Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in Ohio

A person can achieve Ohio teacher licensure after completing an Ohio educator program or a program in another state. Ohio has some state-specific requirements, but a teacher can begin teaching before meeting some of them.

Teaching is a bachelor’s level profession. How quickly a person can assume full teaching duties depends on background and also on the specific area where he or she wants to teach.

Teachers at the lower and middle grades should be aware that Ohio sets higher requirements than many states with regard to preparation for teaching literacy.

Ohio educator preparation programs are approved by the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. Prospective students can search for approved programs online (

Grade Level and Subject Options

Ohio teaching credentials fall under the following broad categories:

  • Early Childhood (Grades PK-3)
  • Middle Childhood (Grades 4-9)
  • Adolescent to Young Adult (Grades 7-12)
  • Multi-Age (Grades PK-12)
  • Intervention Specialist (Varying Grade Bands)
  • Career Technical Baccalaureate (Grade 4 to Beyond Grade12)

The early childhood credential is generalist. While middle childhood credentials are subject specific, they are very different than credentials for the oldest age group. Licensees at the middle level are recognized in at least two subjects. Only a limited number of middle childhood subjects are recognized; these correspond with core academic subjects: language arts and reading, mathematics, social studies, and science. Education students may combine any two. (Middle schools also employ teachers credentialed for other grade bands, including PK-12.)

The following are among the teaching areas recognized in Ohio:

  • Integrated Language Arts (7-12)
  • Integrated Science (7-12)
  • Earth Science (7-12)
  • Drama Theater (PK-12)
  • Dance (PK-12)
  • Health (PK-12)
  • Early Childhood Intervention (PK-3)
  • Mild/Moderate Needs Intervention (K-12)
  • Moderate/ Intensive Needs Intervention (K-12)
  • Agriscience (Grade 4 and up)
  • Family and Consumer Sciences (Grade 4 and up)
  • Integrated Business (Grade 4 and up)

Ohio uses the term endorsement to refer to add-on credentials. The following are among them:

  • Early Childhood Generalist
  • Middle Childhood Generalist
  • Gifted Intervention Specialist
  • Pre-Kindergarten Special Needs
  • Mathematics Specialist

In some cases, a teacher must hold credentialing in a specific teaching area to seek a particular endorsement. Early Childhood Generalist is an add-on that allows early childhood credential holders to teach self-contained grades 4 and 5. Middle Childhood Generalist, meanwhile, is an add-on endorsement for middle grade credential holders; it is a grades 4-6 endorsement. Mathematics Specialist is a PK-6 credential that can be pursued by teachers with early childhood or middle childhood credentialing or by secondary/ AYA mathematics teachers.

Teachers sometimes receive supplemental licensing to teach in areas for which they have not yet met all requirements. The Department of Education has provided an overview for different categories ( Ultimately, a teacher may add a new teaching area with less formal coursework than would be necessary if he or she was seeking first-time licensing.

Ohio Reading Coursework Requirement

Early childhood, middle childhood, and intervention specialist licensees complete 12 semester hours of coursework related to reading instruction. Out-of-state applicants may be issued standard licenses with as little as six semester hours of reading teaching but will have a deficiency on their license that must be made up.

Assessment Requirements

Ohio uses Pearson assessments for most endorsements. Subject area testing is a requirement whether a person is meeting requirements for first licensure or adding an endorsement.

The Foundations of Reading Test is required for early childhood, middle childhood, and intervention specialist credentials.

Candidates take pedagogy and subject area tests. There are four pedagogy tests. The candidate may take the Assessment of Professional Knowledge assessment at the early childhood, middle childhood, adolescent to young adult, or PK-12 level. (The Department of Education notes that an Ohio teacher only needs to complete a pedagogy assessment once in his or her career.)

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages/ Language Testing International (ACTFL/LTI) assessments are used for modern and classical languages.

Out-of-state teachers who have not yet met Ohio's assessment requirements may be granted a special one year license.

Alternative Teacher Licensing in Ohio

Individuals who hold bachelor's degrees and who can pass subject area tests may be allowed to complete programs that provide an accelerate pathway into teaching ( They begin by having their credentials evaluated. After completing an intensive institute or summer institute, a person can apply for a school position. He or she will complete additional coursework/ training later. A successful teacher can move up to the professional level after four years.

Alternative Montessori Licensing

Ohio has a separate alternative resident educator license for Montessori for educators who hold Montessori credentials but who don't meet regular Ohio licensing requirements ( These teachers will eventually need to complete an additional program can be employed in Ohio schools that utilize Montessori methodology in the interim. These teachers will enroll in the Ohio Resident Educator Program and complete requirements over a period of several years.

The Application Process

Ohio has an online credentialing system, CORE.

The Department of Education has provided a list of documents that out-of-state applicants should provide (

Out-of-state teachers can apply for licenses at the initial or professional level, depending on the amount of experience they have.

Ohio requires state and federal criminal background checks. Out-of-state applicants are directed to call to request fingerprint cards.

Additional Information

Information about Ohio teacher licensing is available from the Ohio Department of Education (

The Office of Educator Licensure can be reached by telephone at 614-466-3593 or toll free at 877-644-6338. Email can be addressed to ‘educator.licensure at’. Interested individuals can sign up to receive email updates from the Ohio Department of Education.

Requirements change periodically. The reading assessment, for example, became a requirement relatively recently, in 2017.