Teaching in Idaho is a rewarding vocation, allowing you to positively impact the next generation. Working in one of the fastest-growing states in America, you’ll enjoy being part of a community creating new opportunities.
The process of being a teacher varies, as each state has its own requirements. In 2022, Idaho had approximately 16,147 teachers. However, like many parts of the country, they are experiencing a shortage of educators, partly due to an accelerating population and early retirement during the pandemic.
Idaho’s need for qualified educators makes it an excellent choice to pursue a teaching career. In this guide, we’ve assembled all the steps and key information you need to know about teaching in Idaho.
Is Teaching the Right Career for You?
Teaching is a dynamic and engaging career. But it is demanding, requiring a commitment beyond the standard 9-5, adaptability, excellent communication skills, creativity, and focus.
Teaching is a vocation that goes beyond the classroom. It requires interacting with the learners’ parents or guardians, collaboration with other educators and staff, and engaging with fellow residents.
Those who teach often have a passion for spreading knowledge and making a positive impact in their communities. It’s a vocation, not a job motivated by monetary rewards. Yet, teachers often enjoy stable employment and extended periods of vacation.
Teacher salaries and benefits vary across the country. The average annual salary in Idaho for 2023 is $54,232 whereas in Florida it’s $51,230.
State Requirements for Teaching In Idaho
Teaching requirements in the United States vary across the country and which education level you wish to work with: primary, secondary, or high school. However, even states with stringent requirements may have emergency teaching certificate options due to staffing shortages in a particular subject, education level, or community.
Idaho requires a bachelor’s degree to teach as do all US states. A degree in education is recommended, but Idaho does have avenues to obtain alternative teacher certification if a candidate holds a bachelor’s degree in a different subject.
A bachelor’s degree in education should be from a program approved by the Idaho State Department of Education (SDE) and the grade level you wish to teach.
A bachelor’s degree in education fosters problem-solving, critical thinking, and other skills to help you excel in a teaching career, such as:
- How to create an effective learning environment
- How to design a curriculum
- How to be a leader, mentor, and motivator
- How to work and collaborate with various peer groups
Bachelor’s degrees that can lead to an education career in Idaho include:
- Bachelor of Arts or Science in Elementary Education (P-8)
- Bachelor of Arts or Science in Special Education (Elementary or Secondary)
- Bachelor of Arts or Science in Secondary Education with Content Area Endorsements
- Family and Consumer Sciences
Complete an Accredited Teacher Preparation Program
Idaho requires candidates to complete an educator program to be certified to teach. The program’s purpose is to ensure teachers can meet the needs of the learners in a particular educational level or specialty.
The SDE provides a list of institutions that offer an accredited teacher preparation program.
Candidates who are educated out of state may still qualify, provided the program is accredited by the Association of Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP) or the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).
Examples of some of the endorsements and certificates provided by Idaho education preparation programs include:
- English as a New Language (K-12)
- Elementary, All Subjects (K-8)
- Blended Early Childhood Education / Early Childhood Special Education
- Exceptional Child Generalist (K-12)
- Standard Instructional Certificate with endorsements (i.e., English, Spanish, American Government, Mathematics, Music, Computer Science, etc.)
Gain Student Teaching Experience
Idaho’s teacher prepared programs require candidates to gain a minimum of six semesters or nine quarter credit hours of student teaching experience.
Idaho’s non-traditional educator preparation programs require candidates to work for a minimum of two years under a mentor teacher in a teaching position at an Idaho district or charter.
Gaining student teaching experience or a mentored teaching position ensures a candidate gains valuable feedback while practicing learned skills, such as classroom management and lesson planning.
Pass a Background Check
Idaho requires any adult who might have unsupervised contact with a student (K-12) at a school, including volunteers and teachers, to undergo a background check to ensure learner safety from abuse, neglect, and other potentially harmful behavior. The screening confirms you are the individual you claim to be and ensures you do not have a criminal record.
Idaho background checks are through:
- Idaho State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Statewide Sex Offender Registry
You must obtain an SED fingerprint card before visiting a police department or sheriff’s office to roll your fingerprints on the card and have Section II filled out, signed, and dated.
Teachers must get certified according to the certification process or licensure exam mandated by the state where they intend to work, as these requirements differ across the country.
Idaho teacher education certification requirements include:
- Completing a bachelor’s degree
- Completing an SDE approved teacher preparation program
- Passing the Praxis Subject Assessment for the subject(s) taught
- Passing Idaho’s Comprehensive Literary Assessment (early childhood or elementary)
- Submitting an application to the SDE
Consider Getting A Master’s Degree
Teachers in some states must obtain a master’s degree within five years of completing their initial degree. Currently, Idaho does not have this requirement. However, obtaining a master’s in teaching (MIT) in Idaho is an excellent way to get into education if you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-education subject.
A master’s degree in education comes with other benefits, such as helping you stand out when applying for a position, potentially leading to a higher-paying salary, and opening the door to leadership opportunities within education, such as becoming a principal.
Alternative Route To Teaching in Idaho
Alternative pathways to teaching in Idaho are available through the state’s non-traditional educator preparation programs. Four institutions are approved for the program:
- American Board (ABCTE)
- College of Southern Idaho (CIS)
- Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC)
- Teach for America (TFA)
Another option is obtaining a master’s degree from one of the accredited Idaho universities.
