Become a Teacher in Rhode Island

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Teaching in Rhode Island Snapshot

$75,950Secondary School Teacher Salary
$72,310Elementary School Teacher Salary
$15,943Public School Spending Per Student

All career and salary information pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 pupil expenditure information was provided by Governing

RHODE ISLAND DEPARTMENT OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION

255 Westminster Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401)-222-4600

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Steps to Becoming a Teacher in Rhode Island

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. Teach.com 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 update: 04/26/2020)

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Prerequisite Coursework in Rhode Island

Generally speaking, states require that certified teachers hold, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree. There are some states that have requirements for coursework in particular subjects, or undergraduate credit hour requirements in order to be certified in specialty areas. For initial certification, Rhode Island only requires that applicants complete an approved Educator Preparation program.

 

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Rhode Island Teacher Certification Programs

Teacher certification programs can be taken online or on-site. They typically include courses on educational theory,classroom skills seminars, and a fieldwork component of student teaching at a local school. A list of teacher preparation programs approved by the Rhode Island Department of Education can be found on the agency’s website.

 

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Required Tests for Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Department of Education requires applicants for Initial Licensure complete certification area-specific tests administered by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, Pearson, and ETS – specifically, from its Praxis Series. A full list of the tests necessary for each certification area can be found on the Department of Education website.

You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting Teach.coms' Guide to the Praxis Exams and read more about teacher certification tests on Teach.com.

Initial Teaching Certifications

The Rhode Island Department of Education issues educator certifications.Professional Educator Certificates, which require the demonstration of competencies, successful performance on assessments, and completion of field experience, are valid for five years and may be renewed for the same period.

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Alternative Certification in Rhode Island

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities whose bachelor’s degree are not in education, and who have not yet earned a traditional teaching certificate, can still receive alternative certification through Teach for America. Members must complete a summer institute, get a passing score on the PRAXIS exam, and obtain a teaching position.

Rhode Island Teacher Certification Information & Links

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Transferring Your Certification

Certification Reciprocity in Rhode Island

Rhode Island participates in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification’s (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement. It will accept valid, current, full, out-of-state certificates that align with Rhode Island’s certificate grade range and content area, as well as NASDTEC. Certification reciprocity is somewhat complicated, so it’s best to contact the Rhode Island Department of Education to inquire about specific details.

To find out what other state teaching licenses can be used in Rhode Island, check out our Teacher Certification Reciprocity page on Teach.com.

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Jobs, Benefits, and Opportunities for Teachers in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Teaching Jobs

The Rhode Island Department of Education offers numerous professional development opportunities for teachers continuing their growth and learning throughout their teaching careers. These include grants, workshops, self-directed modules and more.

Learn more about finding a teaching job on Teach.com.

Rhode Island Teacher Salary and Incentives

According to 2019 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Rhode Island teachers make an average of $71,000 to $72,310 per year, depending on grade level taught.

Many school districts in Rhode Island establish their own salary schedules for teachers, with organizations like the Providence Teachers Union and Howard Union of Teachers bargaining with local governments on behalf of educators.

Learn more about teacher salaries on Teach.com.

Rhode Island Teacher Benefits and Retirement

The Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island provides retirement plans for public school teachers in the state. It offers pension benefits, disability pensions and other resources to members. For more information about the services offered by the system, see the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island Handbook.

Learn more about benefits for teachers on Teach.com.

Rhode Island 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 list of teacher shortage areas in Rhode Island for the 2020-21 school year as reported by the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Art and Music
  • Career and Technical Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Language Arts
  • Math
  • School Nurse
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education
  • Education Technology
  • Media Specialist
  • World Languages

Financial Aid in Rhode Island

Rhode Island residents are eligible for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and the TEACH Grant, which offer financial aid to students in return for agreements to teach in high-needs schools.

Learn more about how to finance your Master's degree on Teach.com.

Career Advancement

Professional Development for Rhode Island Teachers

The Rhode Island Department of Education offers numerous professional development opportunities for teachers continuing their growth and learning throughout their teaching careers. These include grants, workshops, self-directed modules and more.

Benefits of a Master's Degree in Rhode Island

Public school teachers are generally not required to have a master's degree in the field of education, but educators across the country are realizing more and more the value of an advanced degree. Since the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the Every Child Succeeds Act of 2015, greater emphasis is placed on teacher performance, teacher qualification, and the results of teachers in the classroom.

A master’s degree carries a lot of weight in the teaching job market and those who have their master’s are regarded as experts in their field. Teachers with a master’s degree are more likely to be hired, promoted, and better compensated for their work. According to the Providence Teachers Union, for example, educators holding a master’s degree can earn up to $3,105 more than their peers who only hold bachelor’s degrees.

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

Explore Sponsored Program Options in Education

Featured Online programs
University Name Type of Program Program Description
University of Southern California Master of Arts in Teaching The online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares you to become a transformative K–12 teacher. Through live online classes and enriching field experiences in your community, you can earn your MAT in less than 18 months without relocating.
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Last Updated May 2020