Kansas teachers work with children of all backgrounds and abilities, teaching key skills and providing students with a strong educational foundation. Teaching specialties include early childhood education and secondary-level content areas such as chemistry, history, and art. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average salary for Kansas teachers is slightly below the national average, individual salaries vary based on job title, the teacher's educational level, and location.
To qualify for Kansas teaching jobs, candidates must have a bachelor's degree, apply for a state license, pass multiple examinations, and undergo a background check. Teachers must regularly renew their licenses and meet professional development milestones. Kansas also provides several alternative routes to becoming a classroom teacher.
Teaching candidates who complete an out-of-state program may need to undergo a transcript review and complete additional steps to earn a Kansas teaching license.
Many aspiring educators earn their teaching degree online, and current teachers can increase their earning potential by completing an online advanced teaching program. Online programs provide scheduling flexibility and allow students to enroll in programs outside their geographic area. However, teaching candidates who complete an out-of-state program may need to undergo a transcript review and complete additional steps to earn a Kansas teaching license. This page explains how to become a teacher in Kansas.
How to Become a Teacher in Kansas
Each state sets specific requirements to earn a teaching license. While Kansas preschool teachers do not need a state license, teachers at the elementary, middle, and secondary levels must hold valid Kansas teaching credentials. Kansas teaching programs prepare students to earn a state teaching license.
Teaching licenses do not automatically transfer between states, and Kansas does not offer reciprocity with any other state. However, Kansas is a member of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement, which simplifies the process for out-of-state teachers earning licensure in Kansas. Kansas teachers considering a position in another state should research that state's license transfer requirements.
Kansas requires that elementary and secondary teachers hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) issues teaching licenses and reviews transcripts to determine whether teaching candidates meet the state's educational requirements. After earning an online teaching degree, Kansas residents can apply for an initial teaching license.
Kansas provides alternative routes to licensure for individuals with a bachelor's or master's degree in a non-teaching field.
Most bachelor's programs in teaching require 120 credits of coursework, including general education and major courses. Education majors can specialize in areas such as early childhood education, elementary education, or secondary education. While full-time students typically complete a bachelor's degree in four years, teachers can increase their earning potential by completing a master's degree or endorsement. Most master's programs require two additional years of study. Education programs include student-teaching components; candidates for initial teaching licensure must have teaching experience or have completed student-teaching credits within the past six years.
Kansas provides alternative routes to licensure for individuals with a bachelor's or master's degree in a non-teaching field. Applicants for the restricted teaching license must have a minimum 2.75 GPA in their last 60 credits of college coursework, must pass the Praxis II content assessment, and must undergo a supervised training experience. Restricted license holders teach while completing the professional education coursework required to earn a full license. A STEM license allows professionals with a degree and professional experience in a STEM field to teach at the high school level with a one-year, renewable license.
While K-12 teachers must have a bachelor's degree, graduates of two-year associate teaching programs can teach preschool, work at daycare or childcare centers, or secure teacher's assistant positions. An online associate degree in teaching also prepares graduates to enter a bachelor's program.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Kansas
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Introduction to Education||This foundational course covers the historical development of American education and explores professional opportunities in the field.|
|Early Childhood Education||Many associate degree holders work in early childhood education; this course provides fundamental knowledge and skills necessary to work with young children.|
|Creative Curriculum||Students learn about the research-based creative curriculum model for teaching young learners and learn to use developmentally appropriate activities.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Introduction to the Education Profession||Students learn about the profession, the role of an effective teacher, and best teaching practices. The class incorporates classroom observation of teachers and students.|
|Elementary Curriculum||This class covers student interactions, subject matter development, and curriculum decision making. Students prepare for roles as elementary school teachers and may create their own sample curricula.|
|Literacy Instruction||Teachers at all levels help students develop reading skills; students in this course gain knowledge and skills necessary to instruct children in reading, writing, and speaking.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Advanced Practices in Teaching English||Students learn to develop curricula and explore instructional strategies for teaching English or language arts, either at the elementary or secondary levels.|
|International Perspectives in Education||Students learn about international educational systems, pedagogical approaches, and current debates regarding primary and secondary education.|
|Project-based Instruction||Students learn basic principles necessary to design and evaluate projects as part of a pedagogical approach.|
Certification and Licensing Needed to Become a Teacher in Kansas
To teach grades K-12 in Kansas, teachers must hold a license from the KSDE. The state offers several pathways to qualifying for Kansas teaching jobs, including options for teachers licensed outside Kansas, teachers with expired licenses, and individuals with non-teaching degrees and occupational experience.
