Montana has eight different licensure options for aspiring teachers, depending on your background and what you want to teach. If you want to become a teacher through an alternate route, you should apply for the Class 5 license. Let's take a look at the steps required for this license.
Requirements for Alternative Route Teachers in Montana
|Average Salary for Teachers Montana (2017)*|| $28,860 (Preschool)
$52,610 (Elementary School)
$53,910 (Middle School)
$51,290 (Secondary School)
|Required Degree||Bachelor's Degree|
|Testing Requirements||Praxis Content Knowledge exam|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Complete Education
In order to begin any type of licensure process in Montana, you must complete a bachelor's degree program. This can be in any major, provided it is from an accredited college or university. It is best that you attend a college in Montana to avoid any questions or hiccups in the transcript process. However, so long as the college program is an accredited one and in good standing, there shouldn't be an issue. It's best to consider licensure in the area in which you majored. For instance, it would not make much sense to want to teach chemistry if you majored in art.
Step 2: Complete Educator Preparation Program (EPP)
In Montana, there are several EPPs that have been approved by the Office of Public Instruction (OPI). These programs will include several education courses and pedagogy theory courses. For the most part, these programs are tailored for the individual, since each prospective teacher's background will be different based on his/her bachelor's degree program and what s/he would like to teach. So if you would like to teach elementary school, you will find courses pertaining to elementary education and working in elementary schools. These programs also include student teaching, during which you'll spend time in the classroom working with real students under the tutelage of a licensed teacher.
During this time, you will want to complete the corresponding Praxis exam for the endorsement you are seeking. So for that elementary education, you will either take the Early Childhood Education or the Elementary Education: Content Knowledge exam, depending on the grade you want to teach. Secondary school teachers will focus their endorsement on the subject they will teach, such as art, biology, English, etc.
Step 3: Complete Indian Hub
Since Montana is a largely Native-American-populated area, prospective teachers must complete the Introduction to Indian Education for All in Montana course. This is available for free online through the Montana Learning Hub. This is a self-paced lesson, and it counts as two renewal credits once completed.
Step 4: Complete Background Checks
Similar to other states, Montana asks that all school teachers be fingerprinted and submit to a background check. In order to do this, you will need to have separate checks conducted for the OPI and then an additional one for your school district after hire. These agencies will not share information with each other. For licensure, you'll need to get fingerprinted at a local law enforcement agency or identification agency. Depending on where this is done, there may be a fee. It is recommended that two fingerprinting cards be completed, in case one is illegible.
You will then mail these fingerprint cards along with a check for $27.25 to the Montana Department of Justice. They will run the background check for you. Be sure not to send your fingerprints to the OPI, as they will be sent back.
Certification Resources for Alternative Licensure Teachers in Montana
Though there are no specific exams listed in this article, you will need to take a Praxis exam at some point for certification. Here is a link that can take you to several Praxis-focused study guides.