Teachers support students in and outside of the classroom by providing subject-based instruction that leads to exam success, college admittance, and job placement. Educators also cultivate personal relationships and help students become ethical, engaged leaders in their communities. If you're interested in teaching in Louisiana, now is a great time to enter the field. Like the rest of the U.S., Louisiana suffers from significant teacher shortages, particularly in rural areas. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Education, specific shortage areas include early childhood, middle school, and special education.
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To tackle this challenge, the state legislature implemented a new hands-on training program for teachers in addition to forming official committees to analyze the shortage more deeply and provide long-term solutions.
Certain schools in the state have responded to teacher shortages by increasing pay and professional assistance for teachers in an effort to boost recruitment and retention.
You can earn a teaching degree online in Louisiana, provided your college or university possesses regional accreditation and approval from the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE). This holds true for traditional and online teaching programs outside the state as well. Online programs offer greater flexibility and accessibility than on-campus programs. Online programs often feature an asynchronous format and accelerated schedules, allowing students to graduate in a shorter amount of time. Online students usually enjoy lower tuition than their on-campus peers.
This guide provides a cogent overview of the steps you need to take to obtain a Louisiana teaching certificate.
How to Become a Teacher in Louisiana
Teaching requirements in Louisiana include a bachelor's degree, an approved training program, and two to three Praxis exams. Louisiana recently changed its requirements to include a full year of classroom residency and 180 hours of guided field experience. Many colleges, including almost all of those on the state's provider list, embed this training into their bachelor's in education programs. Alternatively, you can seek out approved third-party training opportunities after earning a bachelor's from any regionally accredited school in the U.S. This option allows students to complete a different major or attend a school that doesn't meet all requirements. However, third-party training may take more time than a conventional education program.
Teaching requirements vary based on individual state mandates, so licenses don't always easily transfer across borders. Louisiana maintains a partial reciprocity system for out-of-state teachers. Louisiana educators who want to transfer their license to another state must communicate with the pertinent department of education to discern the necessary steps, which may include additional training and practicum requirements.
While you must hold a bachelor's degree to become a teacher in Louisiana, you may choose to complete a two-year associate degree first. On-campus and online associate programs in education, teacher training, and related subject areas enable you to fulfill general education and prerequisite requirements before advancing into a bachelor's program. Some associate programs also facilitate direct transfer pathways to partnering four-year institutions, providing an even more convenient way to earn your baccalaureate credentials. Most students pursue their associate degree at a local community college, taking advantage of low tuition prices and flexible course schedules.
LDOE-approved bachelor's programs integrate teacher training into the curriculum, enabling you to obtain an undergraduate degree and teacher certification in about four years. Alternate teacher preparation programs take longer but allow students with bachelor's degrees in other fields to earn a teaching license. Regardless of what path you take, a one-year classroom placement and 180 hours of teaching experience are two important teaching requirements in Louisiana. If you want the highest level of state licensure, you also need to complete a graduate program.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Louisiana
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Teaching English Language Learners||This course introduces candidates to theories of first language and second language acquisition. The class prepares educators to effectively teach culturally diverse students in their age group. Topics include linguistics, pedagogy, literacy, and professionalism.|
|Integrating the Arts Into Classroom Education||This class provides an overview on how to incorporate the creative arts into the standard curriculum. Candidates also learn how art positively affects development and learning in other disciplines.|
|Family and Community Relationships||Candidates learn to support and foster diversity in their classroom and school by analyzing the importance of the family-child-school relationship. The course emphasizes the importance of parent/legal guardian involvement in a student's learning development.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Instructional Use of Computers||This class covers how to use computers and classroom technology to instruct and support students. The course includes an overview of open-source software. Candidates develop their own teaching plans that integrate technology.|
|Educational Psychology||Students learn how to apply psychological principles to the process of learning and teaching. Topics include development, emotional responses, and skills development.|
|Mathematics Assessment||Candidates learn the role of data in conceptual and procedural understanding. The class also covers misconceptions of certain math topics. Educators gain skills in interpreting criterion-based and norm-based data.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Multicultural Education||Students examine current challenges in education, including elitism, racism, sexism, and groupism. Candidates learn effective communication and instructional strategies to create a collaborative classroom environment.|
|Methods of Teaching Students With Special Needs||The course teaches future educators effective strategies to support children and young adults with special needs, including autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and giftedness. Candidates research and create specific lesson plans for the age group they are training to teach.|
|Classroom Management||Incorporating case studies and field experience, this class trains students to create a positive classroom that accommodates students of all backgrounds and needs. Candidates develop individual behavioral change plans for students facing challenges.|
Certification & Licensing Needed to Become a Teacher in Louisiana
The Louisiana Department of Education grants teaching licenses to candidates who have fulfilled the necessary degree, training, exam, and practicum requirements. The state operates a three-tier license system. Application fees include $50 for the initial accreditation and $25 for upgrades, additions, or renewals.
