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Teaching Programs in Idaho

The state of Idaho has been actively working toward improving its educational system. A key initiative by the Idaho State Board of Education, Complete College Idaho, has ambitious goals for the majority of young Idahoans to obtain a degree or certificate. Achieving this starts with a lot of quality teachers – 15% more to be hired by 2026, to be exact. You can be one of them.

How Can I Get a Teaching Degree in Idaho?

There’s no one way to become a teacher in Idaho. There are multiple paths to getting certified to teach in the state, and the right one for you depends on what you want to teach and what educational requirements you can meet.

Traditional Pathway to Becoming a Teacher in Idaho

Getting a teaching degree in Idaho is relatively straightforward. First, you need to complete a bachelor’s degree along with an educator preparation program, which are usually offered together. The program must be regionally accredited by either the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities or one of the five other United States regional accrediting agencies. The teacher training program must also be approved by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). NCATE or TEAC accreditation is also acceptable, though CAEP began phasing out these bodies in 2016.

Once you complete teacher training, you have two years to apply for an initial certificate, which is valid for five years. If you graduated from an Idaho program, complete the application form, and send the $75 fee to the State Department of Education. A completed application includes transcripts, information for a background check, and Praxis II assessment scores. Most important is the institutional recommendation form, on which the college indicates the endorsement you’ve earned and attests that you’ve finished your clinical practice hours and met all other requirements.

Becoming a Teacher Through Alternative Certification or as a Career Switcher

If you have a degree in something other than education, it’s still possible to become an Idaho teacher via its alternative certification process. Four schools or organizations run non-traditional educator preparation programs recognized by the Idaho State Department of Education:

  • American Board of Certification for Teacher Excellence (ABCTE)
  • College of Southern Idaho
  • Lewis-Clark State College
  • Teach for America

You don’t have to have finished the program to apply for your interim certificate, which is good for three years – you just have to be enrolled. The organization then provides you with a letter indicating you’re ready to teach a particular subject under a mentor teacher. You’ll also submit transcripts, a background investigation packet, and employment confirmation from the program, school, or district. The application fee is $100.

Career and Technical Education Teacher Certification in Idaho

In terms of vocational education, Idaho recognizes six general groups of industry: agriculture and natural sciences, business and marketing, engineering and technology education & individualized occupational training, family and consumer sciences, health professions & protective services, and trades and industry.

There are several ways to get a certificate with a career technical endorsement. The first is to finish an Idaho educator preparation program, just like a math or history teacher would. If you’re already an Idaho teacher in a traditional subject, you can also add a career and technical education (CTE) endorsement by sending transcripts showing CTE classes, a resume demonstrating your work experience, and proof that you have industry certifications or licensures that would apply to CTE.

If you do not have a degree, you can apply for an Occupational Specialist certification to teach high school CTE. To qualify, you must be at least 22 years old, have a diploma or GED, and have at least six years of relevant work experience or two years of experience plus a bachelor’s in that area. Send any transcripts you do have, a resume outlining relevant work experience, and copies of industry certifications or licensure. The certificate fee is $75. It’s an additional $28.25 for the criminal background check, which is also required.

There are four types of occupational specialist certifications. They include a Limited Occupational Specialist certificate, which is a three-year, non-renewable certificate for people with industry jobs but no teaching experience. The Standard Occupational Specialist certificate is for people who have coursework in an area but not necessarily work experience. And the Advanced Occupational Specialist certificate is for people with coursework plus credits from a teacher-training program.

Teachers Moving to Idaho from a Different State

Applicants who finished an accredited program in another state within the last two years or who hold a certificate from another state follow a similar process to in-state applicants. You need to send a copy of a current out-of-state license along with your application. Instead of an institutional recommendation, you should send copies of your test scores (e.g., Praxis results). Even if you never took a test as part of the other state’s licensure requirements, you can still qualify for a three-year interim certificate in Idaho.

