Home Teaching Programs in Montana

Teaching Programs in Montana

Montana offers a lot of opportunities for both new and experienced educators. Since the largest city in the state, Billings, has a population of just over 100,000 people, you are likely to be teaching in a relatively small community. This small-town feel provides opportunities for teacher-student and teacher-parent connections that can be hard to find in bigger cities. Read on to learn more about how to become a teacher in Big Sky country.

How Can I Get a Teaching Degree in Montana?

Whether you’re looking to get a bachelor’s degree in teaching or you want to make a career shift, Montana has a pathway to launch your career in teaching in the state.

Traditional Pathway to Becoming a Teacher in Montana

The most common route to becoming a teacher in Montana is the traditional pathway, which includes the following steps:

Becoming a Teacher Through Alternative Certification or as a Career Switcher

If you already have your bachelor’s degree and you’re interested in changing careers to teaching, Montana has an Alternative Certification pathway for you. Here are the steps to achieve licensure with this pathway:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree: While you don’t need a bachelor’s in teaching to receive alternative certification, you must have a bachelor’s degree through a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Provide a plan of study through an educator preparation program: The teacher preparation program could be either post-baccalaureate coursework that fulfills teacher education requirements or a master’s degree in education. The coursework fulfills teacher education requirements. You’ll need to meet the full licensure requirements within three years of obtaining a provisional license.
  • Complete the course Introduction to Indian Education for All (IEFA) in Montana: Like all Montana teachers, you must complete this online course that introduces standards for IEFA and foundations in American Indian cultures and heritages.
  • Apply for Class 5 provisional teaching license: After submitting the provisional license application, the $24 application fee, and a completed background check, you can teach full-time while you’re working towards full licensure.

Career and Technical Education Teacher Certification in Montana

Montana offers an excellent opportunity for those with relevant work experience but no teaching degree to enter the field as a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher. This pathway applies to professionals who qualify to teach business, agriculture, health sciences, family and consumer sciences, and industrial trades and technology. The following are the steps to become a CTE teacher in Montana:

  • Provide proof of high school diploma or GED (for Class 4C license): If you have sufficient work experience in your subject area, you may be eligible for a Class 4C certification without a college degree.
  • Complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree (for Class 4B license): A bachelor’s or a master’s isn’t necessarily required for Class 4 certification, but a degree helps demonstrate your knowledge of the subject you’d like to teach.
  • Verify work experience: To show that you have the work experience qualifying you to teach the subject, you need documentation that you have completed at least 10,000 hours (or five years) of work experience in each subject endorsement. This can include a combination of work and education or certification in the subjects.
  • Submit an application for Class 4 CTE license application: The application fee for the Montana Class 4 Certification is $36, and application materials include licensing application, work experience verification, and fingerprints for a background check.

Teachers Moving to Montana from a Different State

Montana does not have reciprocity with other states, so if you have a teaching license from another state, you’ll need to submit the following documents:

  • Official license application: You will need to submit an application for the Class 2 standard teaching license along with the $36 application feel.
  • Official transcripts and university recommendation: Your transcripts from a regionally accredited teaching program confirm you’ve completed the minimum standards for the state. The university recommendation from a state-approved educator preparation program shows you’ve completed the student teaching requirements to qualify as a Montana teacher.
  • Fingerprint background check: All teachers must pass a background check to teach in Montana.
  • Copy of current out-of-state teaching license: This proves you were licensed to teach in another state.
  • Verification of teaching experience (for out-of-state alternative license holders only): In addition to the above requirements, those who received their license through an alternative teacher preparation program need to show they have at least five years of teaching experience.

Average Salaries and Projected Job Growth for Montana Teachers

While the national averages for teacher salaries are a bit higher than Montana’s, the cost of living in the state is slightly lower than the U.S. average. Job growth in the state is just below the national average. Here you’ll find a breakdown of salaries and job growth by grade level.

Career2018 Mean SalaryProjected Job Growth [2016–2026]
Elementary School Teachers$52,3602%
Middle School Teachers$55,8802%
Secondary School Teachers$50,6702%
Postsecondary Teaching$61,800*Varies by subject

*Averaged from all postsecondary salaries
Salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Job growth data from CareerOneStop.