The level-one professional certificate requires candidates to earn at least a bachelor's degree. Applicants must complete an approved traditional teacher preparation program as part of their undergraduate education or pursue alternative training through one of three possible programs. All state educators must complete 180 hours of field experience and a year of classroom residency. Candidates must also pass three Praxis exams: the Praxis I pre-professional skills test (PPST) in reading, writing, and mathematics; the Praxis II principles of learning and teaching (PLT); and the Praxis II in their subject area (or multiple areas for additional endorsements). Prospective teachers who earned a minimum ACT or SAT score of 22 or 1030, respectively, or who completed a regionally-accredited master's degree may apply for PPST exemption.
All state educators must complete 180 hours of field experience and a year of classroom residency.
Teachers can earn the level-two professional certificate after gaining three years of relevant work experience. Applicants should complete the Louisiana teacher assistance and assessment program. After teaching for five years and earning their master's degree, teachers can advance to the final level-three professional certificate.
Educators may renew their level-one professional certificate once for an additional three years. Afterwards, educators should apply for a level-two or three certificate, which are both valid for five years. In order to renew a level-two or three certificate, teachers must complete 150 hours of continuing-learning units each year. Teachers must also maintain standards of effectiveness for at least three of the five years, as determined by their employer. If a teacher lets their license lapse by failing to teach at least 90 consecutive days over a five-year timeframe, they must apply to have the certification reinstated.
There are separate requirements for students who complete their education at an out-of-state school or who want to transfer their teaching license to or from Louisiana. Reciprocity is largely dependent on the individual state. In Louisiana, out-of-state teachers who possess active credentials and at least three years of work experience may apply for a temporary license, which is valid for three years. During this time, educators must undergo the official steps for Louisiana teaching certification. Each state requires slightly different steps, so check with the respective department of education to find out what you need to do. Louisiana is a member of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, which makes it easier to obtain a teaching license in the 42 other participating states.
Choosing a Degree Program in Louisiana
The Center for Financial Inclusion cites a staggering 74% increase in U.S. student loan debt between 2004 and 2014, with effects that negatively impact the national economy, as well as individual graduates. As you look into a career teaching in Louisiana, consider the total cost of a college education, teacher training program, and collateral fees for exams and applications. Ask yourself what you can afford without assistance, how much financial aid you need, and from which sources. Loans are convenient means of paying for your education, but accruing escalating amounts of debt can cripple you financially. It may also hinder your career development.
Additional factors to consider include the location of the school, the length of the program, and if your degree meets teaching requirements in Louisiana. To earn your degree more quickly, seek out schools that provide accelerated course options and generous transfer policies. Also think about what subjects you want to teach and at what levels, since these choices inform what Praxis II subject area tests you take and what additional endorsements you pursue.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Louisiana?
Distance education offers flexible and accelerated coursework year round, as well as benefits such as scholarship and tuition discount opportunities. Additionally, online classes are often asynchronous, enabling you to access course materials and finish assignments on your schedule. Most online education programs use a hybrid learning style, where students take most or all of their classes online. Students complete certain components in person either on campus or at a pre-approved site. Due to the hands-on skill development necessary for success in the classroom, almost all online programs require students to complete an in-person internship.
Two main distance education options exist for prospective Louisiana teachers. The first option is to enroll in an online program through a college or university approved by the LDOE. These institutions hold regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and offer a conventional path to teacher certification. Approved programs incorporate educator training into the major curriculum. For students who want to pursue a major unrelated to education or attend college outside of Louisiana, the alternate teacher preparation programs provide an opportunity for licensure. You apply for these programs after obtaining a bachelor's degree.
Regardless of the option you take, keep these two facts about teaching requirements in Louisiana firmly in mind. First, your college degree needs to come from a regionally accredited institution. Second, the teacher training program you pursue must be backed by the LDOE.
Directory of Teaching Schools in Louisiana
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Louisiana
As you search for the best and most affordable teacher training programs in Louisiana, also take the time to find funding opportunities to offset overall costs. Grants and scholarships don't need to be paid back and should therefore be your first option. Loans should be utilized as a last resort because of the financial burdens they may induce.
The Free Application for Federal Student AID (FAFSA) enables you to sign up for several loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study positions all at once. FAFSA calculates your financial need by subtracting expected family contributions from cost of attendance. Additionally, the FAFSA office, as an arm of the U.S. Department of Education, helps with college application, work opportunities, and loan repayment plans. Familiarize yourself with FAFSA because it's an obligatory step in admission for almost all colleges and universities.
You can also find scholarship and grant opportunities through professional organizations and local businesses. Criteria for these awards include community service history, intended career, academic major, gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic characteristics such as first generation status. If you do take out loans, the federal government provides several loan forgiveness programs, many of which are available to future and active teachers.
Loan Forgiveness for Louisiana Teachers
While you can borrow money from private lenders like banks, state and federal loans generally offer lower interest rates and the ability to defer repayment until after graduation. By taking out federal loans, you also gain the opportunity to apply for forgiveness programs, which can eliminate some or all of your debt. Three main options exist: the teacher loan forgiveness program, the public service loan forgiveness program, and the federal Perkins loan cancellation program.
The teacher loan forgiveness program lets you erase up to $17,500 of direct and federal Stafford loans, including all unsubsidized, subsidized, and consolidated amounts. In return, you must work in a low-income or high-need school for five academic years. Educators who work for a nonprofit organization, public school, or government agency can apply to the public service program, which forgives the remainder of direct loans after you make 120 qualifying monthly payments. The Perkins cancellation program enables you to negate a percentage of your Perkins loan for every year of full-time employment, paid or volunteer, in an approved educational environment.
Additional opportunities include loan deferment and loan forgiveness through private companies. Certain Louisiana schools also offer loan forgiveness programs to attract certified teachers. Educators may receive stipends or loan forgiveness through service with AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, Teach For America, and other organizations.
Scholarships for Louisiana Teaching Students
As you search for financial aid options, prioritize scholarships and grants. FAFSA provides some aid, but also seek out awards from professional associations, community organizations, and local businesses. The list below describes scholarships for education majors, prospective teachers, and Louisiana residents.
Ruby J. Darensbourg-Cook Memorial Scholarship $1,500
The PFLAG New Orleans Scholarship $1,000 to $10,000
GO Grant $300 to $3,000
TEACH Grant $4,000 per year
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Louisiana
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
The two tables in this section draw on research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The first table describes current employment and average salary for Louisiana teachers. The second table breaks down salaries by teaching level.
Like many other states, Louisiana faces a teaching shortage. The Louisiana government has attempted to improve this issue by implementing a more intensive training program. The hope is that teachers who receive the support they need will stay local and pursue long-lasting careers in the state. Louisiana has focused on rural communities and high-need subject areas where teachers' skills and empathy are needed most.
State legislatures and individual schools plan to raise pay for Louisiana teachers, whose salaries currently lag behind the national average. Your salary as a teacher in Louisiana depends on where you teach. Educators who pursue work in metropolitan centers statistically get paid more than educators in rural areas. This is due to a higher cost of living in cities and the lack of public funding and economic strength in rural communities. Grade level and subject area also affect a teacher's salary. Secondary school teachers enjoy higher pay than their colleagues. Further investigation into BLS data reveals that among all Louisiana teachers, those who focus on special education or technical and vocational training earn the highest salaries.
|Elementary School Teachers||$48,100|
|Middle School Teachers||$48,360|
|Secondary School Teachers||$49,570|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Louisiana
How do I get certified to teach in Louisiana?
How much does a teacher make a year in Louisiana?
How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Louisiana?
Resources for Teachers in Louisiana
- Louisiana Department of Education As the main administrative body for teachers and education professionals in the state, the LDOE certifies schools, training programs, and individual educators. You can access a wealth of information related to certification, training, degree programs, and additional professional development opportunities. The LDOE also provides career opportunities through its talent recruitment system.
- Louisiana Association of Educators LAE is the main professional organization and union for teachers in Louisiana. The association advocates for the rights of educators and students through research, outreach programs, and policy change campaigns. Members gain access to grants, publications, legal services, and conference discounts. The association also provides professional development opportunities through its leadership programs and Teaching and Learning Center.
- Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana Founded in 1976 through a union of two teachers' organizations, A+PEL promotes educational equity and instructional excellence by providing teacher advocacy and professional development. Members enjoy liability coverage, legal services, networking events such as conferences, and the support of their local A+PEL chapter. The association also provides scholarships and grants.
- National Education Association With over three million members, NEA is the largest professional organization for educators in the U.S. Benefits include teaching resources such as best classroom management practices, lesson plans, conferences, scholarships, and instructional strategies. NEA also promotes policy changes and educational research addressing challenges in the teaching field.
- Association of American Educators As a national non-union organization for educators, AAE advocates for teachers' rights and fosters professional collaboration and research among its members. Students and teachers can take advantage of an online library, career development opportunities, and discounts on certain health insurance plans. Members may also receive discounted tuition from partnering schools.