Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in Louisiana

Louisiana teachers hold certification that authorizes them to act as classroom teachers; their certification denotes particular areas where they are qualified to teach. Those who teach the younger grades are often generalists.

There are several middle school endorsements (four core subjects and an algebra endorsement). There are a variety of options at the secondary level (grades 6-12) and also in some specialty fields. The following are among the K-12 options:

  • Computer Literacy
  • Art Education
  • Adaptive Physical Education

There are multiple exceptional needs teaching areas, including mild/ moderate special education and hearing impaired.

Bulletin 746 includes standards for different teaching endorsements.

Initial certification requires completion of an academic degree and a teacher preparation program. Education programs are widely available at the undergraduate level. Individuals who already hold degrees, though, have a greater choice of program formats.

Louisiana mandates particular assessments, but in many cases, they will be included as part of the original program. Once certified, a teacher can add teaching areas; current credentialing will play a role in determining how easy it will be to add particular endorsements.

Pathways to Teaching

Louisiana defines the traditional route as a four year BA or BS degree. The student will have the usual general studies curriculum as well as coursework in professional education and preparation for a certification area of focus. The program will include 180 hours of field experience, followed by a student teaching experience or internship/ residency.

Louisiana defines alternate teacher preparation programs as preparation for non-education majors – the individuals who complete them already have degrees but in other fields ( Some programs award master's degrees; some don't. Among the options are practitioner teacher programs: streamlined programs that incorporate full-time teaching.

The Assessment Process

There are three components to the assessment process: core academic skills, pedagogy, and subject area competency. Praxis tests are integrated within teacher preparation programs. A candidate will take the first Praxis test, an assessment of general academic skills, at program entrance unless he or she qualifies for an exemption. High SAT or ACT scores can mean exemption. Individuals who enter alternate programs having already earned a master’s degree are also considered to have met the general academic assessment requirement.

World languages candidates take a pedagogy test specific to the teaching of world languages. Most teacher preparation candidates take a Principles of Teaching and Learning assessment at the appropriate grade level. The assessment is offered at four levels: early childhood, grades K-6, grades 5-9, and grades 7-12. Though Louisiana issues middle grade endorsements at the grades 4-8 level, the corresponding Praxis test is Principles of Teaching and Learning: Grades 5-9.

Elementary teachers take a subject area assessment with four sub-tests; they may register for these sub-tests individually or together. (They will need to be aware of differences in test code that correspond with their selection.)

The special education assessment process is slightly different. Many special education candidates take the elementary multi-subjects test; some have the option of taking a secondary test corresponding to a particular subject area. There will also be tests specific to special education. Some candidates will take two. The Praxis series includes a test specific to teaching students with visual impairments and one specific to teaching students with hearing impairments.

Praxis tests are made available through Education Testing Services (ETS). ETS maintains a page that includes Louisiana testing requirements, as well as other state-specific resources (

Those who test in Louisiana can opt to have their scores sent directly to the licensing authority.

Out-of-state candidates can receive an out-of-state certificate without having met the Praxis examination requirement. They may be exempted from some assessments after a year of teaching in Louisiana.

Adding Teaching Areas

The official Teach Louisiana website includes a list of courses that can be used to meet standards for various subject areas (; the list is not intended to be exhaustive. Teachers may request transcript analysis by submitting pages of the certification update packet along with supporting documentation (

K-12, special education, or secondary teachers who wish to add an elementary education endorsement will have a nine-semester hour reading requirement and additional testing requirements. They will take the Praxis Principles of Teaching assessment at the grades K-6 level. Subject knowledge is demonstrated through the elementary subject area Praxis test or through coursework – a teacher who goes the latter route will need a substantial block of coursework in each of the four main core areas.

Out-of-area authorizations may allow teachers to teach in a new area while pursuing endorsement requirements.

In some cases, a teacher will need to add grade levels to an existing teaching area.

Certification Levels

Professional certifications are issued at multiple levels. Teachers can move up to the second level after accruing experience and receiving a sufficient number of evaluations of ‘effective’. An optional third level is dependent on additional education at the master’s level.

There are other credentials, which authorize teaching in some circumstances. Individuals who are teaching while pursuing alternative routes to certification hold practitioner licenses.

The Application Process

Louisiana has an online certification system, Teach LA Live!

The licensing authority charges a $50 processing fee for initial applications.

Additional Information

Information is available on the Teach Louisiana website ( This site includes official information from the Department of Education. Prospective teachers can go through a series of online questions to determine their pathway (

The Louisiana Department of Education Constituent Service Center can be reached at 1-877-453-2721.

Standards change periodically.

Additional resources include the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education ( and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools ( The Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools has published a list of FAQs about the certification process.