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Montana Teaching Certificate Requirements

Montana provides several different types of certifications for teachers. Almost all certifications require a bachelor's degree, as well as applicable exams and teaching experience. Read more about the different certification requirements below.

Teaching in Montana

In the state of Montana, there are eight different license classes, six of which apply to teachers. Each of these licenses has different requirements and most can be renewed in five-year increments. Read more below to find out how to obtain and renew any one of these licenses.

Education Required Bachelor's degree or required experience (Class 4C certificate)
Exams Required Montana PRAXIS exam
License Validity Period 3 years (provisional); 5 years (standard and renewals)
Advancement Requirements Educational program and teaching experience
Mean Salary for Montana Teachers (2018) $31,160 (preschool)
$52,730 (kindergarten)
$52,360 (elementary)
$55,880 (middle school)
$50,670 (high school)
$53,000 (career/technical, secondary school)*
Estimated Job Growth (2016-2026, nationwide) 10.5% (preschool)
7.9% (kindergarten)
7.4% (elementary)
7.5% (middle and high school)
6.4% (career/technical, secondary school)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certification Classes in Montana

There are several classes of certificates in Montana for educators.

  • Class 1 Professional License: This certificate is for educators who hold a qualifying master's degree and teaching experience.
  • Class 2 Standard Teaching License: This certificate is for educators who do not hold a master's degree or qualifying teaching experience, but have completed qualifying student teaching.
  • Class 4 License: These licenses are for educators who teach career and technical education (CTE) courses. The three types of Class 4 certifications are:
    • Class 4A: This certificate applies to educators who already hold another teaching license.
    • Class 4B: This certificate requires qualifying experience in the area taught.
    • Class 4C: This certificate is available with qualifying experience, and is the only certificate which does not require a bachelor's degree.
  • Class 5 License: This certificate is for educators who have not completed a teacher preparation program or any student teaching.
  • Class 7 License: This certificate is for Native American language and culture educators.
  • Class 8 License: This certificate applies to dual credit teachers who work for a college or university and teach classes for high school students earning both high school and college credits.

Requirements for Certification

All certificates, except for Class 4C, require a bachelor's degree. Additional requirements for each certificate are as follows:

Class 1 Educator License

To qualify for the Class 1 license, an educator must meet any one of the following:

  • Completion of a teacher preparation program accredited by NCATE, CAEP, or MACTE, or one that is state-approved, as well as completion of a student teaching or supervised teaching experience through a teacher preparation program
  • Completion of a National Board Certification Program
  • Completion of a non-traditional teacher preparation program with five successful years of teaching experience along with a current standard out-of-state educator license.

In addition, each of the following requirements must be met:

  • Completion of a master's degree in education or related field or certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
  • Verification of the Montana PRAXIS exam
  • Completion of An Introduction to Indian Education for All in Montana
  • Verified teaching experience while licensed: three years for a traditional educator preparation program or five years for a non-traditional educator preparation program

Class 2

To qualify, an educator must first meet one of the following:

  • Completion of a teacher preparation program accredited by NCATE, CAEP, or MACTE, or one that is state-approved, and completion of student teaching or a supervised teaching experience through a teacher preparation program
  • Completion of a National Board Certification Program
  • Completion of a non-traditional teacher preparation program with five successful years of teaching experience along with a current standard out-of-state educator license.

In addition, the following two requirements must also be met:

  • A verified qualifying score on the Montana PRAXIS
  • Completion of An Introduction to Indian Education for All in Montana

Class 4

All Class 4 licenses require 10,000 verifiable hours, or five years, of experience in any field that the teacher will teach in. In addition, educators must also hold the following:

  • 4A: The educator should already hold a Class 1 or 2 license from Montana
  • 4B: No additional requirements
  • 4C: The educator must have a high school diploma or GED

Class 5

An educator must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Meet the professional educator's preparation program admission requirements
  • Completion of An Introduction to Indian Education for All in Montana

Class 7

To qualify for the Class 7 certification, an educator must be verified by the authorized representative of tribal government and the superintendent of public instruction to show that he/she meets all tribal standards for competency and fluency for teaching Native American subjects.

Class 8

  • Verification of employment from an appropriate official of the employing college or university
  • Recommendation from the chief academic officer of a qualified college or university verifying the educator's intent to teach in a K-12 subject that the educator majored or minored in, and verifying that the educator demonstrates sufficient experience to teach.

Application Process

The specific items required for applying differ with each certification class. Items may be submitted online with the application, emailed to cert@mt.gov, or mailed in to:

Montana Office of Public Instruction

Attn. Educator Licensure

PO Box 202501

Helena, MT 59620

All applications will require the following:

  • Fingerprints and background check
  • Processing fees ($18 provisional, $36 five-year)
  • Official transcripts
  • Verification of the required teaching, work experience, recommendations, and PRAXIS scores
  • Copy of a certificate of completion for An Introduction to Indian Education for All in Montana, if required

Additional requirements are as follows:

  • Both the Class 1 and Class 2 certifications also require a University Recommendation Form and a Notary Page. If applicable, a copy of a valid out-of-state teaching license is also required.
  • A Class 5 certificate also requires a Class 5 Plan of Study Document and a Notary Page.

Renewing a Montana Teaching License

Licenses expire on June 30th of each year, but educators have until August 31st to complete the renewal units or coursework required to renew their licenses. Renewals can take up to eight weeks to process. All renewals have a $30 processing fee. The requirements for renewal are as follows.

  • Class 1, Class 2, and Class 4 License: 60 OPI renewal units, or any combination of OPI renewal units with semester college credits. Each semester credit is worth 15 OPI renewal units. Quarter college credits are worth 10 renewal units.
  • Class 5 License: Non-renewable; Class 5 licenses will expire or convert to full licensure when requirements have been met.
  • Class 7 License: Can be renewed with verification by the OPI partnering tribe.
  • Class 8 License: No additional units are required. Renewal applications are available online.

How to Advance a Montana Teaching License

A Class 5 license can be upgraded to a Class 2 license by submitting an upgrade application along with transcripts and a university recommendation. If the Class 5 requirements have not been met within the three-year license period, the license will lapse and cannot be renewed.

A Class 2 license can be upgraded to a Class 1 license by completing an upgrade application, submitting transcripts of an earned master's degree, and submitting proof of three years of teaching experience.