions in Idaho.