Become a Teacher in Montana

Montana Highlights

Avg. Elementary School Teacher Salary $49,730
Avg. Secondary School Teacher Salary $48,960
Vacation Weeks per Year 15
Pupil/Teacher Ratio 1:20
Expenditure per Pupil $11,017

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

PO Box 202501
(406) 444-3095

Montana Teacher Shortage Areas

A teacher shortage occurs when there are not enough teachers in key subject areas, which has been partly caused by years of teacher layoffs during the Great Recession, a growing student population and fewer people entering teacher preparation programs, according to the Learning Policy Institute.

The following is a partial list of teacher shortage areas in Montana for the 2016-17 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. (see page 94)

  • Career & Technical Education
  • Music
  • Science
  • English
  • Social Studies
  • Speech Language Pathologist
  • Mathematics
  • School Counselor
  • Special Education
  • Library
  • Art
  • World Languages

Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Montana

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 11/1/2016

To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of Montana, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit a Montana teaching credential application.

Continue below for more information.

Earn Your Montana Teaching Credential

To earn your Montana teaching credential you will have to complete required the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as an accredited certification program. Montana has two main types of certification for classroom teachers: the Class 2 Standard Certificate for beginning teachers with a bachelor’s degree who have completed an accredited teacher preparation program, and the Class 1 Professional Certificate, which requires three years of successful K-12 teaching experience and a master’s degree. Both certificates are renewable every five years.

Learn more about earning your teaching credential on the Office of Instruction’s Licensing page. Additional information can be found at

Step One: Prerequisite Coursework in Montana

All states require at least a bachelor’s degree to teach. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, Montana teachers must add an endorsement. An elementary level endorsement is earned by completion of an elementary teacher accreditation program. For secondary level endorsements, students must complete the equivalent of a teaching major or minor from an NCATE or state-approved college or university.

Additional endorsements on your license for elementary education, secondary English/language arts, secondary mathematics, secondary history and secondary science involves at least 16 credits in a teacher preparation program and at least 40 semester credits in an extended major, or 30 semester credits in an approved major, plus 20 semester credits in an approved minor.

Montana teacher preparation programs must include student teaching or some other type of certified teaching experience.

Step Two: Montana Teacher Certification Programs

Teacher certification programs can be taken online or on-site. They typically include an educational theory and classroom skills seminar and a fieldwork component of student teaching in the area. A list of accredited teacher preparation programs can be found at the Montana Office of Public Instruction’s Accreditation and Educator Preparation page.

Step Three: Required Tests for Montana

Most states require tests to show competency in basic skills as well as in the desired subject area. Montana teachers are required to pass the Praxis II exam in order to obtain Class 2 Educator Licensure. For more information contact MOPI at (406) 444-3150.

You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting the Praxis information page provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online Praxis Practice Tests and Praxis Study Guides, plus a variety of paid Praxis Test Prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep.

Read more about teacher certification tests on

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BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.

Counseling@NYU offers an online master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program, with concentrations in school and bilingual school counseling to prepare students to become collaborative leaders elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. Part-time and full-time options are available to fit student schedules.

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.

The Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT) is for aspiring teachers who want to gain the skills and knowledge they need to become great educators.

The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.

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Alternative Teacher Certification in Montana

Montana offers a Class 5 alternative license which lasts for three years while a candidate completes a valid teacher preparation program and/or the requisite coursework. These are available for candidates who might meet some, but not all of the requirements for a class 1, 2, 3, or 6 license.

Those with a Class 5 License sign a Plan of Professional Intent agreeing to complete their deficient requirements within three years. Class 5 licenses cannot be renewed or reinstated and students are restricted to one Class 5 license in their lifetime. These licenses are most typically used when one has a bachelor’s degree in an endorsed area and needs to complete a teacher prep program or does not complete renewal requirements.

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Benefits of a Master's Degree in Montana

It is no longer enough to only have years of experience teaching. After No Child Left Behind and other academic quantification measures, teachers are almost solely evaluated by their results in the classroom. A master’s degree in the field of education can give you more educational theory and classroom skills, as well as more hands-on student teaching experience with a mentor. In Billing Public Schools, a teacher starting out with a master’s degree can earn $6,000 more than a new teacher with a bachelor’s degree, according to the National Council for Teacher Quality.

Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on  

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Certification Reciprocity in Montana

Interstate reciprocity is a program that allows teachers certified in one state to teach in another state. Montana does not currently offer a reciprocity program.To find out which other state teaching licenses can be used in Montana, visit the’s reciprocity page or for specific questions about your situation, contact the Montana Office of Public Instruction.

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Financial Aid in Montana 

Montana residents are eligible for the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship as well as the TEACH Grant, a grant which gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need school.

Learn more about how to finance your master's degree on

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Montana Teacher Salary and Incentives

In Montana, teachers earned an average of  $49,999 in 2012-13, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Montana additionally provides loan forgiveness to teachers willing to work in high-needs demand schools and shortage subjects.

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Montana Teacher Benefits and Retirement

Montana public school teachers are required to become members of the Public Employees’ Retirement System (PERS), which offers benefits related to retirement, disability, and life insurance. Montana teachers can retire at age 60 with 5 years of service, or at any age after 30 years of service. Montana covers the core insurance areas of medical, dental, and life insurance, but there are also other plans that offer more extended coverage.

Learn more about benefits for teachers on

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Professional Development for Teachers in Montana

Montana has its own government agency devoted to professional development. The Professional Development Center (PDC) offers a variety of courses and workshops throughout the year.

Professional development for Montana teachers is measured in Office of Public Instruction (OPI) Units. 15 OPI Units is equivalent to 1 semester credit. To renew either a Class 1 or a Class 2 license, you must complete the equivalent of 60 OPI Units in each five-year licensing period. For Class 2 license holders, this must include at least 3 college or university semester credits combined with the appropriate number of OPI Units. For Class 1 License holders, the requirement may be satisfied by any combination of OPI Units and semester/quarter college credits.

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Montana Teaching Jobs

The Montana Office of Public Instruction maintains Jobs For Teachers Montana, which posts current job openings for Montana educators. allows potential teachers searching for jobs in Montana to post their applications online for district employees to view. The website also provides information on Montana Teacher Certification Requirements, loans for teachers, and housing opportunities for new teachers in Montana.

Learn more about finding a teaching job on

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