Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in Nebraska

Teaching is a bachelor’s or master’s level profession. Nebraska, like most states, certifies teachers at multiple levels. Regular certificates include initial, standard, and professional; initial is the starting point for individuals who complete traditional educator preparation programs and meet minor additional in-state requirements.

Requirements at the initial level include earning a bachelor's degree, completing state-mandated trainings and assessments, and meeting the requirements for one or more Nebraska endorsements. These endorsements delineate what the teacher is qualified to teach.

A teacher can progress to the standard level through experience. He or she can progress to the professional level by earning a master's degree. The master’s degree may be in the area where the teacher holds endorsement or in curriculum and instruction, special education, or educational technology. The teacher will need to have some recent teaching experience (within the prior five years).

Nebraska programs are a resource for individuals seeking endorsement in particular teaching areas. Programs must go through an approval process. The Nebraska Department of Education Teacher Certification has provided a list of approved programs (

Nebraska mandates human relations training and special education training. The Nebraska Department of Education has provided lists of approved human relations courses. Experienced professionals have the option of writing a narrative to satisfy this requirement. The individual will write about how his or her employment experiences demonstrate the human relations competencies and have a supervisor sign to offer validation. A similar option exists for the special education training requirement.

Nebraska Teaching Endorsements

A teacher will receive one or more subject or field endorsements with initial certification. Field endorsements are broader than subject endorsements; the Department of Education considers them to encompass two or more subjects. The generalist endorsements that teachers use to work with young children in self-contained settings are classified as field; so are some secondary endorsements, for example, English/ Language Arts (Grades 7-12). Special education generalist is considered to be a subject endorsement at the K-6 or 7-12 levels, but a field endorsement at the K-12 level. (Prospective special education teachers who seek K-12 field endorsement have longer programs.)

The following are among the many field and subject endorsements Nebraska issues:

  • Art (PK-12)
  • Biology (7-12)
  • Earth and Space Science (7-12)
  • Health and Physical Education (PK-12)
  • Mathematics (6-12)

Nebraska also issues supplemental endorsements that can be added to one’s teaching certificate. Bilingual education is among the supplemental endorsements; it is available in PK-6, 7-12, and PK-12 grade bands. Special education functional academic skills and independent living specialist is a supplemental endorsement that can be added to a special education generalist credential. Adapted physical education is a supplemental endorsement that can be added to a physical education or special education credential.

Nebraska issues elementary K-6/ K-8 endorsements. Elementary endorsements authorize teaching through grade 6 and also authorize teaching in self-contained 7th and 8th grade settings. An elementary education student will have 40 semester hours of professional education coursework and additional coursework in the content areas. State code identifies particular curricular components that are to be addressed in content area coursework.

Early childhood inclusive is a field endorsement while early childhood is a supplemental endorsement that can be added to an elementary credential. The early childhood inclusive signifies that the teacher is qualified to teach and otherwise support young children, including those who have developmental and learning issues. Early childhood inclusive programs include at least 51 semester hours of applicable coursework.

Prospective middle grades teachers may earn middle level subject endorsement by completing programs that include at least 12 semester hours of coursework in professional education and at least 24 in a core area (math, science, social studies or English/ language arts). Middle level endorsement is for grades 5-9. Middle level teachers can earn additional middle grade endorsements in other core areas or in other content areas such as health and physical education or industrial technology.

Teachers may opt for additional field or subject endorsements as well.

Assessment Requirements

Nebraska uses Praxis tests to assess basic academic skills and competency in endorsement areas.

The Core Skills Test is used for program admission. It is generally required for initial certification but a person can be exempted on the basis of two years of teaching experience (or on the basis of taking another state's basic academic assessment).

The ETS website includes a list of Nebraska endorsements and corresponding subject area tests ( Candidates can see the minimum score required for passing.

Alternative Program Teaching Permits

An individual with a bachelor’s degree who has completed a significant portion of an educator preparation program may, in some cases, become teacher of record before completing program requirements. He or she may work under an Alternative Program Teaching Permit for a limited time period. The employing district will need to request the permit.

Out-of-State Teachers

Out-of-state teachers typically have some deficiencies that must be made up. They may be issued any of several types of credentials at the onset depending on what the deficiencies are. The credential might be termed provisional or temporary.

A provisional is valid for more than a year. An out-of-state teacher seeking this requirement will need to have met the human relations requirement but may not yet meet special education and/ or recency requirements and may not yet have passed all tests.

The Application Process

Nebraska requires background checks. Procedures vary depending on residency status.

The state uses an online certification system. Supplemental forms (for example, employment verification) can be found on the Department of Education website (

The licensing authority will need official transcripts for college academic programs.

Additional Information

Requirements change periodically. Some Praxis content tests, for example, became mandates only recently. The Nebraska Department of Education is the best source for current information (

Applications with questions can email ‘nde.tcertweb at’ or call 402-471-0739.