The steps required to become a math teacher in Kansas are as follows:
There are currently 2,370 teachers working in Kansas where approximately 1,000 new teachers are hired each year. Kansas has had a shortage of newly qualified math teachers coming out of the state’s approved teacher prep programs. As a result, math teachers, along with science and bilingual teachers, are the most needed specialists in Kansas high schools at this time.
The Teacher Licensure and Accreditation Division of the Kansas Department of Education confers licensure upon qualified math teacher candidates in the state. This division also reviews all educator training programs and coordinates the accreditation process.
The math curriculum in Kansas follows Common Core state standards based on the progression of a topic over grade levels as follows:
- K-5 – measurements, data, numbers, base 10 operations
- 6-8 – expressions, equations, ratios, number system, proportional relationships
- 9-12 – algebra, functions, modeling
Step 1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher and Complete a State Approved Teacher Preparation Program
You are required to earn a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution in order to be eligible to apply for a teacher license in Kansas.
At a special meeting held June 2, 2014, the Kansas Board of Education approved House Bill 2506 which allows experts in math to teach in Kansas public high schools without holding the degree that is typically required and conferred after completing a teacher preparation program. In order to be eligible for exemption from an approved teacher preparation program you must have a bachelor’s or higher in mathematics and at least five years relevant professional experience. The controversial ruling (which also applies to science teachers) is a direct result of the acute shortage of qualified math and science teachers in the state. There will be a period for public comment before the new regulation is implemented.
The Kansas National Education Association is strongly opposed to the ruling on the grounds that these teachers do not have the needed pedagogical knowledge such as learning theory, classroom management strategies, etc.
Teacher Preparation Program
There are over 20 colleges and universities in Kansas that offer state-approved teacher preparation programs. Programs vary somewhat but they all consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. Typical classroom courses include such topics as:
- Art and Science of Teaching
- Issues in Education
- Child and Adolescent Development
- Educational Psychology
- Classroom Management
- Teaching Strategies
- Student Assessment
- Diversity in the Classroom
- Language and Literacy
The fieldwork consists of classroom observation, student teaching and sometimes internships.
You will need a minimum of eight credit hours or one year of teaching experience to apply for your initial teacher license. If you have your bachelor’s degree in education, the required courses and student teaching hours are automatically fulfilled. The same is true if you earn your bachelor’s degree with a split major in math and education.
If you major only in math, your teacher preparation requirements must be completed via a post-baccalaureate program. Likewise, if your undergraduate work only has a concentration in education, you will need 24 extra semester hours in math to be eligible to teach high school math.
Step 2. Pass Mathematics Content Praxis Tests
You will be required to pass two Praxis Tests:
The core skills test consists of 56 multiple choice questions on basic reading, writing and math:
- The reading questions require you to read excerpts from various types of documents and answer questions about them.
- The 40-question writing section consists of both multiple-choice questions about research and editing strategies as well as writing short samples of informative and argumentative writing.
- The 50-question math section includes am onscreen calculator to solve short mathematical problems and answer general questions about mathematics.
The content assessment tests include general questions about teaching math as well as questions about the specific topics included in the math curriculum of all grade levels from Kindergarten through Grade 12.
The computer-delivered or paper-delivered tests are offered at Prometric testing centers. Several of them are located on college/university campuses. Some centers only offer computerized testing and all tests are only in English but you may request extra time for taking the test if English is your second language.
You can find more information and register for your test time/place online. There is an $85 fee for each Praxis test taken. There are Prometric testing centers in all of the following Kansas cities:
- Kansas City
- Overland Park
Step 3. Apply for Certification (Fingerprinting and a Criminal Background Investigation)
The three types of Kansas teacher licenses are:
- Initial Teacher License – You can apply for an initial license if you are a new teacher or a teacher from another state who has fulfilled all the above requirements. You can renew an initial license in two years.
- Professional Teacher License – Apply for this license after working as a full-time Kansas public school teacher for two years and acquiring the required professional development points (see below). Renewable every five years.
- Temporary teacher license – You can apply for this one-year non-renewable license only if you are hired by a Kansas school district but have not completed the Praxis exams which must be passed within the year.
Fingerprinting for Background Check
You must be fingerprinted before applying for your license. Contact the Kansas Board of Education in Topeka (785-296-3835) to receive your pre-formatted fingerprint card. Be sure not to sign the card upon receipt. Take it to your local police department or sheriff’s office along with a picture ID. SIGN THE CARD IN FRONT OF A POLICE OFFICER OR SHERIFF who will then take your fingerprints and run them through both the state and national criminal databases. You are responsible for the $50.00 fee. Instructions for mailing the card and results to the licensing office can be found on their website.
Submitting an Application
You can apply for your initial license online if you are a graduate of a Kansas institution. Instructions and application forms can be found at the licensing office website. You will need a different application form if you received your education and teacher training in another state or country.
The appropriate form can be downloaded, completed and mailed to: Teacher Licensure and Accreditation, Landon State Office Building, 900 SW Jackson Street, Suite 100, Topeka, KS 66612.
The average application processing time is six to eight weeks. License fees are $60.00 or $70.00 depending on type.
Step 4. Participate in the Kansas Professional Development Plan
Once you have your initial teacher license you will want to begin collecting the professional development points needed to renew the license or upgrade to a professional teacher license after two years. Points are collected by taking approved in-class or online courses, attending conferences and seminars or participating in educational offerings such as webinars.
If you have a bachelor’s degree you will need 160 points to renew; however, if you have a master’s degree or higher you will only need 120 points.
See the Kansas National Education Association’s website for further information on the Kansas Professional Development Plan.