Licensure

General Licensure Information

Note: The Montana Office of Public Instruction issues teaching and administrative licenses in the State of Montana. The following information is intended to provide a general overview of licensure in Montana and through the University of Montana programs. Specific questions should be addressed to the Licensure Manager or Academic Advisor in the College of Education and Human Sciences.

General Overview of Teaching Licensure in Montana

The State of Montana requires individuals to have the equivalent of a teaching major in the subject area they wish to teach plus complete an accredited, state-approved professional educator preparation program that includes a supervised student teaching experience. Additional endorsement areas can be added with either a teaching major or a teaching minor. Montana does not allow standardized tests to substitute for college-level content coursework.

Beginning Spring 2013, candidates completing teacher preparation programs through any of the accredited postsecondary institutions in Montana must pass an assessment of content knowledge in order to be recommended for licensure. This multiple measure assessment consists of content coursework GPA, an assessment of content knowledge demonstrated during student teaching, and a passing score on the appropriate Praxis II content knowledge test. Click here for a pdf of the multiple measure assessment.

General Overview of Administrative Licensure in Montana

The State of Montana requires individuals interested in becoming K-12 principals to hold a master's degree in Educational Leadership from an accredited professional educator preparation program or a master's degree in another education-related field plus 24 credits in school administration. (Specifics regarding the master's degree and course content requirements are found in ARM 10.57.415 – 10.57.417.) In addition, individuals must have a minimum of three years of successful experience as an appropriately licensed teacher in a K-12 setting. Individuals interested in becoming K-12 superintendents must hold a K-12 principal license and have one year of appropriately licensed administrative experience as a principal and three years of teaching experience as described above.  

General Overview of the Licensure Application Process

Students who complete teaching, school counseling, school psychology, or administrative programs at the University of Montana are recommended for licensure to the state Office of Public Instruction. Individuals are not eligible for licensure in Montana until the Licensure Manager verifies to the Office of Public Instruction that all academic requirements for the licensure requested have been completed. Each individual recommended for initial licensure in Montana is required to complete a national fingerprint-based background check. Teaching licenses are issued by OPI upon receipt of the licensure application, the university recommendation, and results of a background check.

All licensure application materials are routed through the Licensure Office at UM who then completes the university portion and submits all the materials to OPI. Teaching and counseling licensure candidates are provided licensure application directions during their end of the semester seminars. Administrative licensure candidates should contact the Licensure Manager for specific instructions as the process varies for each individual. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions....

Related to teaching licensure:

I am an undergraduate student and want to be a high school teacher. What do I need to do?

I am an undergraduate student and want to be an elementary teacher. What do I need to do?

I am an undergraduate student and want to be a middle school teacher. What do I need to do?

I already have a bachelor's or master's degree and want to be a high school teacher. What do I need to do?

I already have a bachelor's or master's degree and want to be an elementary teacher. What do I need to do?

I already have a bachelor's or master's degree and want to be a middle school teacher. What do I need to do?

Related to administrative licensure:

I am a teacher and want to become a K-12 principal. What do I need to do?

I do not have a teaching license, but I want to become a K-12 principal. What do I need to do?

I am a principal and want to become a K-12 superintendent. What do I need to do?

Other licensure questions:

I currently have a teaching license in Montana and need to renew. Where do I find additional information about renewal?

I am an undergraduate student and want to be a high school teacher. What do I need to do?
In Montana, one completes a degree in the subject area he wishes to teach (math, biology, English, etc.) plus an accredited, state-approved professional educator preparation program. At  UM, that means one gets a degree in the subject area he wishes to teach and also completes the secondary education licensure coursework within the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. In other words, you would complete your teaching major requirements, general education requirements, and the education requirements. You can find more information about the secondary licensure program here.

I am an undergraduate student and want to be an elementary teacher. What do I need to do?
Those wishing to become elementary teachers obtain their degree in elementary education. This program embeds the content coursework, general education coursework, and education/licensure coursework into a 120-credit bachelor’s degree. You can find more information about the elementary education BA and licensure program here.

I am an undergraduate student and want to be a middle school teacher. What do I need to do?
The State of Montana does not offer specific middle school licenses. Those licensed as elementary teachers can teach all the core content areas in grades K-8. Those licensed as secondary teachers can teach in grades 5-12. Therefore, those wanting to be middle school teachers can pursue either elementary or secondary licensure programs. You will find more details on each of those programs above. Those seriously considering middle school teaching should speak with an academic advisor in the College of Education and Human Sciences regarding hiring qualifications for middle school teachers.

I already have a bachelor's or master's degree and want to be a high school teacher. What do I need to do?
The State of Montana requires individuals to have the equivalent of a teaching major in the subject area they wish to teach plus complete a professional educator preparation program. Essentially, that means comparing your coursework to the teaching majors at UM. You would then need to complete any courses that you did not complete as part of your bachelor's or master's degree. Additional endorsement areas can be added with either a teaching major or a teaching minor. You can find the course requirements for all the content areas offered at UM on the Department of Curriculum and Instruction website.

There are two options for completing the professional educator preparation program at UM. One could complete the undergraduate Teacher Education Program as a post-baccalaureate student for undergraduate credit or the master's degree program in Curriculum and Instruction with initial licensure (an M.Ed.). Individuals with strong undergraduate academic backgrounds should consider the graduate route. You will find information regarding the undergraduate/post-baccalaureate program here. You will find information regarding the graduate program with initial licensure here.

In order to take any education coursework (C&I or EDU classes), you must be admitted into one of the programs mentioned above. The application deadline for the undergrad/post-bac program is every September 15th for spring admission and every February 15th for summer or fall admission. The application deadline for the graduate program is every October 1st for spring admission and every March 1st for summer and/or fall admission. You will find the undergrad/post-bac application and instructions on the Curriculum & Instruction website and "Teacher Education Program Admission Application." You will find the graduate program admission information here.

I already have a bachelor's or master's degree and want to be an elementary teacher. What do I need to do?
The State of Montana requires individuals to have the equivalent of a teaching major in the subject area they wish to teach plus complete a professional educator preparation program. Elementary education is slightly different in that you will be licensed to teach all the core content areas for grades K-8. Consequently, individuals must complete content coursework in all the core areas (math, science, social studies, reading, the arts) plus methods classes teaching one how to teach those content areas. At the undergraduate level, this is typically accomplished through a BA in elementary education. For those already holding a degree, this typically means completing some content coursework in addition to the education coursework.
 
There are two options for completing the professional educator preparation program at UM. One could complete the undergraduate Teacher Education Program as a post-baccalaureate student for undergraduate credit or the master's degree program in Curriculum and Instruction with initial licensure (an M.Ed.). At the elementary level, those with strong undergraduate academic backgrounds should consider the master's degree as the number of required credits is almost identical to the undergraduate program for most individuals. You will find information regarding the undergraduate/post-baccalaureate program here. You will find information regarding the graduate program with initial elementary licensure here.

In order to take any education coursework (C&I or EDU classes), you must be admitted into one of the programs mentioned above. The application deadline for the undergrad/post-bac program is every September 15th for spring admission and every February 15th for summer and/or fall admission. The application deadline for the graduate program is every October 1st for spring admission and every March 1st for summer and/or fall admission. You will find the undergrad/post-bac application and instructions on the Curriculum & Instruction website and "Teacher Education Program Admission Application." You will find the graduate program admission information here.

I already have a bachelor's or master's degree and want to be a middle school teacher. What do I need to do?
The State of Montana does not offer specific middle school licenses. Those licensed as elementary teacher can teach all the core content areas in grades K-8. Those licensed as secondary teachers can teach in grades 5-12. Therefore, those wanting to be middle school teachers can pursue either elementary or secondary licensure programs. You will find more details on each of those programs above. Those seriously considering middle school teaching should speak with an academic advisor in the College of Education and Human Sciences regarding hiring qualifications for middle school teachers.

I am a teacher and want to become a K-12 principal. What do I need to do?
Those interested in becoming K-12 principals must hold a degree in educational leadership. You may find information regarding that program here. Those who already hold a master's degree in an education-related field may have the option of completing a 24-credit administrative licensure program rather than the full M.Ed. If you believe you may be eligible for the administrative licensure program, you may contact the Department of Educational Leadership or the Licensure Manager.

I do not have a teaching license, but I want to become a K-12 principal. What do I need to do?
The State of Montana requires school administrators to have a minimum of three years of licensed teaching experience. Therefore, it is not possible to become a principal without obtaining a teaching license and then teaching for three years. To learn about teaching licensure, please see the teaching FAQ sections above.

I am a principal and want to become a K-12 superintendent. What do I need to do?
The State of Montana requires those seeking superintendent licensure to hold a K-12 principal license and have a minimum of one year of licensed experience as a principal. The superintendent licensure program typically consists of 12-18 credits depending on one’s academic background. Official transcript evaluations will be completed upon application to the program. You will find information regarding the administrative licensure application process here.

I currently have a teaching license in Montana and need to renew. Where do I find additional information about renewal?
You will find specific instructions about renewal requirements on the OPI website. The calendar under "Upcoming Events" on OPI's homepage also shows professional development activities across the state.

The Western Montana Comprehensive System for Professional Development (WM-CSPD) offers professional development activities for teachers. Its website also contains links to the other regional services agencies in the state.

UM's Extended Learning Services offers Professional Development Services. This program includes courses for educators which earn UM credit and do not require admission to UM. You will find additional information on the following website.

Those looking to take traditional courses through UM will need to be admitted or readmitted to UM and register for classes via cyberbear. You can use the course search feature on the cyberbear homepage for a list of available classes for each term.

Contact Us

Kristi Murphy
Licensure & Assessment Manager
Phyllis J. Washington College of Education & Human Sciences
kristine.murphy@mso.umt.edu
406.243.2121