Both experienced educators and recent graduates will find plenty of teaching opportunities in Rhode Island. The state places a high value on education: according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Rhode Island teachers earn an average salary of $59,390 per year, much higher than the national average.
Online learning also allows students to choose from a wider selection of programs and saves learners money in transportation costs.
Many aspiring educators in Rhode Island enroll in online programs. Distance learners have the flexibility to complete coursework from home, to work full time, and to fulfil personal obligations while earning their degree. Online learning also allows students to choose from a wider selection of programs and saves learners money in transportation costs. Distance learners typically complete student teaching at a local school.
Rhode Island residents who complete an out-of-state teaching program can apply for a teaching license from the Rhode Island Department of Education. Teaching requirements vary by state. However, Rhode Island simplifies the process of earning licensure with an out-of-state degree through its participation in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement.
How Do I Become a Teacher in Rhode Island?
Requirements for teaching licensure vary by state. State governments make decisions about curricula, education spending, and required qualifications for teachers. Because there is no national set of requirements for teachers, licenses do not automatically transfer between states.
Teachers moving to a new state must apply for a teaching license through the new state's department of education and must often complete additional requirements. Most states participate in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, which specifies qualifications that each state accepts and simplifies the process for out-of-state teachers earning licensure.
Like most states, Rhode Island requires teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Candidates with a non-teaching degree follow an alternative teacher certification process, where they must complete an approved alternate educator preparation program. Although not required for licensure, earning a master’s degree generally leads to higher salaries and increased job opportunities. Some teaching positions are available to individuals with an associate degree in teaching. Associate degree holders may pursue roles in adult basic education or positions in preschools or childcare facilities.
All prospective teachers in Rhode Island must complete 12 weeks of student teaching and a 60-hour field experience.
Most full-time students require four years to complete a bachelor’s degree in teaching. Master's programs typically require two additional years. Individuals with a bachelor's in a non-teaching field must complete an alternate educator preparation program, which generally requires one year. All prospective teachers in Rhode Island must complete 12 weeks of student teaching and a 60-hour field experience.
Teachers licensed in Rhode Island can earn certification in other states. Teaching licenses do not automatically transfer between states, and applicants must typically complete additional requirements to earn licensure. However, Rhode Island participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, which simplifies the process for teachers earning certification in a new state.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Rhode Island
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Curriculum for Young Children||This course prepares students to work in early childhood care. Students learn to develop curriculum for children eight years old and younger.|
|Foundations of Teaching and Learning||This class introduces students to the principles and practices of learning and teaching. Students explore the history and the current state of the American education system.|
|Emergency Literacy: Reading Readiness in Early Childhood Education||Students explore emergent literacy in young children. They learn assessment strategies, teaching methodologies, and techniques to plan curricula.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Observation in a Middle Level Classroom||Students spend at least 30 hours observing an experienced educator in a middle school classroom. Students keep a journal and write a final report.|
|Great Public Schools||This interdisciplinary course examines the most challenging issues related to public education in America, including topics regarding diversity and equity.|
|Educational Measurements||This course explores the theory and practice of assessment and measurement in educational contexts. Students learn to plan, create, and grade a variety of tests and assessments.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Socio-Cultural Aspects of Language Minority Education||Students analyze the social, historical, political, cultural, linguistic, and economic factors impacting minority students' language education. Students explore issues including education quality and accessibility.|
|Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary School||This course prepares students to teach social studies at the elementary level. Students explore learning theories and teaching methods.|
|Foundations of Educational Research||Students learn about contemporary research methodologies used to analyze educational problems. Learners also create a research proposal.|
How to Get a Teaching Certificate in Rhode Island
Public school teachers in Rhode Island must hold a teaching certificate, which requires a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program, and passing scores on the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching exam. Prospective teachers seeking endorsement in subject areas must pass the appropriate Praxis Subject Assessment. The Rhode Island Department of Education oversees the certification process.
First-time teachers receive an Initial Educator Certificate, which is valid for three years and is not renewable. After gaining three years of work experience and receiving positive teaching evaluations, teachers qualify for the Professional Educator Certificate, which is valid for five years and is renewable. The highest teaching license in Rhode Island is the Advanced Educator Certificate, which requires five years of teaching experience. Teachers must renew the Advanced Educator Certificate every seven years.
Individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education can pursue alternative certification. Candidates must have earned a bachelor’s degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA, completed an approved alternate educator preparation program, and passed the required Praxis assessments. The department of education maintains a list of approved alternate educator preparation programs. Prospective teachers completing the alternative certification process receive a one-year preliminary teaching certificate before entering the tiered licensing system.
Licensing fees range from $100 for the Initial Educator Certificate or Alternate Route Preliminary Certificate to $200 for the Professional Educator Certificate or Advanced Educator Certificate. Applicants pay an additional fee of $50 to $100 for each certification area. After earning a teaching certificate, RI educators are qualified to teach in public school classrooms.
