After factoring in the state's cost of living, Wyoming teachers receive some of the highest wages among educators in the United States. According to a 2017 study published by EdSurge.com, Wyoming ranks fourth in teacher pay, behind only Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan; this study considered teacher salaries in addition to various expenses, such as housing, food, taxes, and healthcare.
Wyoming also ranks high in terms of "teaching attractiveness," according to a 2016 study conducted by the Learning Policy Institute. The state scores well in many areas important to teachers, such as working conditions, administrative support, student-to-teacher ratios, and turnover. In several of these categories, Wyoming far outpaces the national average. Relatively good pay and attractive working conditions make earning an online teaching degree in Wyoming particularly attractive.
According to a 2017 study published by EdSurge.com, Wyoming ranks fourth in teacher pay
The state is home to several web-based teaching programs that prepare learners to meet teaching requirements. Wyoming requires teachers to hold a bachelor's for initial licensure, but no distinction is made between degrees earned on campus and those earned online. Aspiring educators can also earn a degree out of state. Wyoming's Professional Teacher Standards Board (PTSB) lists more than a dozen approved university programs, including schools from across the nation. Other universities in neighboring states even host internet programs designed to ready educators for positions in Wyoming.
Online programs often appeal to teachers because the format can accommodate the schedules of working professionals. As an example, most distance programs offer more classes and residency opportunities during the summer months. Many degree tracks also allow distance learners to fulfill student teaching requirements in their own districts, making it easier to earn a degree.
How to Become a Teacher in Wyoming
Every state sets its own standards for teachers; while many similarities exist across the country, teacher licensure differs slightly wherever you go. In Wyoming, for example, teachers must demonstrate knowledge of both the U.S. and Wyoming constitutions. Some states make it more difficult than others to earn a license, and licenses do not automatically transfer from one to the other. Fortunately, thanks to state reciprocity rules, the transfer of licenses is easier than it once was. However, this process still requires several steps.
Compared to many states, becoming a teacher in Wyoming is fairly straightforward, even if you went to school in another state. As long as your degree comes from an regionally accredited university, the steps taken to earn licensure remain similar. To begin with, you need to hold a bachelor's degree; this requirement is more or less standard across the nation. However, unlike many other states, Wyoming does not maintain a tiered licensing process. Public school teachers, from kindergarten to secondary school, all need to earn the same license. This simplicity also makes it much easier for educators looking to move to Wyoming.
The first step toward obtaining a Wyoming teaching certificate is earning a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, although some administrative positions also require a master's degree. The state does not consider an associate degree sufficient for a professional teaching license. The state's PTSB provides a comprehensive list of requirements on its website. This site features several approved teacher preparation programs. Enrolling in one of these schools typically makes the licensing process smoother, but it is not required. Wyoming accepts teaching applicants from any teaching program that holds proper accreditation from a regional accrediting agency.
To meet eligibility requirements, aspiring teachers must complete an approved teacher education program that includes a student teaching experience. Many of these programs allow students to specialize in grade levels or subject areas, which can help them pass specific content area exams to earn additional Wyoming teaching credentials. As an example, the state requires aspiring educators to earn passing scores on Praxis II exams to qualify for endorsement in elementary education or social studies teaching.
Most of the state-approved bachelor's programs follow traditional, four-year courses of study. Adding a master's degree typically takes two additional years, although some universities offer accelerated tracks that let students earn their bachelor's and master's degrees in five years. Additionally, many self-paced online programs enable distance learners to progress through their coursework faster.
Many self-paced online programs enable distance learners to progress through their coursework faster.
