Certification Requirements to Become a Math Teacher in Idaho

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields are recognized as being among the most essential to success in the 21st century. The Idaho Department of Education is tasked with ensuring that prospective math teachers in the state meet strict qualification guidelines as established by the State Board of Education.

As an aspiring math teacher in Idaho you will be working directly with the Department of Education’s Teacher Certification Division as you progress through the following steps to certification:

Complete a Math Teaching Degree Program
Pass the Required Tests
Apply for and Maintain Your Idaho Math Teaching Certification
Enhance Your Idaho Math Teaching Certification



Step 1. Complete a Math Teaching Degree Program

One of the central requirements for math teacher jobs in Idaho is a bachelor’s degree or higher. For students just starting out, the fastest way of becoming a teacher is to complete a bachelor’s degree program in math that includes an educator prep program and results in eligibility for an Idaho teaching certificate. However, there are also options for those who already have at least a bachelor’s degree in the field of mathematics or who are certified math teachers in another state.

For the math portion of your curriculum, you should expect to study advanced mathematics in subject areas such as:

  • Calculus I and Calculus II
  • Number theory
  • Abstract algebra
  • Analysis
  • Statistics and probability
  • Discrete mathematics

All educator preparation programs must be approved by the Idaho State Board of Education. The Board has designated teaching programs approved by NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) as eligible. There are five college and university teaching preparation programs in Idaho sponsored by NCATE and many more throughout the country.

Math teacher preparation programs emphasize the principles of education and pedagogy and how to integrate these within the area of mathematics. You can expect to take courses in:

  • Individual mathematical subjects and how to teach these in the classroom
  • Classroom interactions and behavior
  • Mathematical teaching strategies
  • Inquiry-based approaches to teaching and lesson planning
  • Building upon mathematical skills

The final segment of your math teacher preparation program will be student teaching, sometimes referred to as apprentice teaching. This is a chance for you to develop your skills in the real world and adapt these according to the constructive feedback you receive from your supervising math teacher.

Alternate and Post-Bachelor’s Routes to Certification

If you already have at least a bachelor’s degree but have not completed a teaching preparation program, you also have the option of completing an alternate route to certification program. To enter one of these programs you will still need to complete essential pedagogy courses, but instead of completing a student teaching segment you will get on-the-job mentoring and teaching experience. You may also choose to complete a post-baccalaureate preparation program to become qualified to teach math.

If you are already a licensed out-of-state math teacher, the Idaho State Board of Education will evaluate the teaching preparation program you completed to determine if you meet math teacher certification requirements in Idaho. If you are certified as a math teacher by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) you will automatically be eligible for certification in Idaho.



Step 2. Pass the Required Tests

On your road to becoming a certified math teacher in Idaho you will need to complete two phases of testing. The first is administered by your teacher preparation program and will evaluate you on:

  • Pedagogical knowledge and application
  • Comprehensive literacy
  • Using technology in the mathematics classroom

The second test is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). ETS offers two mathematics exams. You will need to pass the one that most directly corresponds with the grades you intend to teach:

    • Study guide
    • Two hours to complete 55 questions on:

      • Arithmetic
        • Properties and operations of real number systems
        • Solving equations with proportional and ratio reasoning
        • Solution evaluation and confirmation
      • Algebra
        • Evaluation and manipulation of algebraic expressions, formulas, and equations
        • Representation of linear functions with algebra
        • Representation of non-linear equations and inequalities
      • Geometry
        • Perimeter, area, volume, surface area
        • Parallel, perpendicular, and intersecting line properties
        • Triangle properties
      • Data
        • Analysis and interpretation of graphs and plots
        • Development and use of probability models
        • Solving problems with flow charts, algorithms, and diagrams

    • Study guide
    • 150 questions minutes to complete 60 questions on:

      • Numbers and quantity
        • Rational and irrational numbers; quantitative reasoning
        • Basic operation using natural numbers, integers, real numbers, rational numbers, and complex number systems
        • Polynomial equations, matrices and exponents
        • Percent, ratios, proportions, averages, and unit conversions
        • Scientific notation and orders of magnitude
      • Algebra
        • Polynomial algebraic equations
        • Graphing polynomial equations, including those involving zero
        • Using squares and sums to solve equations
        • Solution analysis and justification
        • Modeling relationships between quantities
      • Functions
        • Understanding of domain and range
        • Graphing, mapping, tables
        • Sine, cosine, and tangent
        • Pythagorean identities
      • Calculus
        • Function limits
        • Derivatives
        • Continuity versus differentiability
        • Fundamental calculus theorems
      • Statistics, geometry and probability
        • Transformations in a plane
        • Trigonometric ratios
        • Circle theorems
        • Representation, summarization, and interpretation from data
      • Discreet mathematics
        • Sequences – arithmetic, geometric, and recursion
        • Discreet representations versus continuous representations



Step 3. Apply for and Maintain Your Idaho Math Teaching Certification

Once you have completed at least a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a teaching preparation program, and your testing, you will be ready to fill out an Initial Application to become a certified math teacher in Idaho. On you application, make sure to indicate you are applying for a standard secondary certificate with an endorsement in mathematics.

After a successful application you will receive your standard teaching certification that will be valid for five years. You can renew this online or by sending in a renewal application, provided that you have met the following requirements for renewal:

  • At least six semester credits of coursework that is relevant to the teaching of mathematics
    • At least three must be from a college or university and as such be able to appear on an official transcript
    • The remaining three may be acquired from activities such as in-service trainings
    • You will need to earn 15 contact hours to equal one in-service training credit



Step 4. Enhance Your Idaho Math Teaching Certification

As you prepare to begin teaching mathematics, you may find it helpful to join an advocacy organization of like-minded colleagues and professionals. This can be helpful for finding information about employment, renewal credit opportunities, or other avenues providing math teacher support. There are several such organizations based in Idaho:

  • Idaho Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) – an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, ICTM works to be a voice for quality mathematics, both in teacher training and classroom instruction. One of the areas this organization focuses on is professional development.
  • Idaho STEM – an organization that serves as a hub for online resources regarding the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Idaho STEM strives to increase access to STEM subjects and improve teacher training. It also acts as a classroom resource for math teachers looking for creative lesson plans. Idaho STEM is funded by the National Science Foundation and the Idaho Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
  • Teach Idaho – an organization of industry experts and K-12 teachers whose goals include:
    • Creating a bridge from the classroom to professional development
    • Providing resources for curricula and lessons
    • The support of math teachers with experienced and high quality teachers

Another helpful resource you may want to consult is Idaho Education Jobs. This site allows you to search all of Idaho for math teacher jobs by grade and job type.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certification

NBPTS is a national organization with the goal of maintaining and encouraging a high standard of teachers throughout the country. It offers specific teacher certification in dozens of subject areas including mathematics, where teachers can become certified in:

To gain National Board Certification in either of these areas you will need to complete a series of steps over the course of at least a school year. You will need to submit evidence to NBPTS evaluators that demonstrates the following:

  • Student improvement in mathematics over the course of your instruction
  • Furtherance of the field of math in the wider community, with leadership of such activities
  • Your own professional development, such as
    • Work performance reviews
    • Seminars or workshops you have attended
    • Continuing education you have completed

Math teachers who are NBPTS-certified are automatically eligible for a teaching license from the Teacher Certification Division, even if they are from out-of-state. The Idaho Department of Education additionally offers a $2,000 yearly stipend bonus for math teachers who are certified by the NBPTS.

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