How to Become a Teacher In Montana

Students who are wondering how to become a teacher in Montana will find the process fairly straightforward. As they look for online degree programs to provide their training, students hoping to teach in Montana need to make sure these programs include everything they need to receive proper certification to become a licensed teacher in this state. Understanding the basic requirements is the first step.

Montana by the Numbers

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Montana had 829 schools as of 2011, with 141,693 students and 10,360 teachers for a student-teacher ratio of 13.68, which is below the national average of 15.97-to-1. Because the state has so many rural areas, many of the schools, including 41 percent of the public schools, have 50 or fewer students.

Salaries for Montana teachers depend on their education, experience and school district. For example, first-year teachers in the Great Falls Public Schools district who carry a bachelor degree will earn about $30,435 a year. This increases to $31,561 with two years of experience. First-year teachers with a master degree earn $33,387. Other districts may have different salary schedules based on the number of students in their schools and the resources provided by taxpayer funds.

Job Outlook for Montana Teachers

Potential teachers in Montana will see a slight job growth over the next few years. The Montana Department of Labor and Industry indicates that from 2011 to 2013, the career opportunities in education grew by 0.5 percent. The Department of Labor and Industry is projecting a 0.9 percent increase from 2014 to 2021. This is significantly less than the national job growth projections of 7 percent for high school teachers and 17 percent for kindergarten and elementary teachers, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics(BLS).

Montana also offers the Quality Educator Loan Assistance Program, which helps qualified teachers with up to $3,000 for education loan repayment, helping teachers get out of debt faster while they teach in the state.

How to Become a Teacher in Montana

The first steps to becoming a teacher in Montana are completing a qualified teacher-training program and earning a bachelor degree. As part of this program, students also need to finish supervised student teaching under a qualified licensed teacher. The Montana Office of Public Instruction indicates that the program does not have to be completed in Montana, but does need to be approved for endorsement in Montana. Teachers also must submit to a fingerprint background check with their license. Western Governors University indicates that teachers do not have to take further testing for their licenses in Montana.

Once licensed, a teacher holds licensure for five years; relicensure will require further training and a renewal application.

Teaching is a rewarding field that allows an individual to reach the next generation. Learning how to become a teacher in Montana and take advantage of online degree programs will open the door to this rewarding career in a state that emphasizes quality in its education system.