Teaching in Ohio | Degrees, Licensing & Certification (2023)

The state of Ohio offers exciting opportunities for prospective teachers. According to the National Education Association, Ohio operated 1,026 public school districts and enrolled 1,800,329 students in 2017, making it the third and sixth in national rankings for these respective categories. This means that Ohio teachers enjoy strong administrative and institutional support, as well as small class sizes with approximately 16 students per class. Additionally, state educators make well above the national average; Payscale ranks Ohio as the 10th best state for K-12 teacher salaries.

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Ohio operated 1,041 public school districts and enrolled 1,792,382 students in 2016, making it the second and 47th in national rankings

High demand is another reason why now is a great time to pursue a teaching degree in Ohio. Like other states, Ohio is experiencing teacher shortages in particular subjects and specialized areas, as well as in rural communities. To tackle the shortage, state and local government agencies pursue short-term solutions, like increasing the pool of available substitute teachers by making professional standards easier to fulfill. In the long run, teachers in Ohio can expect pay increases, better professional development assistance, and ample job opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports significant growth for all K-12 teaching positions in the state, including 25% and 27.8% increases for career/technical and special education teachers, respectively.

This guide provides relevant information on teaching requirements in Ohio. Overall, the certification process is fairly standard and includes degree work, professional training, exams, and application for licensure. Requirements for teacher licensure vary by state. Some of the best education colleges in Ohio provide degree and training programs for traditional students and distance learners. If you decide to earn a degree from an out-of-state school, alternative certification routes are also available.

How Do I Become a Teacher in Ohio?

The license you earn represents professional privileges specific to the state that granted it, and may not automatically transfer across borders. Fortunately, reciprocity agreements exist between most states that enable experienced teachers to earn a new license more easily than if they were to start anew. In Ohio, previously certified teachers can apply for a review of their academic and professional credentials and earn a temporary license, which lasts for one year. During this one-year window, they must complete the steps to become a fully certified educator.

If you're a student who wants to pursue a teaching career in Ohio, requirements include earning a regionally accredited college degree, completing an approved traditional or alternative teacher training program, passing necessary exams, and formal application for licensure, which includes a criminal background check. Once you've earned the initial license, the next step is to gain the advanced credentials.

Educational Requirements

While the initial teaching license in Ohio requires you to earn at least a bachelor's degree, you don't need to enroll in a baccalaureate program right away. Many students, particularly distance and other non-traditional learners, prefer an associate program as their first step to higher education and career development. Online associate programs provide low tuition rates, while also offering flexible courses through a largely asynchronous format, allowing you to work full-time and take care of other personal obligations while earning your degree. Many associate programs also facilitate direct transfer opportunities to partnering universities, making it convenient to pursue advanced academics.

Online associate programs provide low tuition rates, while also offering flexible courses through a largely asynchronous format.

Generally, obtaining a regionally accredited bachelor's degree constitutes the first step to fulfilling the standard teaching requirements in Ohio. Aspiring teachers can complete professional training in one of two ways. The first is through a traditional educator licensure preparation program, a process integrated into the degree plan of education majors who attend Ohio colleges and universities. Alternatively, individuals who earned their credentials from a school outside the state, or those who majored in an area unrelated to education, can enroll in the Intensive Pedagogical Training Institute (IPTI) to complete their training, a process that takes six months. Student teaching represents an integral part of training and you should expect to complete at least 12 weeks in traditional programs and 25 weeks if enrolled in the IPTI. Though a master's degree is not required to earn the initial license, Ohio teachers need one if they intend to earn the highest level of certification.

Certified educators from outside Ohio may apply for a one-year temporary license, during which time they pursue the necessary steps to become fully licensed. Ohio teachers who want to teach elsewhere must fulfill the requirements dictated by the state to which they're moving. Ohio participates in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Interstate Agreement (NASDTEC), so teachers enjoy partial reciprocity when working with another NASDTEC member state.

Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Ohio

Associate Degree in Teaching

Learning Theory and Portfolio Development This course provides a historical overview of important learning theories developed in the past two centuries. Students apply theory through experiential learning. They also create a professional resume and management and communication profile.
Introduction to Early Childhood Behavior Management Students learn the fundamental behavior theories as they relate to a classroom setting. The course also teaches students to develop age-appropriate behavior expectations and management strategies that support the learning needs of diverse kids.
Information Literacy Students gain the tools needed to make informed decisions about diverse information sources. Topics include question-based research methods and how to evaluate information based on purpose, credibility, authorship, and other criteria.

Bachelor's Degree in Teaching

Educational Psychology This course provides an introduction to how people learn. Topics include developmental theory, social factors in learning, and research as it's applied in student evaluation and equitable instructional techniques.
Principles of Instructional Design This class provides an examination of the relationship between instructional practices and course design. Students also learn fundamentals of student motivation, including learning styles and methods of classroom engagement, as well as basic e-learning vocabulary.
Educational Assessment Through the analysis of ideas related to the design, implementation, and interpretation of classroom assessments, students learn to make data-driven instructional decisions. Additional course topics include ethical assessment practices and design.

Master's Degree in Teaching

Language Acquisition and Instruction Students examine the major theoretical perspectives on the acquisition of written and oral language. The course also covers language differences and resultant instructional challenges and techniques for assessing language performance.
Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum Learners explore theories and practices related to writing-to-learn scenarios, including the pedagogy of teaching English in a classroom setting. Additional topics include effective interdisciplinary writing instruction with respect to multiculturalism.
Curriculum Fundamentals This course provides an in-depth study of best practices in curriculum design, implementation, and evaluation. Students also learn the advantages and disadvantages of major curriculum models and how to use data-based research to pick the right ones for their class.

How to Get a Teaching Certificate in Ohio

Ohio offers three levels of teaching licenses, each facilitated by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). The initial credential requires a regionally accredited bachelor's degree and the completion of a joint training program with participating colleges and universities in the state or through the alternative route provided by the Ohio alternative resident educator license.

Next, all aspiring pre-K-12 teachers must take the Ohio Assessments for Educators test series, provided by Pearson's Evaluation Systems. Bilingual, ESL, and foreign language educators must also take the ACTFL/LTI World Languages Examinations. Teachers who want to specialize in school psychology, speech pathology, or school audiology also take the relevant Praxis II exams. The final step includes applying for the Resident Educator License, a process that includes a criminal background check and a $160 application fee.

After four years of successful classroom experience as a resident educator, Ohio teachers receive the professional educator license. To obtain the the highest certification that the ODE offers, the senior professional educator license, teachers must successfully work for another four years (a total of nine years), complete a master-teacher portfolio, and obtain a regionally accredited graduate degree. Another version of this credential, the lead professional educator license, is available for teachers who fulfill the aforementioned requirements and complete at least 180 hours of approved continuing education and leadership/professional training. Applying for any of these professional licenses costs $200. Additionally, all professional licenses must be renewed every five years using the Connected Ohio Records for Educators (CORE) system.

Ohio teachers who want to work in another state must consult that state's transfer requirements. Out-of-state educators with a valid certificate who want to work in Ohio apply for review of their credentials and can earn a temporary one-year license. During this window, they must pass the necessary exams and fulfill other requirements as mandated by the ODE to earn their resident or professional educator license.

Choosing a Degree Program in Ohio

As you conduct research on prospective teaching degrees in Ohio and at institutions outside the state, prioritize affordability. Seek out community colleges and public universities, since they provide low tuition for state residents. Location represents another important factor to consider when searching for the right school. The strengths of campus-based degree programs lie in the experiential learning and networking opportunities they provide. Traditional students also enjoy convenient access to services and resources, including libraries, tutors, and career centers.

Colleges and universities supported by the ODE provide the fastest route to teaching certification, since coursework and professional training are combined into a four-year baccalaureate plan.

Colleges and universities supported by the ODE provide the fastest route to teaching certification, since coursework and professional training are combined into a four-year baccalaureate plan. Education majors enjoy numerous concentration options, such as mathematics, social studies, and English. Teachers can also specialize in certain levels and specialties of teaching, such as kindergarten and secondary education, ESL, career/technical, and special education.

Prospective teachers who earn a college degree from a school outside of Ohio or in a non-education major can enroll in the IPTI. As the state's official alternative educator preparation program, the IPTI spans six weeks and costs $200. Finally, if you discover that traditional education doesn't suit your needs, distance education options exist that also lead to a teaching license in Ohio.

Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Ohio?

When searching for distance education opportunities, accreditation should factor highly in your decision-making process. Teaching requirements in Ohio dictate that you must earn a regionally accredited bachelor's degree. Many teacher organizations won't allow you to apply for their professional certificates unless you hold such a degree. Colleges and universities receive regional accreditation from one of six organizations, depending on where they're located, for maintaining local and state academic standards. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) oversees regional accreditation in Ohio.

All the educator licensure preparation programs found on the ODE's approved list hold regional accreditation, and many of them provide remote learning opportunities. Most online degrees offer distinct financial incentives, since they either charge all students the same in-state rate or provide further discounted tuition to attract nontraditional learners. Asynchronous course structure stands as another perk of distance education, enabling you to access course materials and engage with peers and instructors at your convenience. However, to earn a teaching degree in Ohio, you must complete at least 12 weeks of full-time student teaching, or 25 weeks if you pursue alternative training through the IPTI. This means that no college degree in education can ever be fully online, but online learning does offer many other benefits.

Directory of Teaching Schools in Ohio


Obtaining a degree and teaching license in Ohio doesn't need to result in insurmountable debt. Seek out the low tuition rates offered by community colleges and public universities, particularly through online programs in education. Generally, distance education programs ignore residency status when factoring tuition costs, and also offer discounted rates to remote learners. Moreover, because skilled educators are urgently needed across the U.S., prospective and active Ohio teachers enjoy ample funding opportunities.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines your eligibility for multiple federal and state awards at the same time, including loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study positions. FAFSA calculates your award package based on projected need or cost of attendance minus expected family contributions. The FAFSA office provides information on non-governmental financial resources, as well as guides to loan repayment and opportunities for loan forgiveness. Additionally, you should also research private scholarships to pay for your teaching degree in Ohio. Professional organizations, such as teacher associations and academic honors councils, represent great sources for awards based on criteria like gender, ethnicity, tribal affiliation, first-generation student status, academic major, and intended career.

Though loans are relatively easy means of paying for your college education and state of Ohio teaching license, they should be used as a last resort when all other funding opportunities have been exhausted. Accruing large amounts of student loan debt may negatively affect you professionally and personally. If you do choose to borrow money, prioritize government loans over those from private lenders. State and federal loans usually have the benefits of lower interest rates and flexible repayment plans, which include opportunities for partial or complete forgiveness through federal initiatives.

Ohio doesn't provide any state-specific loan forgiveness programs. Fortunately, the federal government facilitates three, including one specific opportunity for educators. Through the federal teacher loan forgiveness program, you can reduce up to $17,500 of your direct and federal Stafford loans if you agree to at least five years of employment with an educational service agency or low-income/high-need public school. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program allows you to erase the remainder of your direct loans after 120 qualifying monthly payments if you work for a participating government agency or nonprofit organization. You can also take advantage of the Perkins Loan Cancellation Program, which forgives a percentage, up to the full amount, of your eligible loans for every year you work in an approved teaching environment.

Obtaining a teaching certificate in Ohio is a process that can be time consuming and costly. An affordable tuition rate should be a crucial factor in your academic decisions, but it's equally important to look for scholarships and grants, since you don't need to pay back their awards. Teachers enjoy distinct scholarship opportunities; below, we detail six.

These two tables use information from the BLS to detail the salaries of Ohio teachers with respect to the overall average and earnings specific to grade level. In general, Ohio teachers earn more the national average, and the state is 10th highest in the nation for K-12 educator salaries, according to PayScale. Statistics also show that elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers enjoy higher pay than their colleagues teaching at the kindergarten and preschool levels. Further analysis of BLS data shows that among all preschool to high school teachers, those working in career/technical and special education earn the most, with salaries ranging from $63,180 to $65,580 and $56,300 to $60,010, respectively.

Location and school type also dictate an Ohio teacher's salary. Private institutions usually offer higher pay than public schools because they possess more financial resources from tuition and donor contributions. The same salary discrepancy exists for schools in large cities and other urban locations versus those located in rural areas. Fortunately, the ODE and certain private organizations, such as the Ohio Small and Rural Collaborative and the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools, provide additional financial and professional support for teachers who want to work in these high-need communities.

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