March 13, 2019
Prospective educators in the United States must receive their teaching license to be certified in their licensure. Luther offers programs for K-6 elementary education, 5-12 secondary education, K-12 art education, and K-12 music education. Students are required to pay to take their licensure exams, and the cost varies by state and the time students take their licensing test also varies by state and test. These exams are used to measure an aspiring educator’s knowledge and skills to ensure that they are prepared to efficiently teach their subject matter and understand relevant educational philosophy and pedagogy.
The beginning of the licensing process can be complicated at Luther, according to Tory Hornby (‘20).
“To get licensure, you have to jump through some hoops,” Hornby said. “The first big step is applying for the TEP or the Teacher Education Program. You do this at the end of your sophomore [or junior] year and are inducted in at the beginning of your junior [or senior] year. This is also flexible depending on when you decide on pursuing education.”
Before applying for TEP, students must take clinical experience in the schools, educational psychology, the diverse and exceptional learner, and an additional instructional strategies course specific to the student’s licensure. They also must complete the appropriate entrance exams and receive a passing score.
“As a sophomore education major, we are just starting to dive into our preparation for teaching,” Elliot Rickert (‘21) said. “I would say most of our first year focused on figuring out whether or not we wanted to pursue the field of education, which is why we took the EDUC185/215 observational course.”
During their undergraduate studies, pre-service teachers must also decide in which states they want to receive their teaching license. Students who complete TEP at Luther are entitled to licensure in Iowa only. If students want to receive licensure in a different state, it is their responsibility to follow changes in licensure requirements to guarantee eligibility for licensure.
This decision can be difficult for students since different states have their own variation of the licensing process. For example, Minnesota requires students to take the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations, while Iowa requires the Praxis, and Wisconsin requires the edTPA. If students want to be licensed in multiple states, they must pay for each test.
“I am originally from Iowa, and Luther sets you up to get an Iowa license, but I also decided to go through the process of getting a Minnesota license,” Hannah Carmon (‘19) said. “I wanted to get a Minnesota license because I wanted to teach and move out of my Iowan comfort zone. It wasn’t that tough of a decision because Minnesota is rather close but of course it is difficult to come to the conclusion of where I want to start my full-time career.”
Erin Stasek (‘21) will get her licensure in Minnesota.
“I am planning to get my license in Minnesota, at least that’s the plan now,” Stasek said. “I grew up in the suburbs of the Twin Cities and would like to return to teach there. It will be nice to be close to my family for the first few years out of college.”
According to Luther’s 2017 Post-Graduation Activities report, Iowa schools hired 13 students, Minnesota schools hired 17 students, Wisconsin schools hired four students, and eight students were hired in other states.
While obtaining a teaching license is a crucial step to Luther education students, the most important goal is getting a strong grasp on how to be an educator.
“I’ve been able to become more prepared in my focused education subject: music,” Rickert said. “The biggest struggle I will have is figuring out how to best teach my class. Teaching is an art form that has to develop with practice over time.”