Choosing a Degree Program in Rhode Island
Choosing a teaching program requires careful consideration and research. Prospective students should consider several factors, including cost, available specializations, location, program length, and accreditation status.
After determining your budget, you should research tuition rates, program fees, and available financial aid options. Additionally, teachers may qualify for student loan forgiveness after graduation. Prospective students should ensure that any program they consider offers specializations that align with their professional goals. Teachers may focus in a specific subject area or grade level; common specializations include English as a second language, special education, secondary education, mathematics, and middle school education.
Prospective students should ensure that any program they consider offers specializations that align with their professional goals.
Geographic location is less crucial when considering online programs than on-campus programs. However, choosing a nearby school may enhance your access to support resources and student-teaching placements. Also, students who attend out-of-state programs may need to complete additional requirements to earn a Rhode Island teaching license.
Some online teaching programs offer fast-track options that allow students to graduate more quickly. Course delivery method also impacts degree completion time; synchronous programs often take longer to complete than asynchronous programs. To qualify for a teaching certificate, RI candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Rhode Island?
Candidates must obtain licensure before teaching in Rhode Island, and both online and on-campus teaching degrees meet the state's requirements for licensure. When researching online programs, prospective students should look for programs with regional accreditation and approval from the Rhode Island Department of Education to ensure their degree will meet requirements for licensure. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges awards accreditation to Rhode Island institutions.
Graduates from online, state-approved teacher preparation programs in Rhode Island follow the same certification process as graduates of on-campus programs. In fact, transcripts do not indicate whether a degree program was earned online or in-person. After graduating from an online teaching program, candidates take required exams and apply for a teaching certificate through the department of education.
Directory of Teaching Schools in Rhode Island
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Rhode Island
Most students need help financing their degree. Fortunately, teaching students qualify for a variety of financial aid options, including loans, grants, scholarships, tuition reimbursement programs, and loan forgiveness programs.
To determine your eligibility for financial aid, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid as early as possible each year. Teaching students may qualify for federal student loans, grants, and work-study programs.
Student loans are the least desirable type of financial aid because they must be repaid. However, many teachers qualify for student loan forgiveness programs, which cancel a portion of student loan debt in exchange for professional contributions. Recipients must often teach in high-need areas or subjects for a specified period of time.
Loan Forgiveness for Rhode Island Teachers
Student loan forgiveness programs forgive or cancel part or all of a qualifying teacher's student loan balance. Recipients must typically work in education for a certain number of years. Federal loan forgiveness programs incentivize teachers to work in education and in critical shortage areas. These programs recognize that teachers often sacrifice higher salaries to contribute to the public good.
The federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program forgives up to $17,500 of a teacher's student loans in exchange for full-time work in a low-income school. The federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program forgives the remainder of student loan debt after qualifying individuals make 120 on-time payments. Most public and private teachers qualify for this program.
Scholarships for Rhode Island Teaching Students
Scholarships are an ideal source of funding for teaching students. Scholarships do not need to be repaid, and students can apply for an unlimited number of scholarships. Scholarships may be awarded based on financial need or academic merit, and many field-specific scholarships are reserved for education students.
Antonio Cirino Memorial Award $2,000 to $12,000
Maria A. Forte-Tocco Scholarship Varies
TEACH Grant $4,000
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Rhode Island
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
Each school district offers a different compensation structure, meaning that your wages will vary significantly from city to city. Teachers in major metropolitan areas generally earn higher salaries than teachers in rural districts. However, educators in low-income areas may qualify for loan forgiveness programs.
Teachers in Rhode Island earn an average salary of $59,390 per year, almost $5,000 more than the national average. Individual salaries vary significantly by teaching level. Generally, teachers who work with higher grade levels earn higher salaries. Preschool teachers in Rhode Island earn the least, with an average salary of $33,920 per year, while middle and secondary school teachers earn about $65,000 per year. Consider the expected salary and education requirements when selecting a teaching concentration.
|Elementary School Teachers||$66,160|
|Middle School Teachers||$65,380|
|Secondary School Teachers||$65,490|
Resources for Teachers in Rhode Island
- Rhode Island Department of Education The department of education serves more than 142,000 students. The department's website provides information about the state certification and evaluation processes, professional development, and job opportunities. The department also offers data and reports about the state's public school system.
- National Education Association Rhode Island This union and professional organization for educators in Rhode Island ensures the state's children receive a quality public education. Members benefit from a bargained contract, opportunities to impact public policy, access to professional development, and discounts on products and services.
- Rhode Island Mathematics Teachers Association RIMTA is a professional organization for individuals interested in math education. The association promotes public interest in mathematics, improves math instruction, and fosters the exchange of ideas related to math teaching. Member benefits include access to a newsletter, meetings, workshops, and conferences.
- Association of American Educators AAE promotes professionalism, excellence, and collaboration among teachers in the United States. The non-partisan group is the largest non-union professional educators’ organization in the country. Members receive access to liability insurance, newsletters, scholarships, legal protection, a discount program, and professional resources.