But let’s say your out-of-state certificate has expired. In that case, you have three options: The easiest is to renew it and later apply for an Idaho interim certification. Alternatively, you can pass an ABCTE exam in your subject and teach for two years under a mentor while you meet all the same ABCTE requirements a nontraditional applicant would face. Finally, you could ask a school with a CAEP-approved program to issue a new institutional recommendation.

Average Salaries and Projected Job Growth for Idaho Teachers

Overall, teacher pay jumped almost 9% by 2018, and the state has moved to increase the minimum starting teacher salaries to $40,000. So, Idaho has made modest improvements to teacher pay while maintaining the lowest cost of living of any state west of the Rockies. In a state where the median household income is $53,089, teacher salaries are decent if unspectacular.

Career2018 Mean SalaryProjected Job Growth (2016-2026)
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education$48,99015%
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education$53,66015%
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education$51,17015%
Postsecondary Teaching$79,644*Varies by topic

Salary data from BLS. Career growth information from Career One Stop. *Averaged from all postsecondary salaries

Teacher Training Programs in Idaho

If you are looking for a teacher training program in Idaho, there are several CAEP recognized options:

Boise State University (Boise)

U.S. News and World Report ranks Boise State’s College of Education among the top three schools in both the Northwest and the Intermountain West. That may be partially due to the sheer number of online and on-campus offerings: nine undergraduate programs, including four related to special education, 13 master’s programs, two education specialist degrees, and three doctoral degrees.

In 2020, undergraduate tuition and fees topped out at $8,068 for residents and $24,988 for non-residents. However, the school gives automatic scholarships to all enrollees with certain GPAs and test scores, creating a tiered tuition system.

Idaho State University (Pocatello, Twin Falls, or Idaho Falls)

Idaho State offers undergraduate degrees and certificates in blended early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, special education, and music education. It also has graduate degrees in each of those areas, plus deaf education, literacy, and an M.A.T.

Idaho residents paid $7,872 for tuition in 2019-2020; nonresidents were charged $24,168. Like Boise State, ISU is a member of the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), meaning students from nearby states pay a reduced rate.

Lewis-Clark State College (Lewiston, Idaho)

With fewer than 4,000 students across all majors, Lewis-Clark provides an intimate environment for learners. It offers an associate degree in paraprofessional education, as well as B.A./B.S. degrees in elementary and secondary education. It also has minors for students who want to work in literacy, online settings, or with ESL students. Enrollees can take the bachelor’s degrees in Coeur d’Alene or at the main campus in Lewiston. Aspiring elementary teachers can take their education programs online.

Standard tuition was $6,982 for Idahoans and $19,978 for non-residents in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Northwest Nazarene University (Nampa)

Northwest Nazarene University is the only private school in Idaho with a CAEP-accredited educator program. This Christian university offers online associate degrees in elementary and secondary education, as well as on-campus bachelor’s degrees in elementary and secondary education.

The traditional programs come with a sticker price of $31,050, as of the 2019-2020 school year. Online studies for associate degrees cost $10,000 per year.

University of Idaho (Moscow)

The University of Idaho’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences is divided into three departments, one of which is the Movement Sciences department. That makes the university a great program to consider for prospective physical education teachers. You can also get other education degrees. The University of Idaho advertises multiple B.S., M.Ed., Ed.S., Ph.D., and Ed.D. programs at its Moscow campus. Graduate students can also get a master’s in curriculum and instruction online.

Idaho residents were charged $8,304 per year for an undergraduate program in 2020, while residents of WUE states received bills for $12,456. Full tuition for all other nonresidents was $27,540.

Idaho Teacher Resources


    • Idaho Education Association: IAE is a membership organization that provides professional development opportunities, leadership training, and curricular support.


    • Idaho School Boards Association: ISBA advocates for public schools with the Idaho legislature, meaning it’s vocal about teacher salaries and education standards. Consider adding your voice.


    • Idaho State Board of Education: In short, the Idaho State Board of Education develops policy for all public K-12 schools and universities in the state. It also administers scholarships for high school students who are off to college.