In Nebraska, math at the elementary level is taught as part of the general education curricula. For grades 6 through 12, however, students learn from teachers that are specifically certified to teach mathematics. The Nebraska State Board of Education maintains the standards teachers use to develop their students math skills at each of these grade levels.
School districts use the Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) testing process to determine how well their students have learned these basic skills. In the 2012-2013 school year, 169 of 248 school districts showed an improvement in their students’ math scores.
Follow these five steps to become a math teacher in Nebraska:
|Complete a Degree Program that Prepares you to Teach Math|
|Obtain Human Relations Training|
|Take the Appropriate Praxis Exams|
|Apply for Your Nebraska Math Teacher’s License|
|Meet the Requirements to Renew Your Nebraska Math Teacher’s License|
Step 1. Complete a Degree Program that Prepares you to Teach Math
You must earn a bachelor’s degree at minimum to become a math teacher in Nebraska. The type of certification that you can get varies depending on whether or not you have completed a teacher preparation program for math.
Regular Teaching Certificate
The standard way to become a math teacher in Nebraska and obtain a Regular Teaching Certificate is through these three steps:
- Complete an approved teacher preparation program
- Obtain at least 14 weeks of experience student teaching
- Earn an endorsement in math
The Nebraska Department of Education provides a list of the schools approved to prepare teachers in the state. In 2014, all of the 16 programs offered the opportunity to earn a degree in teaching math. Section 006.39 of the 2013 Nebraska Department of Education regulations requires that you take at least 36 semester hours of courses in math to earn this endorsement.
You will also need to have training in special education when you apply for your first license. One way to meet this requirement is to take a course in special education as part of your teacher preparation program. You will need to submit a transcript of the course, along with a syllabus showing that it meets the requirements of the Nebraska Department of Education.
One-Year Provisional Teaching Certificate
A One-Year Provisional Teaching Certificate is an option if you have completed your program in teaching math from an approved school, but have not yet met all the requirements to get a Regular Teaching Certificate.
You may be eligible for the One-Year Provisional Teaching Certificate if you have not completed one or more of the following:
- Praxis Basic Skills test
- Special education training
- Recency requirement (recent experience or college coursework)
Local Substitute Teaching Certificate
You may be able to get a three year Local Substitute Teaching Certificate if your school district requests it. This would permit you to be a substitute math teacher for 45 days a year. Eligibility for the Local Substitute Teaching Certificate requires you to complete:
- 60 or more semester hours
- One professional education course on teaching children
Provisional Commitment Teaching Certificate
If you are enrolled in a teacher preparation program, but have not yet completed your teaching degree, you can obtain a one year Provisional Commitment Teaching Certificate. You must meet the following components of an approved teaching program to obtain this type of certification to teach math:
- A course in the methods of teaching
- 27 semester credit hours in math
- Half of the pre-student teaching programs
You will need to have your school’s Superintendent co-sign the bottom part of the Agreement Statement on the application.
Step 2. Obtain Human Relations Training
To obtain certification to teach math in Nebraska, you must demonstrate that you have Human Relations skills. You can fulfill this requirement in two ways. One is to take a pre-approved college course in Human Relations. The other is to write a narrative that describes your employment experiences that have taught you six key skills:
- Ability to recognize and deal with dehumanizing biases
- Ability to recognize the ways in which instructional materials may reflect dehumanizing biases
- An awareness and understanding of the values, lifestyles, contributions, and history of a pluralistic society
- Ability to relate effectively to other individuals and groups in a pluralistic society other than your own
- Ability to translate a knowledge of human relations into skills, techniques, and attitudes that result in favorable experiences for students
Step 3. Take the Appropriate Praxis Exams
You will need to take at least one Praxis exam to get your license to teach math in Nebraska.
Basic Skills Exam
You need to demonstrate that you have mastered the suite of basic academic skills. You may have already been required to take a basic Praxis test as part of your teacher education program. If this is not the case, you need to take the Praxis I Pre-professional skills test (PPST).
Beginning on September 1, 2014, you will have to take the Core Academic Skills for Educators (CORE) tests. Both of these tests assess your skills in the following areas:
Praxis II Math Exam
Starting on September 1, 2015, you will need to take the 5161 Praxis II exam in math to obtain your license to teach math. This exam takes 2.5 hours. It is divided into two sections that cover the following topics:
- Geometry, Probability and Statistics, and Discrete Mathematics:
- Number and Quantity, Algebra, Functions, and Calculus
The testing agency will provide with you an onscreen graphing calculator, and they strongly advise that you download the 30 day free trial version of it and practice with it before you take the exam. You are strongly advised to take advantage of the preparation materials to help you pass this critical test.
Step 4. Apply for Your Nebraska Math Teacher’s License
Before you can apply for your Nebraska math teacher’s license, you will need to undergo a fingerprint background check. You can have this done for free at a local State Patrol Office. This requirement applies to you even if you have gone through this process in another state. You will also need to complete a form showing where you have lived during the past five years.
You start your application process at the website of the Nebraska Department of Education. The steps you will go through vary depending on whether you are obtaining your first license or advancing to another license. You only need to meet the requirement for special education training when you apply for your first license.
You can also add an endorsement to teach math to your teaching license. You have the option of applying for a full or a provisional endorsement. You need the following to apply for a full endorsement:
- Verification from the Certification Officer of your approved teacher institution
- Official transcripts that show you have completed your coursework in math
To get a non-renewable three year provisional endorsement, you must have completed at least half of your program. You also need the following items:
- Official transcripts of your coursework completed so far
- Completion of the Added Provisional Endorsement Form by an authorized certification official of your teacher training school
Step 5. Meet the Requirements to Renew Your Nebraska Math Teacher’s License
To be able to renew your Regular Certificate math teacher’s license, you must have done one of the following within the past five years:
- Taught at least half time for 1 year (Verification of Experience Form required)
- Completed 6 semester hours recommended by your approved teacher education school
If you have a One Year Provisional Teaching Certificate, you can renew it if you can prove that you have made progress in meeting at least one of the training requirements that you lacked when you originally applied for this certificate.
If you obtained your license over five years ago, you need to have 15 semester hours in the following areas:
- At least 100 clock hours of contact with students in the classroom with at least half completed while being supervised by a cooperating teacher
- Instructional techniques
- At least one course that addresses one of the following issues:
- School law
- Gifted education
- Special education
- Reading and writing in math