Here’s the steps you’ll need to complete to become a math teacher in Louisiana:
Louisiana adopted the Common Core State Standards for math in 2010. They provide rigorous guidelines for what students should know in math, but leave it up to teachers to develop the assignments, lesson plans, and assessments for their students to learn these standards.
Math teachers in Louisiana specialize in particular grade levels. Generally, they are certified to teach middle or high school students. In addition, elementary school teachers can become certified as mathematics specialists to serve as instructional coaches in grades PK-6.
As in much of the country, math teachers in Louisiana are in short supply and high demand. Having highly qualified certified math teachers helps to ensure that the students of Louisiana will graduate from high school ready for college or the workforce in an increasingly technological world.
Step 1. Complete Your Math Education Coursework
You need at least a bachelor’s degree to be able to teach math in Louisiana. While most math teachers in Louisiana obtain their teaching degrees through teacher preparation programs, you can apply for certification to teach math through a number of alternate routes if you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field.
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) has approved a number of teacher education programs in Louisiana. Many of these programs provide the training for math teacher three year Level 1 Professional Certification once you have completed your program.
If you are still taking courses, you may be able to get a yearly Practitioner 1 License (PL-1) to start teaching math.
Several of the schools offer teacher certification through their math departments and offer these bachelor’s degrees:
- B.S. in Mathematics with a Minor in Secondary Education
- B.S. in Mathematics with a Concentration in Mathematics Education
In one school, you can double major in math and education, while another school offers you the opportunity to take your education courses as electives while you pursue your math degree.
Other schools in Louisiana train math teachers through their College of Education or Education and Human Development offering programs such as:
- B.S. in Secondary Education (with a concentration in math)
- B.S. in Mathematics Education Gr. 6-12
- B.S. in Middle School Education Gr. 4-8 Math
Math Education Advanced Degrees
You can also pursue advanced degrees in Louisiana that will certify to you teach math.
You can enroll in a five-year program that will provide you with a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) Secondary Education. You graduate from this program with certification to teach math to grades 6 through 12.
Another option is to obtain a Master of Science in Mathematics and continue your studies to earn a Ph.D. in Science/Mathematics Education.
Alternate Programs for Non-Teaching College Graduates
If you have a bachelor’s degree that is not a teaching degree, you have a number of options to get licensed to teach math in Louisiana. You can enroll in a non-master’s or a master’s degree alternate program. The license you get will vary. A non-master’s alternate program leads to a Practitioner License 2 (PL-2), while a master’s alternate program provides a Practitioner License 3 (PL-3).
A number of Louisiana’s colleges and universities offer these types of programs to train math teachers. You can get certified to teach at either grade levels 4-8 or 6-12. You will be able to teach for up to three years while you complete your program.
Certification for Math Professionals
You can get a Math for Professionals Certificate to teach math if you have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school and evidence of a work background in math or science. You must meet one of the following requirements:
- 30 math credit hours
- Master’s degree in math or science
- Having passed the Praxis math 5161 test
You will need the support of your current employer and an employing school district. The latter must provide a written request saying that they will employ you as a math teacher once you have your certificate. You are not eligible for tenure if you teach under this certification.
Step 2. Take the Praxis Exams Required by Louisiana
The state of Louisiana requires that you take a number of Praxis exams to become certified as a math teacher. In many cases, you need to take these exams while you are earning your teaching degree, since they are required for your school to recommend that you be hired as a math teacher in Louisiana.
Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST)
This set of exams measures your basic academic skills such as math, writing, and reading. Schools in Louisiana generally require you to take them before they will admit you into their teacher preparation program and let you take education classes.
You need to score 175 on the writing and math tests to pass. The requirement to pass the reading test is 176. You are exempt from this test if you have a master’s degree or have achieved the following scores on previous tests:
- ACT: 22 composite score
- SAT: 1030 combined math and verbal
Unless you have a master’s degree, you must take this critical exam that measures your knowledge of math. You will generally need to pass this exam before you start your student teaching.
You will take a different exam depending on your teaching specialty. For grades 4-8, you need to take exam 0069 and score 148 on it. If you will be teaching grades 6-12, you will take either exam 0061 or 5061. You need to score 135 to pass either of these tests.
Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT)
You must also take a Praxis test that measures your knowledge of pedagogy. Typically, you will take this before or during your period of student teaching.
You will take different tests depending on whether you be specializing in teaching middle or high school math. You need to score 160 on the middle school exam, while you can pass with a score of 157 on the high school exam.
Step 3. Complete Your Louisiana Student Teaching Requirements
The state of Louisiana requires that you have 180 hours of field experience before you start your student teaching as a math teacher. Generally schools in Louisiana require that you apply for student teaching the semester before you want to start. Once you have been accepted into a student teaching program, you will spend a semester either as a student teacher or as an intern in a school.
Step 4: Apply for Your Louisiana Math Teacher’s License
If you got your math teacher degree through an approved preparation program, you will need to contact your school for a recommendation to get certified. At one school, you will fill out your application during a professional development seminar. For alternate certificate applications, you will find the appropriate forms at the Louisiana Department of Education’s website. You can check on the status of your application online.
Step 5. Complete Louisiana’s Professional Development Requirements to Renew Your License
Certification Options for Current Teachers
If you are a novice teaching full-time in New Orleans, you can take part in the Practitioner Teacher Program (PTP)—the alternate PL 1 route certification program to obtain a Master of Arts (M.A.T.) in Teaching. While you continue teaching, you can take classes on nights and weekends to develop the skills to teach math.
Louisiana offers an Extended Endorsement License (EEL) for teachers in other fields to get certified as math teachers. You need to pass the appropriate math Praxis test and work with your school district to develop a detailed prescription for exactly what courses or exams you need to take to become a fully certified math teacher.
Professional Development Options
Given the importance of professional development to your teaching skills, the Louisiana Department of Education provides a number of resources to help you teach math. These include a virtual library for teachers who teach math to grades 6-8 and 9-12.
In addition, you can find help with your year long planning, including sample year and unit plans. You can also find professional development opportunities with the Louisiana Association of Math Teachers, including a yearly conference in the state.
Renewing Professional Certificates
Your Level 1 Professional Certificate is good for three years. You need to plan to advance to a Level 2 Professional Certificate to teach math after you have completed your first three years of teaching. This involves passing the Louisiana Teacher Assistance and Assessment Program (LATAAP). You also have the option of getting a master’s degree to attain a Level 3 Professional Certificate to teach math.
If you stay at Level 2, you will need to renew your certificate after five years. To be able to do this, you must have completed 150 continuing learning units (CLUs) that have been approved by your district. This is also the requirement for renewing a Level 3 certificate when it is up for renewal after five years.
Renewing Alternate Certificates
The three Practitioner Licenses are good for one year and have to be renewed every year. You need to meet the following guidelines to renew yearly:
- PL 1: You must complete at least six semester hours to demonstrate that you are making progress in your teacher preparation program.
- PL 2 and 3: You must complete 9 semester hours each year
After three years, you need to meet the requirements for Level 1 Professional certification or higher.
The Extended Endorsement Licenses to teach math can also be renewed yearly for up to three years. To get this renewal, you need to complete at least nine hours of math courses a year. If you have taken all of the required coursework, you must prove that you have taken the Praxis math exam.