An initial teaching license requires a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution and the completion of a teacher preparation program for non-teaching majors. After meeting educational requirements, applicants must pass pedagogy and content-area examinations and complete a fingerprint check, which costs $50. An initial teaching license is valid for two years.
Teachers complete a performance assessment during the two-year initial teaching license period. When the initial teaching license expires, teachers can apply for a professional license, which is valid for five years. To renew the professional license, teachers with a graduate degree must complete 120 professional development points, and those with a bachelor's degree must complete 160 points and eight credit hours in an approved program.
An initial teaching license is valid for two years.
Candidates must pass the Praxis exam to earn Kansas teaching credentials. Candidates must earn a score of at least 160 on the Principles of Learning and Teaching test for their grade level and must pass relevant content assessments. The Praxis exam costs $120 to $170 per test, and the Educational Testing Service automatically reports scores in the state to the Kansas Department of Education.
Kansas offers a pathway for teachers licensed outside the state to earn a Kansas teaching license and alternative pathways for mid-career professionals with a content area degree. The state provides STEM licenses for individuals with a bachelor's degree or higher in science, mathematics, engineering, computer technology, finance, or accounting.
Choosing a Teaching Program in Kansas
Individuals planning to pursue teaching positions in Kansas have a variety of options for teaching programs and should select a program based on their interests and career goals. Prospective students can narrow their choices by considering factors such as location, cost, degree requirements, and available specializations.
Unlike on-campus programs, students can enroll in online programs anywhere in the country; online learners are not limited to local options. However, earning a teaching license is easier for candidates with an in-state teaching degree because Kansas programs meet the state's teacher preparation requirements.
Kansas schools may also offer tuition discounts for state residents and more convenient student-teaching placements.
Prospective students should also compare program costs. Many programs charge a per-credit tuition rate, which means prospective students must consider the total credits required to earn a bachelor's or master's degree. Most bachelor's degrees require four years and approximately 120 credits, while master's degrees require two additional years. The time it takes to graduate also impacts cost.
Finally, prospective students should research each program's available specializations and endorsements, such as early childhood education, special education, or teaching English as a second language. An online program may be the best option to earn a flexible degree customized to the student's interests.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Kansas?
The Kansas State Board of Education provides multiple pathways to earning a teaching license, but generally, teaching candidates must hold a bachelor's degree and must complete a teacher preparation program. Both online bachelor's degrees and degrees earned on campus meet the requirements for Kansas teaching licensure.
The KSDE provides a simple pathway to a teaching license for graduates of Kansas colleges and universities. Graduates of an out-of-state online program may need to complete additional teacher preparation training in Kansas. Teachers licensed in other states can apply for an out-of-state license, and Kansas may waive testing requirements.
Students considering an online teaching program should check the institution's accreditation status. Candidates for a Kansas teaching license must hold a degree from a regionally accredited institution.
Directory of Teaching Schools in Kansas
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Kansas
The cost of a teaching degree includes tuition, books, fees, and living expenses. However, education students have access to scholarships, grants, and other federal programs to finance their degrees. Students should research field-specific scholarships from organizations such as the Kansas PTA and the Kansas Board of Regents.
Students can also finance their education using federal loans and grants. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your eligibility for direct loans, Stafford loans, and Perkins loans. Income-eligible students may also qualify for grants or work-study programs. Some employers offer tuition reimbursement programs, and current teachers pursuing a graduate degree or endorsement may receive tuition reimbursement from their school district.
