As a prospective teaching candidate in Nebraska, you will find that the public school system has been in a steady incline in academic performance in the recent years. More than half of all the school districts in Nebraska have shown increases in scores in the annual State of the Schools Report. The goal for Nebraska students is to ready them for college or a career by the time they are out of high school.
As an English Language Arts teacher you will play a significant role in readying students for their futures. The skills they acquire in reading and writing will long serve them throughout their lives— not only in their careers, but in their personal lives as well. The necessary steps to teacher certification are given below. They will help you get started in the direction of your new teaching career.
|Complete Your Education|
|Pass Nebraska Teaching Exams|
|Apply for a Teaching Certificate|
|Renew Your Certificate|
Step 1. Complete Your Education
The basic degree requirement for anyone who wishes to teach in Nebraska is a bachelor’s degree in either education or English Language Arts. These degree programs must be taken at an accredited institution and can be completed in about four years. Each program will not only train you as a teacher, but will give you the proper grade-appropriate content necessary to teach effectively.
If you plan to seek a bachelor’s degree, you can elect to take courses in your core content area that might include:
- Basic writing skills
- World literature
- Creative writing
You will also take courses that prepare you for the classroom. These classes are designed so that you understand how students acquire knowledge and how to break down information in incremental learning steps. One final part of your training will be in the classroom with students (usually in the age group you plan to teach) as you serve as an intern.
All educators in Nebraska seeking their first teaching license will also need to complete two specific courses:
Teacher Preparation Alternative Option
If you already have a degree and are changing careers, you may qualify to earn a temporary license. This alternative program to teaching in Nebraska will take into account any courses that you have taken in the past and apply them to the teaching requirements. The alternative route only applies to high school teachers. If you qualify for this path, you will be issued a Transitional License that will allow you to teach while completing any of the remaining state licensing requirements at that time.
Step 2. Pass Nebraska Teaching Exams
Part of the exams you will be required to take will likely happen prior to entering your teacher preparation program. As a teaching candidate, you will have to take the basic skills exams in math, English, and writing. This can be accomplished by completing either the Pre-Professional Skills test or the Core Academic Skills for Educators Test to meet this requirement.
If you plan to take the Core Academic exam you will need to pass with the following scores:
- Core Academic Reading Test- 156 or higher
- Core Academic Mathematics Test- 150 or higher
- Core Academic Writing Test- 162 or higher
For the Pre-professional test you will need to pass with the following scores:
- Reading – score of 170 or higher
- Math- score of 171 or higher
- Writing- score of 172 or higher
Content Exams Post Degree
As of September in 2015, elementary school and secondary school candidates will have additional testing requirements. These core content exams are taken after you complete your teacher preparation program. The exams are as follows:
- Test #5017 for Elementary educators
- Test #5039 English Language Arts: Content and Analysis for secondary educators
To register for the tests, you will need to complete an online account on the Praxis testing website. Through this account you will also find study material, be able to request testing scores, and make or change any testing appointments.
Step 3. Apply for a Teaching Certificate
This is the final stage of the certification process. Nebraska has several options in certification:
- Transitional – this certificate is issued to those who want to teach at the high school level and have chosen an alternative route to teacher preparation.
- Initial – This will be the first certificate issued if you have met all the state teaching requirements.
- Professional Certificate – This is an upgraded certificate available after you have been teaching for a set number of years and have met additional educational requirements.
The steps needed to complete your certification are as follows:
- You will need to order a set of fingerprints and send in two sets of cards with your application. You can apply for this online.
- Pay the fingerprint processing fee
- Show proof of taking a Human Relations Training course
- Show proof of a Special Education Training course
- Complete a record of residence form
- Submit proof of degree
- Submit proof of teacher preparation program
- Complete the application
All documents will go to:
Teacher Certification Nebraska Department of Education
301 Centennial Mall South
P.O. Box 94987
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4987
You should receive your teaching certificate within eight weeks of submission. If more information is needed or you failed to send in one of the requirements you will be notified at that time. Because it takes up to two months to receive your certificate, failure to include any requested information can delay the process.
Step 4. Renew Your Certificate
- Show proof of teaching for one (1) year
- Complete six (6) semester hours in teacher continuing education that include one of these options:
- Instructional techniques
- Complete a practicum of at least one hundred clock hours of contact with students in a classroom setting
- Take a course that involves current issues in education
When the time comes to renew your teaching certificate in Nebraska, you may also advance to the Professional level if you meet one of the following requirements:
- Complete a master’s degree in education or English Language Arts.
- Seek National Board Certification.
- Receive a six-year specialist’s certificate or a doctorate degree in education or English Language Arts.
Nebraska English Teacher Salaries
There was a time when Nebraska was known as the Great American Desert until it was discovered how fertile the soil was and renamed the Bread Basket due to the many grains grown there. Teaching in Nebraska schools will allow you to partake in a life where black gold runs deep in the hills and buffalo still roam the plains.
Nebraska schools range from small rural elementary schools to large metro high schools. There are 249 districts in Nebraska with just over 300,000 students. Nebraska is one of the top in educational spending in the U.S. They spend over $11,000 per student each year. Teacher salaries will vary according to each districts contractual policy.
As an example, an English teacher who is in her fifth year of teaching and has transferred into the state with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn an average of $48,000. Here are specific school salaries in Nebraska for an entry-level English teacher:
- Entry – $31,950
- Entry – $32,700
- Entry – $33,350
- Entry – $32,300
Many schools throughout Nebraska will compensate teachers for additional education. They will also allow for other benefits including health accounts, retirement matches, and stipends for additional work, reimbursement for tuition, and other types of perks. When the time comes for you to seek a teaching position, consider the entire employment package as part of the salary consideration.
To see additional salary data and information for other counties around the state of Nebraska see the table below: