Whether you want to teach high school Spanish, middle school students, or early childhood education, Indiana offers plenty of opportunities for aspiring instructors. A recent shortage of qualified teachers has led the state to introduce numerous initiatives aimed at instructor recruitment, certification, and retention. These initiatives include tuition reimbursement programs, alternative licensure paths, and merit-based salaries. Indiana also participates in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) interstate reciprocity agreement, which makes it easier for teachers with out-of-state licenses to receive Indiana certification.
These developments make Indiana a prime destination for students pursuing a teaching degree online. While online learning offers many benefits, including convenient schedules and self-paced coursework, online teaching degrees can also present certain difficulties regarding licensure. Because teacher certification requirements vary between states, out-of-state programs do not qualify graduates for Indiana licensure. Fortunately, the NASDTEC reciprocity agreement allows individuals who have completed a qualifying teacher preparation program in a participating state to apply for temporary Indiana licensure. Depending on the nature and content of their preparation program and area of expertise, candidates may need to sit for additional exams. Professionals with a teaching degree from an out-of-state school must also fulfill Indiana's CPR/Heimlich/AED training requirement and complete a suicide prevention certification course.
If you're interested in becoming a teacher in Indiana, an online degree can help you achieve your goals. In this guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about choosing a school, paying for your degree, and becoming licensed to teach in Indiana.
How to Become a Teacher in Indiana
The process of becoming a teacher is different in every state, and may include training programs, comprehensive exams, a period of supervised teaching, or provisional licensure. Because there is so much variation among requirements, teaching licenses do not transfer between states. Indiana, however, participates in the NASDTEC interstate agreement, which allows teachers from other participating states to seek temporary reciprocal permits. Temporary permit candidates must meet at least some of Indiana's licensure requirements, and may need to complete additional training or certification.
Indiana participates in the NASDTEC interstate agreement, which allows teachers from other participating states to seek temporary reciprocal permits.
In the case of some content areas, such as communication disorders or fine arts, out-of-state instructors who have not completed coursework deemed sufficient by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) may be required to seek further education and assessment. For individuals with out-of-state teaching permits, the path to licensure depends largely on their educational background and the kind of teaching preparation program they have completed.
While an associate degree may qualify graduates for a few entry-level positions in private institutions, Indiana requires public school teachers to hold a bachelor's degree. Prospective K-6 teachers must hold a bachelor's degree in education with a minor in one content area, such as math or history, while secondary-level teaching candidates must hold a bachelor's in a content area major with an education minor.
All education students must undergo a state-approved teacher preparation program, which is typically offered as part of an Indiana teaching degree curriculum, and includes a mandatory student teaching component. Most supervised teaching periods are one or two semesters long, and take place in local schools. Candidates must also pass the Indiana CORE exam series, which consists of the Core Academic Skills Assessment (CASA) exam, a pedagogical assessment, and content area testing. Overall, the amount of time it takes to complete a teaching degree depends on program format, delivery methods, and whether or not a student has chosen to pursue a concentration or double major.
Educators with an Indiana teaching license can apply for a reciprocal permit in any of the 46 states that maintain reciprocity agreements with IDOE.
Indiana also maintains alternative certification options for aspiring teachers who hold a degree in a field other than education. While individual details and requirements differ between programs, most allow candidates to complete their licensure preparation module while working as a public school teacher. All require that participants hold a bachelor's degree, with the exception of programs for master's students. Like all public school instructors, alternative certification candidates must pass the CORE exam.
Educators with an Indiana teaching license can apply for a reciprocal permit in any of the 46 states that maintain reciprocity agreements with IDOE. However, they may be asked to complete certain continuing education or certification programs to come into full compliance with that state's regulations. Further details regarding reciprocity and licensure for out-of-state candidates may be found on the IDOE website.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Indiana
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Introduction to education||This course presents a broad overview of the history, development, and current state of American education. Students analyze the major characteristics of effective instructors and the challenges they face.|
|Classroom management||Lectures explore strategies and methods for creating inclusive, supportive learning environments that meet the needs of a diverse student body. Learners develop classroom management plans that strengthen student-teacher communication.|
|Learning theory||Examining major psychological and pedagogical theories of knowledge acquisition and development, coursework emphasizes the hands-on application of theory in curriculum design, student motivation, and classroom management.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Foundations of teaching||By examining the relationship between learning and psychological development from several theoretical perspectives, students gain historical and practical insight into current pedagogical practices and instructional methodologies.|
|Assessment and observation||Prospective instructors learn to analyze classroom practices and teaching methods for efficacy by creating developmentally appropriate assessments and observing student behavior, modifying their instructional plans or developing interventions as needed.|
|Instructional planning||In this course, students use prior knowledge of psychological development and various learning styles to select appropriate textbooks, create compelling and informative lesson plans, and enhance learning through the use of new technologies.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Educational psychology||Presenting integral concepts and theories related to human cognitive, emotional, and linguistic development, lectures emphasize the diversity of psychological experience and its importance in teaching and curriculum design.|
|Diversity in education||This course examines the roles of equity and diversity as they pertain to pedagogy and instructional practices. Topics addressed include inclusive learning environments, cross-cultural studies, bilingual education, and sociocultural issues in education.|
|Literacy development||Candidates explore a wide range of linguistic concepts, including phonics, language structure, and grammar, as well as their relation to literacy acquisition and instructional methodologies for young learners.|
Certification and Licensing Needed to Become a Teacher in Indiana
Indiana teaching licenses are conferred by IDOE, and come in three forms: the two-year initial practitioner (IP) credential, which may be renewed twice; the five-year proficient practitioner's (PP) license; and the accomplished practitioner's (AP) license, which automatically renews every 10 years.
An IP license is the minimum credential needed to teach in Indiana public schools and does not require National Board certification. To become an IP, candidates must hold a bachelor's degree in education with a content area minor or a bachelor's degree in their chosen content area with an education minor, depending on their intended instructional level. They must also complete a CPR/Heimlich/AED certification program prior to applying for a teaching license. These programs are offered through numerous public and private organizations, including the American Red Cross, Kentuckiana CPR Training Network, and the Emergency Care and Safety Institute.
Indiana offers more than 50 content area certifications, and some candidates may require more than one.
After completing an approved teacher preparation program, applicants must successfully pass the state CORE assessments, which consist of developmental (pedagogy), content area, and CASA exams. These tests measure the candidate's mastery of fundamental academic skills, instructional theories and practices, and subject-specific knowledge related to the prospective teacher's field of specialization and the grade level they intend to teach. Indiana offers more than 50 content area certifications, and some candidates may require more than one. While scores range from 100 to 300, 220 is the minimum passing score for all assessments.
Applicants can register, study, and pay for all exams at the CORE Assessments website, which maintains detailed information about the cost and length of each test. As most exams must be taken in person, candidates can locate nearby testing locations and reserve seats through the site's searchable database. Exam fees vary according to type of assessment, grade level, and content area.
Choosing a Teaching Program in Indiana
With so many options available, the process of choosing an online teaching program can be overwhelming. Before making a decision, it's important to consider your own professional and academic goals, as well as many practical aspects of distance learning. For example, how much money are you willing to spend? Will you seek additional funding through loans or scholarships? The most expensive program isn't always the best, and some may not qualify for tuition reimbursement or loan forgiveness agreements. In addition to cost, consider how much time you have to spend on a degree. The duration of a program is strongly determined by its structure and format, and some may be completed more quickly than others.
Will choosing a school outside of Indiana affect your licensure options? While Indiana participates in reciprocal licensing for out-of-state teachers, only graduates of accredited and state-approved preparation programs qualify for temporary certification. If you're considering an out-of-state program, it's important to verify that it meets all Indiana teaching requirements. Additional conditions apply for certification in specialized fields, such as ESL or special education. In the next section, we'll look at how these requirements affect the process of earning a teaching license in Indiana.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Indiana?
While Indiana allows students to earn their teaching degree online, only certain programs qualify graduates for licensure. The IDOE website maintains a list of approved in-state distance learning programs that result in licensure recommendations or content area certifications. Graduates who earned an online degree from an out-of-state institution face a different set of procedures related to school accreditation, the contents of their undergraduate curriculum, and the type of license being sought.
To qualify for recommendation, a teacher preparation program must be state-approved, or accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education or the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Additionally, qualifying bachelor's degrees must be awarded by a regionally accredited institution. While choosing a regionally accredited school is always important, it may also be crucial to your teaching career.
Individuals with a bachelor's degree from an out-of-state school who have not completed a teacher preparation program must seek certification through one of Indiana's alternative licensure paths. Conditions for alternative licensure vary according to the candidate's degree type, whether they intend to teach in a specific content area, and the kind of school in which they plan to teach. Like all Indiana instructors, alternative licensure candidates must complete CPR, Heimlich, and suicide prevention certification courses.
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Indiana
Most students seek some form of financial aid to help pay for their online degree, and candidates can choose from a variety of funding options. You can determine what kind of federal financial aid you may qualify for, and how much, by filling out a Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA). Government aid comes in several different forms, including grants, loans, work-study arrangements, and tuition reimbursement programs. Unlike private loans, federal student loans feature flexible repayment plans and low interest rates, and many are eligible for service-based forgiveness programs.
