In April 2014 Indiana State Board of Education decided to adopt a new set of standards for English and language arts students. The standards came about because the ISBE felt that its students needed to meet more rigorous goals and objectives in education. Those students who meet the objectives should be ready to go directly from school into the workplace (or on to succeed in college) without having to relearn any course material taught in high school.
As a potential language arts teacher in Indiana, you will be expected to know and follow these new objectives. Indiana teachers will have a greater amount of accountability in the future as lawmakers look to the state’s educators to fulfill their new ideals in education. Planning to become a teacher in Indiana can be a lifetime career opportunity that should allow you to help students meet these new goals. To get your new career going in the right direction, follow the general guidelines below:
|Determine Which Degree Program to Complete|
|Pass The State Exams for Indiana|
|Apply to the Board for Licensing|
|Keep Your License Current|
Step 1. Determine Which Degree Program to Complete
If you’ve considered a career in teaching, you may have already done some preliminary research on how to be an English teacher in Indiana. One of the first steps to complete your license is choosing an educational program. The Office of Educator Licensing and Development in Indiana has select institutions that can prepare you for a teaching career. These programs are found at local colleges and universities as well as online programs.
Each teaching degree is designed to help you acquire the necessary skills you will need to teach your student population. The minimal program (bachelor degree) will start with general courses. Some of these courses in the beginning of your program might include:
- Political Science
- Critical Reading and Thinking
After you complete the general educational classes, you will participate in courses dedicated to teaching and core classes in language arts.
The teaching preparation section will help you learn how to be an effective educator. You will learn how children grow, develop, and acquire the use of language skills. You will also learn how to design your own lessons that meet the state standards for English. In the last part of your program you will have the chance to participate in a classroom as the teacher. This will give you field experience so that you will soon be ready to conduct your own class.
Master’s Program- Alternatives to Bachelor’s Degrees
If you are re-entering the workforce after being out for some time or you are switching from one career to another, you may want to seek an alternative path. One of the best preparation programs available is a master’s degree that will prepare you to teach. A master’s degree in education or English with a teaching program can potentially be added to any past degree that you have earned. If this sounds like a plausible route for you, you can read more details here.
Step 2. Pass The State Exams for Indiana
Step two is the testing phase. State exams are designed as a way to prove that you have earned the skills needed to teach. There may be some instances where you will have to take your basic skills exam prior to entering the teaching program in Indiana. If this is the case, you will be instructed during your education when the appropriate time is to take the basic skills test.
In the past the basic skills test was the Praxis I exam (a commonly used test in the U.S.). Indiana will no longer use this exam. As of 2013, the state began implementing a new basic skills assessment test known as CASA. Passing the basic skill assessment test is a requirement for all teacher candidates entering an Indiana teacher preparation program and who don’t qualify for one of their alternate exceptions.
Along with CASA, you will also take a core competency test. It will focus on language arts competency that is specific to the age of your students. Elementary school teachers will take a different test than high school teachers.
When the time is right for you, here are a few things that will help you prepare for the tests:
- Talk with your school about which tests are the right ones for you.
- Download or purchase any practice material that can help you prepare.
- Space your testing out in a way that will allow you to feel confident about the outcomes.
- Know ahead of time what the schedules are for each test and what fees you may encounter. Each test has its own fee.
Step 3. Apply to the Board for Licensing
The last step you will need to take is submitting an application for licensure. There are several things that you will need to have — such as your degree transcripts, teaching experience documentation, and your testing scores — when you are ready to apply.
The first time you are licensed, you will also be required to pay two fees:
- The Evaluation Fee
- The Application Fee for Licensing
The evaluation fee is necessary for evaluating your credentials. When the evaluation process is completed, an additional fee will be paid in order for you to have your license issued. The Office of Educator Licensing will let you know when the fee is due.
Along with a completed application and required documents, Indiana requires teachers to complete training in the following:
When you have all the necessary steps completed you can apply for your license here.
Step 4. Keep Your License Current
Each teacher in Indiana must participate in a set number of continuing education units in order to keep their license current. Depending on your situation, you may renew your license in as little as two years.
If you only have a two-year Initial Practitioner license you can renew it up to two times (total of 6 years time). Once you have renewed it twice, you will have to have completed one of the following in order to move on to the Five-year Proficient Practitioner License:
- Complete a Professional Growth Plan (PGP)
- Take the Praxis II test
- Take the Pearson IN Core Content Area exam
Once you hold the Five-year Proficient Practitioner License, you must complete 6 semester units of approved courses in order to gain renewal each five years.
You can also maximize the fee for renewal by adding an additional content area to your license when you renew. The fee is the same for both your renewal and adding a content area.
Indiana English Teacher Salaries
Indiana has over 6.5 million residents. More than twenty-five percent of these people are under eighteen years old. That means that Indiana has a large population of school-age children. Becoming a teacher in Indiana means you will likely have several opportunities for job openings across the state. As you research these, you will want to look closely at each district’s policy on salary schedules, as things seem to be changing on this front.
Currently for instance the salaries for an English teacher in two school districts are as follows:
- Minimum entry level: $35,684
- Maximum experienced level: $71,042
- Minimum entry level: $26,455
- Maximum experienced level: $58,214
For the time being, these salaries follow typical steps for time served and number of units earned in college. The maximums typically reflect master’s degrees plus additional college units. The minimums are first year teachers with bachelor’s degrees. Traditionally these were the main criteria for earning a higher salary. That may not be the only factors moving forward.
In recent years, Indiana has implemented teacher evaluations that are more objective (rather than past subjective ones) that could impact salaries. The aforementioned English teacher, if teaching in Alexandria or Brown Counties may now earn a stipend if their performance rating is considered effective or highly effective. Other counties may adopt this same model as time goes on. Salaries may change on the step scale as well. It is too early in the process to know for certain how this new performance model will impact not only an English teacher’s salary in Indiana, but all teachers’ salaries across the board.
To view other salary schedules in cities across Indiana see the chart below: