Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in Idaho

Teacher preparation standards are becoming less input-based and more performance-based. There have been changes to Idaho teacher certification standards in recent years and likely will be more to come. Individuals enrolling in educator preparation programs don't need to concern themselves a lot, however, with what’s on the books – they’re programs will let them know what they need. Idaho approves teaching programs that operate within its borders, and it's the programs that verify that the candidate has met standards in their content area. Idaho also recognizes CAET/NCATE/ TEAC-accredited programs located in other states. There are some constants: A person needs both a bachelor's degree and a training program. Often the two are pursued concurrently. Those who have bachelor's degrees already have more flexible options.

Teacher candidates are first assessed on their teaching performance at the student level. Successful teaching experience allows a person to move up the ranks toward higher licensing.

Idaho Standards

The Rules Governing Uniformity, last revised in 2017, lists coursework standards for different endorsements.

In 2018, the State Department of Education published a draft of standards that Idaho programs were to use when granting institutional recommendations. It addresses knowledge and performance in ten areas (among them, creating learning environments and planning for instruction). It further breaks down knowledge and performance by assessment area. Elementary teachers, for example, were to create learning environments in part by modeling, teaching, and re-teaching developmentally appropriate expectations. The document includes a notation that programs are still expected to follow rules for uniformity.

Idaho utilizes Praxis assessments. There are many Praxis assessments. The vendor, ETS, maintains a page that outlines Idaho options (

General Requirements

Prospective teachers must complete approved programs. Programs may be approved in Idaho or another state. Students enrolling in out-of-state programs should look for ones that hold accreditation at the program level. Otherwise it may be necessary to achieve licensing in the other state and apply in Idaho at a later date based on their out-of-state credential.

Student teaching is a required component. Students across teaching areas receive instruction in content area reading.

Idaho utilizes the standards of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP); CAEP accreditation is recognized far and wide.

Idaho program completers are first credentialed at the initial level.

Alternative Authorization

Alternative authorization can allow a district or charter school to employ a person who has not yet completed his or her program. Individuals who have been licensed in other states but allowed their credential to expire are among those that may utilize this pathway (

Post-Graduate Options

Individuals who hold bachelor's degrees but haven't completed programs are advised to contact academic institutions and/ or approved Idaho alternative programs. The Idaho licensing authority accepts the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) and Teach for America (TFA) alternative programs. These programs allow individuals to take positions before completing their training. ABCTE performance assessments can be accepted in lieu of the Praxis. ABCTE tests candidates, then provides them with a year of intensive coaching while they teach. They receive an additional two years of mentoring.

Idaho issues a three-year interim permit for teachers who are completing alternative programs.

Endorsement Options

There are a wide variety of secondary endorsements. The following are examples: English, history, geography, Earth and space science, mathematics, basic mathematics, humanities, family and consumer sciences. Generally, secondary teachers are expected to have at least 30 semester hours in a content area and at least 20 in a secondary one. It is acceptable to have 45 semester hours in a single content area.

Some subject areas that are available at the secondary level are also available at the middle school level (grades 5-9). A number of certifications are valid from K-12. Among them are bilingual education and physical education.

Current regulations make provisions for teachers with particular endorsements to gain other related ones. A teacher with a blended early childhood/ early childhood special education endorsement can add a blended grades 4-6 endorsement; this is valid for teaching in settings other than middle school. The expectation would be for 20 semester hours of elementary education which includes methodology and content knowledge in various mandated subjects; there would be field experience.

‘All subjects K-8’ is Idaho’s general elementary credential. It is expected that a teacher who opts for this endorsement will have at least 20 semester hours of preparatory coursework including six semester hours of developmental reading. Idaho “all subjects” teachers have one accompanying subject endorsement which is K-12 or allows for teaching at least through grade 9.

A person who is applying for an initial credential can apply only for those endorsements for which he or she has an institutional recommendation -- this comes from the program.

Idaho also offers consulting teacher endorsements for experienced teachers.

The Application Process

The Idaho State Department of Education carries out state and federal background checks as well as checks of a sex offender registry. The State Department of Education has its own fingerprint card. Applicants can email ‘fingerprintrequest at’ to have a fingerprinting packet sent to them.

Application forms can be downloaded from the website of the State Department of Education ( The program will submit verification that requirements were met. The licensing authority will seek official transcripts. Out-of-state teachers are directed to provide copies of their teaching credentials.

ETS notes that score reports are to be downloaded and mailed to the Idaho licensing authority.

The licensing authority can accept official transcripts with the application or through email. There are separate instructions for each method (

There is a $75 application fee for both in-state and out-of-state applicants. There is a $27 background check fee.

Additional Information

Idaho teachers are credentialed by the Idaho State Department of Education ( The certification office can be reached by telephone at (208) 332-6882 or by email at 'certification at'.