Become a Teacher in Kentucky

Kentucky Highlights

Avg. Elementary Teacher Salary: $53,140
Avg. Secondary Teacher Salary: $55,300
Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 08/10/2018

This page is sponsored by our partner Rossier Online, a master level teaching degree program delivered online that enables you to earn a Master’s degree and teaching credential. Learn more about how the University of Southern California can help you become a transformative teacher in Kentucky.

To become a certified teacher in Kentucky, you will need to fulfill these requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit a Kentucky teaching credential application.

Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible, and we are dedicated to updating with new information on a regular basis.

Step One: Kentucky Prerequisite Coursework

All states require that certified teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states have undergraduate credit hour requirements for certification in specialty areas. Here are Kentucky’s undergraduate prerequisites for some of the most popular specialty areas:
  • Elementary Education: Must have a major in English, Math, Social Studies, or Science. “Major” means an academic area of concentration consisting of at least thirty (30) hours of coursework.
  • Secondary English/Language Arts: Must have major in English. “Major” means an academic area of concentration consisting of at least thirty (30) hours of coursework.
  • Secondary Mathematics: Must have major in Math. “Major” means an academic area of concentration consisting of at least thirty (30) hours of coursework.
  • Secondary History/Social Science: Must have major in Social Studies. “Major” means an academic area of concentration consisting of at least thirty (30) hours of coursework.
  • Secondary Science: Must have major in Science. “Major” means an academic area of concentration consisting of at least thirty (30) hours of coursework.

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Master’s Requirements

Many schools of education now offer online MAT programs that provide increased flexibility by allowing aspiring or working teachers to attend class and complete coursework from any location that has an Internet connection. Online MAT programs are a practical option for students who have professional and personal commitments that make it difficult to obtain teaching certification through a full-time program.

The best online programs offer the same curriculum as the school’s on-campus program and apply the same admission requirements. Providing students with the ability to communicate with instructors and classmates in a face-to-face online environment is another hallmark of a good online program. In addition, candidates in online MAT programs should be provided with the opportunity to complete student teaching fieldwork in the local community.

Learn more about getting your MAT online with our partner USC Rossier School of Education.

Step Two: Kentucky Teacher Preparation

Teacher preparation includes the completion of an accredited teacher education program. Typically teacher education programs consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. The curricula often includes instruction on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (or the art and science of teaching) and preparing students to research, design and implement learning experiences in their field of study. The fieldwork component can include field observations, student teaching and an internship.

While the involvement in an education program may seem financially daunting, a number of financial resources specifically for teachers exist around the country. For more information on this, visit our page on scholarships for teachers. For more scholarships for teachers exclusive to the State of Kentucky, visit our Kentucky Teacher Scholarships page.

Alternative Certification

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities whose bachelor’s degree was not in education, and who have not yet earned a traditional teaching certificate, can still receive an alternative teaching certificate by satisfying certain requirements. There are eight routes to alternate certification. For more information visit the Kentucky Department of Education’s Certification page.

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Step Three: Kentucky Required Tests

Basic Skills Assessment: PPST

The Kentucky Department of Education requires all teaching candidates to pass a Teacher Preparation Entry Assessment (Praxis I: Pre-Professional Skills Test) to enter into a state-approved teacher preparation program.

Basic Skills Assessment: PPST
Certification Area Required Test(s) Qualifying Score
Preparation Program Praxis I: Mathematics


Content Assessment: Praxis II Exams

Content Assessment: Praxis II Exams
Certification Area Required Test(s) Qualifying Score
Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education 166
Elementary Education Multiple Subjects


  • Reading/Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • and
    Principles of Teaching & Learning: K-6
Middle School: English Middle School English Language Arts, and
PLT: Grades 5-9
Middle School: Math Middle School Mathematics, and
PLT: Grades 5-9
Middle School: Science Middle School Science,
PLT: Grades 5-9
Middle School: Social Studies Middle School Social Studies, and
PLT: Grades 5-9
Secondary Education content assessments


Exceptional (Special) Education

Exceptional (Special) Education
Certification Required Test Qualifying Score
Communication Disorders (P-12) Speech-Language Pathology 162
Hearing Impaired (P-12) Special Education: Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students 160
Hearing Impaired with Sign Proficiency (P-12) Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students, and
Education Sign Skills Evaluations, or
Sign Communication: Proficiency Overview
Intermediate Level
Learning & Behavior Disorders* (P-12) Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild to Moderate Applications 158
Moderate & Severe Disabilities* (P-12) Special Education: Core Knowledge and Severe to Profound Applications 158
Visually Impaired (P-12) Impairments 151

*Those pursuing certification in Learning & Behavior Disorders and/or Moderate & Severe Disabilities are not required to take the Special Education: Core Knowledge and Applications Assessment.

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Step Four: Kentucky Application Requirements

Kentucky’s Education Professionals Standards Board mandates that all in-state teaching candidates meet the following requirements:

  • Submit completed application and all official transcripts from undergraduate and graduate coursework.
  • Pass all necessary Praxis II exams for areas of certification.
  • Verification of full-time classroom teaching experience (at appropriate grade levels) by the personnel director or superintendent.
  • $50 non-refundable money order or certified check made payable to the Kentucky state treasurer. Applicants may also use the Education Professional Standards Board’s E-Pay system.
  • Out-of-state applicants must have Section II of application completed by their superintendent to verify out-of-state teaching experience.

Background Check

The Kentucky Department of Education does not require teaching candidates to undergo a fingerprinting or background check as grounds for initial licensure. Background check examinations may be required by local school districts.

The Kentucky Department of Education provides teaching candidates with an up-to-date list of available job openings within the public school system. Applicants can view each job’s responsibilities, salary range and application requirements, and contact information, however, applicants don’t have the option to apply directly online. DOE Vacancies does not have the option to apply directly online but provides applicants with the necessary contact information.

KEPS is an online database that provides potential Kentucky teachers with access to job vacancies within local schools and school districts. After registering for a free account, applicants upload their contact information and teaching credentials, which also allows districts to search for suitable teaching candidates.

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Kentucky Certification Reciprocity

Contact the Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board to inquire about your specific situation if you are a teacher who earned certification in another state and wish to teach in Kentucky. Please see our interstate reciprocity disclaimer for more information.

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Kentucky Teacher Salary

  • Incentives to teach in high-needs schools or shortage subject areas: Kentucky provides differential pay for teachers teaching in high-needs schools and teachers teaching in shortage subject areas
  • Policies in place that articulate elements of effective induction: Kentucky has strong induction policies in place which include professional development, training and mentoring programs
  • Average Elementary Teacher Salary: $53,140
  • Average Secondary Teacher Salary: $55,300
  • Average Number of Vacation Weeks Per Year: 15

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

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Kentucky Certification Resources & Links

Kentucky Department of Education
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
P: (502) 564-3141

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