Many colleges and universities offer funding packages for prospective teachers. Some of these opportunities require an application, while schools grant other awards based on eligibility requirements and need. Prospective students should contact their school for information on available scholarships, grants, and loans.
Loan Forgiveness for Kansas Teachers
Loan forgiveness programs reduce or eliminate debt for teachers based on their professional contributions. To qualify for loan forgiveness, teachers must meet certain obligations, such as teaching a minimum number of years in a low-income school or a high-need field.
The federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program provides up to $17,500 of loan forgiveness, which applies to direct subsidized or unsubsidized loans and to subsidized or unsubsidized federal Stafford loans. Qualifying teachers must work in a low-income school for five consecutive years.
Federal Perkins Loans cancellation is available to full-time teachers in public or private nonprofit schools with a high concentration of low-income students. Special education teachers and those who teach high-need subjects also qualify. The program cancels up to 100% of the loan amount.
Kansas does not provide any statewide teacher loan forgiveness or repayment programs. However, the Rural Opportunity Zones program from the Kansas Department of Commerce offers state income tax waivers and student loan repayment funds for new residents working in one of Kansas's 77 rural counties.
Scholarships for Kansas Teaching Students
Scholarships are an ideal way to fund an education degree. Several Kansas organizations offer field-specific scholarships, including the Kansas Board of Regents and the Kansas PTA. Some teaching scholarships include professional requirements; for example, recipients of TEACH Grants must teach for four years in a high-need school after graduation.
Kansas Teacher Service Scholarship $5,536 per year
Future Teacher Scholarship $800
TEACH Grant $4,000 per year
Kansas Association of American Educators (KANAAE) Teacher Scholarships $500
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Kansas
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
According to the BLS, Kansas teachers earn an average salary of $44,620 per year. Although Kansas teacher salaries are lower than the national mean wage for teachers, the cost of living in Kansas is below the national average. U.S. News ranks Kansas in the top ten most affordable states.
Individual teacher salaries vary based on factors such as job title, education level, and location. Preschool teachers earn the lowest average salaries -- $28,550 per year -- while K-12 teachers earn average annual salaries of about $50,000. Most school districts create a salary schedule based on teachers' experience and educational level. Teachers who hold a graduate degree generally earn higher salaries than those with a bachelor's degree alone.
Location also affects teacher salaries. Educators in metropolitan areas such as Topeka, Wichita, and Kansas City typically earn higher salaries than those in rural districts. Prospective Kansas teachers should research salaries and loan forgiveness programs available to teachers in specific areas.
|Elementary School Teachers||$50,200|
|Middle School Teachers||$50,640|
|Secondary School Teachers||$50,470|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Kansas
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What states accept a Kansas teaching license?
How much do teachers make in Kansas?
How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Kansas?
Resources for Teachers in Kansas
- Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) The KSDE manages the educator licensure process and provides services and resources for teachers, including statewide curriculum standards, state assessments, and educator preparation resources.
- Kansas National Education Association Kansas's branch of the National Education Association advocates for teachers' rights and the quality of public schools. Members include teachers at preschool through postsecondary levels, as well as education students. The organization provides professional development resources and legal assistance.
- Kansas Association of American Educators (KANAAE) KANAAE is a state chapter of the Association of American Educators. KANAAE is a non-union professional organization that advocates for teacher representation and quality education. Member services include scholarships, legal protections, and professional development resources.
- National Education Association (NEA) With more than three million members, NEA advocates for public education from the preschool to graduate levels. The organization maintains affiliates in every state and provides tools, professional development resources, and grants for teachers.
- American Federation of Teachers (AFT) The AFT is a national teachers' union comprising more than 1.7 million members. Founded in 1916, the AFT represents pre-K-12 teachers, early childhood educators, paraprofessionals, and higher education faculty and staff. Members have access to programs and professional development resources.