Wyoming also requires teachers to demonstrate knowledge related to the U.S. and Wyoming constitutions. Students can meet this demand by passing a test or taking a course. Wyoming universities typically feature coursework that covers both constitutions, but students who attend school outside of the state may need to take additional coursework. Additionally, Wyoming is a member of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement, which makes taking your license out of state easier if you have met all of the aforementioned educational requirements.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Wyoming
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Foundations of Education||This course takes future teachers through the history of pedagogy in the United States. Covered topics include philosophical movements, important legal battles, and how educational methods of the past impact today's classrooms.|
|Teaching with Technology||This course emphasizes the importance of computers and technology in the classroom. Prospective teachers learn about software, hardware, integrated applications, mobile computing, and "smart" classrooms to gain an understanding of the technology available to teachers and the best practices for employing it.|
|Introduction to Special Education||All aspiring educators, even those who do not intend to work with exceptional students, must take this class. Participants learn about the unique educational needs of students with disabilities; integration techniques; and the roles of family, community, and other students.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Introduction to Public Speaking||Teachers conduct much of their instruction in front of the classroom. They may also speak before assemblies, parental gatherings, and groups of other teachers. This class examines the best ways to command an audience's attention in a public setting.|
|Educational Psychology||This class explores how humans acquire and process information and develop knowledge. Future teachers study the different ways students learn and how that impacts curriculum development.|
|Public School Practicum||During this hands-on experience, education students learn teaching methods in public classrooms under the guidance of teacher mentors. Successful completion typically requires individuals to spend a minimum of 60 hours in the field.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Exploring Diversity in the Classroom||This class examines how race, gender, culture, language, and socioeconomics affect education. Students combine classroom work and field experiences to investigate the importance and impact of classroom diversity.|
|Teachers as Leaders||Students in this graduate-level course explore the social and role model implications of teaching. Modern teachers serve as educators, inspiring students to engage in lifelong learning.|
|Capstone Experience||Future teachers normally take a culminating course by working under the guidance of an adviser. They complete a final project, prepare a thesis, or ready themselves for National Board Certification.|
How to Get a Teaching Certificate in Wyoming
After graduating from an approved educational program, you must obtain institutional recommendation for licensure from the program where you earned your degree. You must also submit to fingerprinting and a background check.
Wyoming requires only elementary and social studies teachers to submit their Praxis II test scores prior to licensure. The state uses Educational Testing Services to administer its exams. Elementary teachers must pass the overall elementary exam, which costs $170, and then earn passing marks on math, science, reading, and social studies tests, each of which costs $60 to take. The elementary exam takes 4.25 hours, while the other tests take 1-1.5 hours. Scores automatically get forwarded to the Wyoming PTSB. Alternatively, social studies teachers must pass either the middle school social studies or social studies content knowledge exams. These cost $146 and $120, respectively, and take two hours. The ETS provides practice exams, study tips, and other information related to these tests on its website.
Wyoming also allows teachers who obtained their licenses out of state to qualify for in-state licensure through alternative methods. To qualify for teaching positions in Wyoming under these circumstances, you must have taught for three of the last six years. Individuals must also meet the state's other requirements, including fingerprinting and demonstrable knowledge of the U.S. and Wyoming constitutions. Out-of-state teachers may also need to take Praxis II exams if they intend to teach elementary school or social studies.
Teachers must periodically renew their licenses. Wyoming issues most educator licenses in five- or 10-year terms. To successfully renew, most teachers must have completed at least five professional development credits since they last renewed their license.
Choosing a Degree Program in Wyoming
The state of Wyoming officially approves more than a dozen different teaching programs and welcomes applicants from many more. Due to this variety of options, it can be difficult for aspiring teachers to determine which teaching program is the best for them. You should consider many factors while making this decision.
The most important consideration for many students is simply the cost. Can you afford the programs that interest you? Many students struggle to pay for their education -- even with scholarships and loan forgiveness programs. Make sure you understand all of the financial commitments associated with a program before deciding to take on student debt; the most expensive program may not be the best.
After figuring out which schools you can afford, you should consider how far you want to travel for college. Online programs obviously demand less travel, but some do require residencies and student teaching experiences, which may necessitate visits to campus. However, many programs allow participants to complete teaching requirements near their homes.
Some programs use a cohort-based format, requiring students to take single classes at a time in sequence with a group of their peers.
Another variable worth considering is the length of a program. Several factors can impact the time to graduation. For example, many online degrees follow a self-paced curriculum, allowing learners to progress at their own speed. Alternatively, some programs use a cohort-based format, requiring students to take single classes at a time in sequence with a group of their peers.
Finally, you should look into whether a program includes specializations that match with your career goals. If you plan on teaching in Wyoming, you should also look to see whether programs include coursework related to the U.S. and Wyoming constitutions. Many online programs, even those hosted by out-of-state schools, include classes that cover the U.S. constitution.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Wyoming?
Online programs combine the same rigorous curricula offered by brick and mortar universities with flexible programming that lets teachers continue to work and earn money. Many universities format their online teaching programs to allow for maximum scheduling convenience, allowing educators to lighten their loads while school is in session and add extra classes and residencies during summer break.
The Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) makes no distinction between online and on-campus programs when it comes to licensing. Many of the state-approved teacher preparation universities listed on its site feature online programming, and some of these programs are even based as far away as Massachusetts and Virginia.
Wyoming accepts degrees from teaching programs that carry accreditation from one of the six regional accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. It also recognizes programs that hold accreditation from prestigious teacher accreditation agencies, including the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council, both of which now form the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Additionally, when selecting a program, it is important make sure that it includes student teaching hours.