Teacher Training Programs in Montana

Montana offers quality teacher education programs in both bigger cities and smaller communities around the state. Each school offers programs that lead to state licensure. Here you can find details about a few programs.

University of Montana (Missoula)

The Department of Teaching and Learning within the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education at UM offers a comprehensive array of options for anyone interested in teaching. Their degree programs include bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. In addition to degrees, the department offers a variety of certificates and endorsements, including a gifted education certificate, an environmental education certificate, a literary education endorsement, and a teacher-librarian endorsement. Their emphasis on field-based teacher preparation focuses on diversity, collaboration, and curricular integration. While the bachelor’s and doctoral programs are only offered in-person, the department offers an M.Ed. in general curricular studies and the P-3 early childhood education endorsement entirely online.

Tuition 2020–2021
Undergraduate Resident: $7,412 per year
Undergraduate Non-resident: $27,238 per year
Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE): $10,160 per year
Graduate Resident: $8,348 per year
Graduate Non-resident: $29,950 per year

Montana State University (Bozeman)

MSU’s Department of Education offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs in curriculum and instruction. The undergraduate program is designed to provide a balance between the liberal arts and practice in professional teacher preparation. Beyond the traditional degree programs, the department also offers a culturally and linguistically diverse education certificate and a library media certificate. MSU offers two online master’s programs in education, including a master’s in curriculum and instruction and the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program.

Tuition 2019–2020
Undergraduate Resident: $7,320 per year
Undergraduate Non-resident: $25,850 per year
Graduate Resident: $5,364 per year
Graduate Non-resident: $16,198 per year

Carroll College (Helena)

Carroll College offers several undergraduate teacher education programs, including elementary teacher preparation and six secondary education subjects. The program prides itself on integrating teaching practice regularly throughout the curriculum by assigning students to one school placement each year in the program. This regular in-classroom experience is designed to create continuous practice and growth in the field. The program also includes all Montana state teaching requirements to jump into a teaching career right away upon graduation. The program is taught completely in person.

Tuition 2020–2021
Undergraduate Tuition: $36,182 per year

Salish Kootenai College (Pablo)

Salish Kootenai College’s Division of Education roots their educational practices in what their website describes as “the traditional perspectives of the Salish, Pend d’Oreille, and Kootenai people” where “children were honored, loved, and held with the highest regard within communities.” This culturally relevant education is valuable for all teachers, but especially those teaching Native American children in Montana. SKC offers both associate’s and bachelor’s programs in early childhood education, elementary education, secondary science education, and secondary math education. All of the programs are taught in person.

Tuition 2018-2019
American Indian: $2,998 per year
American Indian Descendent: $3,636 per year
Montana Resident: $5,076 per year
Non-resident: $10,260 per year

Montana State University Billings (Billings)

MSU Billings’ College of Education offers teacher education programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels. The college boasts programming and curricula that bring in content from all over the university. Additionally, because of the link to the MSU-Bozeman program, students have the flexibility to pursue coursework through the other campus if it’s not offered in Billings. Most of the degree programs must be completed in person (aside from the MSU cooperative opportunities between the Billings and Bozeman campuses), but the school offers master’s in special education programs online.

Tuition 2020–2021
Undergraduate Resident: $6,040 per year
Undergraduate Non-resident: $19,370 per year
Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE): $8,420 per year
Graduate Resident: $6,320 per year
Graduate Non-resident: $18,030 per year
Graduate Online Resident: $6,280 per year
Graduate Online Non-resident: $11,600 per year

Montana Teacher Resources

  • Montana Board of Public Education: The Board oversees all state elementary and secondary schools. The website contains all licensing requirements and other relevant information.
  • Montana Historical Society: The site provides a variety of Montana-specific resources and professional development opportunities for teachers.
  • Montana Federation of Public Employees: As the largest labor union in the state of Montana, MFPE was created in 2018 when the MEA-MFT (Montana Education Association-Montana Federation of Teachers) merged with the MPEA (Montana Public Employees Association). The union advocates on behalf of the thousands of public employees (including public school teachers) in the state and offers foundation programs for teachers such as the Award for Teaching Excellence, grant and scholarship programs, and National Board Certification support.
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