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Teaching Programs in Kentucky

If you feel called to work as a teacher, Kentucky can be a great place to fulfill that goal. A 2019 study from WalletHub ranked Kentucky 14th in the nation in terms of best states for educators. The Bluegrass State also ranked first in the U.S. for the lowest projected teacher turnover.

While the state’s teacher retirement plan made national headlines in 2018 when the former governor sought to discontinue pensions for newly hired teachers, the law was later struck down, and funding levels for the retirement system are slowly rising. The subsequent governor, Andy Beshear, was elected after promising to make supporting teachers one of his top priorities.

If you want to learn what it takes to become a teacher in Kentucky, and what you can expect in terms of available careers, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out about teaching programs, job prospects, and helpful resources.

How Can I Get a Teaching Degree in Kentucky?

The Education Professional Standards Board of Kentucky (EPSB) offers several routes to becoming certified as a teacher in the state.

Traditional Path

The traditional path for candidates trained in Kentucky requires applicants to complete a teacher training program approved by the Kentucky EPSB, submit an application, turn in official transcripts, seek verification of full-time classroom teaching from a relevant staff member, pass required assessments, and pay certification fees.

Alternative Certifications

Numerous alternative paths also exist for students who didn’t follow traditional training programs in Kentucky. The state’s EPSB currently offers eight alternative routes including options for participants in Teach for America, those with exceptional work experience, and armed forces veterans. Unusually, one of the pathways leads to certification in postsecondary instruction. Kentucky requires candidates have college degrees for all alternative options, with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree for some paths and a master’s degree for others. For those who are relatively recent college graduates or have no teaching experience, there is generally a minimum 2.75 GPA requirement.

Kentucky Teacher Reciprocity

Teachers who are already certified in a different state can move their careers to Kentucky after meeting several requirements set out under reciprocity agreements and other licensure paths. Requirements vary based on years of classroom experience, but all applicants must have obtained a degree from a regionally accredited teaching college or university or completed an approved alternative certification program. If you are moving to Kentucky and hope to teach, access the EPSB informational page to learn more about your options.

Career Outlook and Salaries for Educators in Kentucky

This table provides wage data for Kentucky teachers as of 2018, along with job growth prospects for each type of job. While these salaries fall slightly below the national average for each position, remember that the cost of living affects pay scales—especially when rural areas are compared to metropolitan areas. The Kentucky Department of Education provides salary schedules so you can see how earnings rise as your experience increases.

Kentucky Mean Teaching Salaries (2018)
Elementary:$53,830 per year
Middle School:$54,620 per year
Secondary:$56,200 per year
Post-Secondary:$71,200 per year (averaged from all mean salaries)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Teacher Training Programs in Kentucky

Many teacher training programs exist at both public and private universities throughout the state, providing both campus-based and online learning options for students. We highlight three well-known programs below, but check out the Education Professions Standards Board for a searchable database of approved teaching programs in Kentucky.

University of Louisville

The College of Education and Human Development offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in early childhood and elementary education, middle and secondary education, and special education. The department also provides related degrees in counseling and human development, health and sport sciences, and educational leadership, evaluation, and organizational development if you’re interested in administrative roles. Online degrees are offered in a variety of subject areas, making it easy for learners across the state to gain an education without long-distance travel. Resident undergrads pay $489 per credit hour while non-residents pay $1,157. Kentucky graduate students pay $723 per credit hour as compared to $1,507 for those living out of state. Online students, regardless of residence, spend $539 and $764 for baccalaureate and graduate hours, respectively.

University of Kentucky

Learners enrolled in the College of Education at UK can take advantage of baccalaureate teacher certification programs in elementary, middle level, health, physical, early childhood, special, and STEM education programs. Master’s degrees cover secondary education, secondary STEM education, and literacy education, and those interested in administrative and support degrees will also find numerous options. Many are offered fully online or through hybrid teaching. Resident undergrads pay $6,180 per semester; non-residents pay $15,340. Both pay $570 per credit for online classes. Graduate residents pay $6,702 per term while non-residents pay $16,282.

Western Kentucky University

The School of Teacher Education supports undergraduate students in obtaining degrees in early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, special education, social studies and language arts, and business and marketing education. Graduate students can undertake studies in early, elementary, middle grades, secondary, special education, and gifted and talented education. Several teacher leader and administrative programs also exist at this level. Many of the master’s programs are taught online to help busy students balance school and work. Undergraduates pay $450, $1,104, or $540 per credit hour depending on whether they’re categorized as a resident, non-resident, or online learner. Resident and online grad students pay $607 per credit while campus-based non-residents pay $917.

Kentucky Teacher Resources

  • Kentucky Education Association: KEA supports educators throughout the state by providing legislative advocacy, board certification, continuing education, webinars, local chapters, health insurance, pension information, details on salary schedules, events, and resources. Members can also take advantage of several discounted programs and affinity services.
  • Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority: This government agency promotes greater access to higher education for Kentuckians. It provides several helpful tools for finding suitable teaching programs in Kentucky and adjusting to college life. It also offers a teacher scholarship program for Kentucky residents who demonstrate financial need. Recipients can be awarded up to $2,500 per semester.
  • Educational Professional Standards Board of Kentucky: THE EPSB regulates teaching programs in Kentucky alongside internship programs, assessments, and certification. If working to become a teacher, you’ll likely become very familiar with the EPSB throughout your training.
  • Kentucky Department of Education: This comprehensive website provides resources to help students and teachers in Kentucky find the services, research, and information they need to feel confident in their roles.
  • Kentucky Center for School Safety: KCSS works to ensure teachers and students feel safe in their schools by providing white papers on common safety issues, discussion groups, plans, and annual reports. The center also organizes a yearly Safe Schools Week.

Major Kentucky Cities