Directory of Teaching Schools in Wyoming
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Wyoming
As the cost of college continues to skyrocket, students in all fields and at all levels struggle to pay for their degrees. Fortunately, several avenues exist that can help reduce out-of-pocket expenses for learners. The first step for any prospective students is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This federal form determines your eligibility for federal loans and tells you what other types of funds you might qualify for. Both the federal government and private lenders maintain lending programs for college students.
Scholarships and grants represent additional sources of aid. Higher education institutions, businesses, nonprofits, and community organizations all run scholarship programs and award grants to students. These awards do not always go to the applicants with the highest GPA; awarding agencies factor in many other considerations, including need, community service, and leadership potential. Additionally, many scholarships explicitly favor future teachers, and prospective educators can also look for teacher reimbursement programs, which offer funds or loan forgiveness in exchange for future service in an underserved or low-income community.
Loan Forgiveness for Wyoming Teachers
Teacher loan forgiveness programs help alleviate the burden of student debt for prospective educators. Sponsored by the federal government, and even some states, these programs tend to work in a similar fashion: Students make a commitment to teach in a low-income district or underserved area in exchange for funds and/or loan forgiveness. Teachers with specialized skills, such as training in special education or a second language, may qualify for additional funds.
Teachers in Wyoming can participate in the federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) program. TEACH grants provide aspiring teachers with up to $4,000 a year, which is applied toward the cost of their education. In return, these students agree to take teaching positions in a high-need field or at a school that serves low-income families. Teachers must remain on the job for at least four years and begin their employment within eight years of graduating. Students who receive aid and fail to fulfill this teaching requirement must pay back the money as a loan.
The state also runs its own reimbursement program for special education teachers. The WDE distributes $12,000 stipends to school districts with special education positions that remain unfilled for more than a year. This money is given to special ed teachers to reimburse costs associated with their education.
Scholarships for Teaching Students in Wyoming
A variety of organizations award grants based academic achievement, community service, extracurricular activities, and/or economic need. Some also include unique eligibility requirements, potentially boosting a student's chances of earning an award. Future teachers in Wyoming can access many grants and scholarships specifically geared toward them, including the ones listed below.
Superior Student in Education Scholarships $1,000
Leona S. and Jeanette Heptner Scholarship Varies
Phi Delta Kappa Scholarships $500 to $2,000
TEACH Grants $4,000
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Wyoming
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
As the table above shows, the annual mean wage for teachers in Wyoming falls a bit short of the national average. However, when factoring in the cost of living in Wyoming, educators in the state fair quite well in terms of their finances. Additionally, the state of Wyoming continues to make the profession more appealing to future educators, and it compares especially well to surrounding states. For example, Wyoming pays considerably more than many of its neighbors, including Montana and South Dakota, at the base salary level.
Many different factors affect salary levels. Large school districts in more urban and suburban areas often pay teachers more than smaller schools in rural towns. According to a recent report published by the Wyoming School Boards Association, teachers in larger districts like Laramie and Cheyenne can make much more than their counterparts in smaller places like Platte. Additionally, educators who work in specialized fields, like special education, tend to take home higher salaries.
|Elementary School Teachers||$58,860|
|Middle School Teachers||$59,700|
|Secondary School Teachers||$58,910|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Wyoming
How do I get a teaching license in Wyoming?
How much does a teacher make a year in Wyoming?
How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Wyoming?
Resources for Teachers in Wyoming
- Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) The official state educational agency provides information on certification and licensing in Wyoming. The agency's website also features information about state-approved teaching programs, credit requirements for professional development, and performance standards.
- Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB) Part of the state government, the PTSB is another important resource for aspiring educators in Wyoming. The board's website answers frequently asked questions related to teacher licensing, coaching in schools, and permitting for other school-related positions (e.g., school nurses and sign-language interpreters). The site also includes job postings and professional development information.
- Educational Testing Service (ETS) The official examiners of Wyoming, ETS hosts a wealth of information about registering for, preparing for, and taking the examinations needed to earn a Wyoming teaching license. Prospective teachers can learn about the steps required for licensing and the various Praxis subject area tests needed for Wyoming teaching credentials.
- Wisconsin School Boards Association (WSBA) The official voice of Wyoming's school boards, the WSBA is dedicated to promoting the state's public schools. The organization provides many services, including advocating for the state's teachers and students, managing finances, and distributing resources. It also maintain lists of available Wyoming teaching jobs and administrative positions.
- Wyoming Education Association (WEA) A statewide professional organization, WEA works to improve public education in the state. Members include teachers, principals, superintendents, professors, and concerned community members. Members gain access to news, teaching tips, publications, and professional development opportunities.