In Iowa, alternative programs are often more affordable and flexible than traditional routes, allowing people with current jobs and families to learn as it fits into their schedule and at their own pace. In addition, much of the work can be done online, making it accessible no matter where you live in the state.
During your first three years in the classroom, you will also be required to complete the SDE approved two-year mentor program, which is the alternative to the student-teaching done for at least six semesters or nine quarter credit hours in the traditional route.
Getting Hired as a Teacher
Getting hired as a teacher in Idaho first requires obtaining the necessary education, certification, and in-classroom experience. Once these obligations are met, you’re ready to start looking for a job in teaching.
But before diving into the hiring pool, take some time to carefully consider the following elements to ensure you put your best foot forward.
Polish Your CV
Give your CV a good polish, ensuring you include the information most hiring schools in Idaho require from their teachers.
Next, obtain some constructive feedback from individuals in your trusted network, such as university professors, mentors, and contacts within the industry. Use their advice to edit your CV accordingly.
Once your CV has been edited and is ready to go, save it as a template. Before applying to an advertised position, tailor the template so it speaks to that specific role.
Upgrade Your Skill Set
Seek opportunities, such as volunteer work, to upgrade your skill set even if your only teaching experience is your student training.
Excellent teaching skills to cultivate include:
Adaptability: There is nothing routine about teaching even at schools that provide excellent structure. Learners are full of the unexpected, each with their own delights and challenges. In addition, the educational environment is always evolving.
Communication: Making connections and being understood is essential in the classroom, collaborating with colleagues and reaching out to parents and guardians. An effective communicator also understands that listening is vital to being heard.
Creativity: Inventiveness and originality go beyond decorating a classroom. If a lesson isn’t connecting with learners, a good teacher must be able to come up with new and unique ways to bring the information to life. Creativity is also an essential problem-solving skill in classroom management and when collaborating with colleagues.
Enthusiasm: Learners can tell when their teacher lacks passion and interest in lessons and activities. A teacher must enthusiastically approach all aspects of the role to enhance classroom engagement and facilitate connections.
Patience: Educators must be masters of taking a big breath and keeping perspective in tense or challenging moments. The need for patience goes beyond interacting with learners, including while working with colleagues, administrators, school boards, parents, guardians, and other community members.
Begin Your Job Search
Begin your job search in Idaho by looking through these top sites:
- Edjobs Idaho
- Idaho Education Jobs
- ZipRecruiter: Education Jobs Near Me: K-12 School Jobs Across the USA
If there are districts you are interested in, try contacting them directly through email or by phone. There is always a chance they’re hiring, or they might be interested in keeping your CV on file so they can contact you when seeking applicants.
Join a Professional Organization and Network
Networking is valuable in every profession, including teaching, providing valuable information, advocacy, support, and opportunities for collaboration. Seek out and join some professional organizations and make some connections by considering some of the following:
- Idaho Education Association
- Idaho Music Educators Association
- Idaho PTA
- Idaho Teaching & Learning Collections
- Northwest Professional Educators
Ace Your Job Interview
Successfully passing an interview is a necessary hurdle before being hired as a teacher in Idaho. We’ve put together some of our top tips to help you ace your job interview:
- Do your homework on the school and district. No two schools or districts are the same. Each one is built on slightly different core values and philosophies and cultivates its own atmosphere. Research the educational institution and local community beforehand. It will help you frame your answers to their outlook and decide if you want to work there.
- Have some success stories in your back pocket. When preparing for your interview, think of all the times you’ve successfully handled challenges with learners. Pick a few of these to have ready to sprinkle into the interview. Try to have a variety of situations, from one-on-one connections to managing a difficult classroom situation.
- Share hobbies that will enhance your benefit to the school. Sure, your specialty as a teacher might be math. But be sure to mention any other interesting skills or experience, such as being able to run a sound system, having played college sports, having a passion for robotics, or being skillful at chess. Schools look for teachers that can bring benefits to their extracurricular activities.
Career Outlook & Salary in Idaho
Teachers are in high demand in much of the United States, and that includes Idaho. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for teachers is projected to grow by 5% from 2001-2031.
Teacher salaries in Idaho are also set to rise. Earlier in 2023, the Idaho Senate Bill 1205 passed, allocating close to $145 million for teacher pay raises. Exact figures depend on the district and a few other factors, but it could mean an extra $6,359 per full-time employee and a starting teacher salary of around $47,477, placing it among the top ten states in the US.
You can find teaching jobs by subject or position at EDJobs Idaho, administered by the Idaho Association of School Administrators.
According to the 2022-2023 US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report, Idaho has particular needs in areas such as English as a second language, health and physical fitness, math, science, art and music, early childhood, language arts, and special education.
Become a Teacher in Idaho
Idaho is one of the fastest-growing states in the country, and they are looking for teachers. The cost of living is ranked just below average for utilities, healthcare, and groceries, with only slightly above average for housing. They are ranked 5th in the country for public safety.
Teaching is a rewarding career, and Idaho is a beautiful state to do it in. If you meet the state’s requirements, you’ll embark on a vocation that makes a difference in lives and our nation’s future.
If you are excited about the prospect of being a teacher in Idaho, Teachers of Tomorrow, the largest national alternative certification provider, is here to help guide you on your journey.