Scholarships are another economical way to fund your education. Awarded on the basis of financial need, academic performance, or other criteria, scholarships differ from loans in that they don't need to be paid back. They also look great on a resume, and most applicants qualify for more than one. After completing a FAFSA, exploring scholarship opportunities should be your next step. While some awards are sponsored by colleges and universities, many private corporations, nonprofit organizations, special interest groups, religious institutions, and individual donors host their own scholarships and grants.
Loan Forgiveness for Indiana Teachers
Some regions and school systems are facing a shortage of qualified public school teachers, and both federal and state governments offer loan forgiveness and tuition reimbursement programs as incentives to help fill the gap. While conditions and requirements differ from program to program, they typically cover all or most of a candidate's tuition or federal student loans in exchange for a period of service in underserved areas or institutions. Under the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, for example, individuals who spend five years teaching at a low-income school may receive forgiveness of up to $17,500 on their federal loans.
In Indiana, state-sponsored tuition reimbursement programs often take the form of competitive scholarships and stipends presented by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. After graduation, recipients must spend a designated amount of time teaching in an eligible public school or high-need subject field, such as science, special education, or math. These assigned periods typically range from 3-5 years, and participants who do not meet the service requirements must convert any funds received to a loan, which they are then required to repay. In the following section, we'll take a look at some of the reimbursement options available to Indiana students.
Scholarships for Indiana Teaching Students
There are hundreds of scholarships available to college students at every degree level, and for every major. In addition to merit- and need-based awards, Indiana students pursuing a degree in education have many state-specific scholarships intended for prospective teachers. The examples below are only a few opportunities you may wish to consider.
Next Generation Hoosier Educators Scholarship $7,500
William A. Crawford Minority Teacher Scholarship Varies
MetLife Foundation Scholarship $2,000
Teacher.org Inspire Our Future Scholarship $500
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Indiana
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
As the table above demonstrates, both employment rates and annual mean wages for Indiana teachers are considerably lower than the national averages. While there are many factors that influence salary levels and job demand as a whole, much of the discrepancy between state and national earnings can be traced back to Indiana's relatively low cost of living.
In a large college town such as Bloomington, the cost of living is around 4% lower than the national average, while Evansville residents pay 11% less to live and work in than in most parts of the country. Pay rates and job opportunities also vary according to region. As a whole, population-dense metropolitan areas experience a greater demand for educators -- particularly in cities with a college or university branch, such as Indianapolis, South Bend, and Bloomington.
As with teachers in virtually every state, Indiana public school instructors can expect their wages to correlate with the grade level and material they teach. In general, secondary school teachers out-earn their counterparts in early childhood education, regardless of location. Salaries for private school instructors may be higher or lower, depending on the individual school, and conditions for those teaching high-demand or specialized content areas may vary as well.
|Elementary School Teachers||$49,250|
|Middle School Teachers||$51,400|
|Secondary School Teachers||$51,870|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Indiana
How do I get a teaching license in Indiana?
What other states can I teach in with an Indiana license?
How much money does a teacher make in Indiana?
How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Indiana?
Resources for Teachers in Indiana
- Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) Providing support and resources for Indiana teachers and other education professionals, IDOE maintains an extensive database of state initiatives, licensing requirements, and job openings. Teachers can access a range of standardized testing guides and classroom materials, program implementation information, and stay up to date on education news from around Indiana.
- Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) Based at Indiana University Bloomington, CITL offers instructional development services for teachers and prospective education professionals. Encouraging innovation and professional growth, CITL's cutting-edge workshops and initiatives address current and trending topics, such as emerging instructional technologies, diversity and equity issues, and eLearning methodologies. Indiana University students can pursue scholarships, grants, and internships.
- Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) This professional organization is dedicated to sustaining and improving public education throughout Indiana. An affiliate of the National Education Association, ISTA advocates for positive legislative changes on behalf of public school students, instructors, and administrators and encourages professional development through certification and continuing education programs. ISTA hosts numerous annual conferences and workshops.
- Indiana CORE Assessments This site contains valuable information for teaching licensure candidates, including test dates and locations as well as study materials. Graduates can use the site to register to sit for the state CASA assessment, take practice exams, and find information regarding alternative testing arrangements and teaching requirements in Indiana.
- Indiana Professional Educators, Inc. Serving as an alternative to teacher unions, this professional association offers professional liability insurance and related legal resources to both working teachers and student members. Stressing transparency of its use of funding, the organization is a strong advocate for educators' right to free association and accurate, nonpartisan information regarding Indiana educational legislature.