To begin work as an elementary school teacher in the state of Indiana, you must obtain an Initial Practitioner License. In order to qualify for licensing, you will have to complete the state’s educational, experiential, and examination requirements. In accomplishing these tasks, you will demonstrate your commitment, abilities, and competence to the Indiana Department of Education.
Step 1 Enroll in a Teacher Education Program. If you want to be an elementary teacher, focus on your education first. Indiana, like all U.S. states, requires at least a bachelor’s degree of all educators. Without having earned your degree, you cannot be considered for licensure.
In addition to your standard education, you will be required to satisfactorily complete an approved teacher training program. Your school can put you in touch with such a program. If you attend an out-of-state school, make sure to ask whether your training program will be recognized in Indiana.
A recent law also mandates that all teacher candidates in Indiana shall take an approved suicide prevention course. This is to help give educators the tools they need to recognize warning signs and to take appropriate action when a student may be in trouble.
Another thing you’ll have to do before you become certified is complete an emergency first aid training course that includes instruction in Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Automated External Defibrillator (AED), and the Heimlich maneuver. This training is relatively simple and usually costs around $30, but you must take the classes through either Red Cross or the American Heart Association.
Step 2 Get a criminal history background check. All Indiana teachers must pass an expanded criminal history check. This type of background check is more extensive in that it includes running your name through the Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Registry. The purpose of the background check is to search through records on state and federal levels to see if you have been associated with any type of crime or incident that would call into question your ability to work with children. Child sex offender registries keep tabs on people who have been convicted of any kind of crime that is sexual in nature and involves a child. These requirements help the state to shield children from anyone who might exploit or abuse them.
The Indiana State Police can help you with a simple background check, which is considered sufficient to complete your training and achieve licensure. You can send in your application for a background check by mail. Just print and fill out the request form and send (along with a check or money order for $7) to the following address:Indiana State Police
Criminal History Limited Check
P.O. Box 6188
Administrators at your hiring school will conduct the sex offender registry search as a contingency of your employment. You will be responsible to pay any applicable fees.
Step 3 Take the CASA examination. Praxis I will no longer be the preferred basic skills exam for Indiana teaching candidates, as they have transitioned to the CASA (Core Academic Skills Assessment) testing model. This exam is divided into three parts:
The fee to sit for the CASA exam is $114 ($38 per subsection), which you will pay upon registration. A collection of free study materials for CASA educator tests can be found here, on Indiana’s CORE Assessment website. You can also take a practice test for $29.95.
Next, you’ll move on to the Developmental Area Assessment for Elementary Education. This test seeks to measure your ability to function successfully within the school environment. The area assessment exam is comprised of four sections:
- Student Development and Diversity
- Learning Processes and Environments
- Instruction and Assessment
- The Professional Environment
Check with your school administrators or training program facilitators to see if any additional testing will be required of you.
Step 4 Get the required Experience. As part of your degree program, you will complete a period of demonstration teaching, or student teaching. This will usually last from 3-6 months and your school will work with you to find placement in a classroom within reasonable distance from the campus (note that this could be up to 2 hours away). During this demonstration period, you’ll work under the direct supervision of a working teacher in an elementary classroom. You will be with him or her to successfully lead the class through the semester’s curriculum. You’ll be observed, assessed, and given constructive feedback as you manage classroom activities like lessons and exams, conduct assessments, and participate in other experience-building activities. Upon completion, you’ll have gained the experience to step confidently into your own elementary classroom.
You will likely be assigned an advisor by your school to help you in finding classroom placement. Be attentive to this person, and don’t be afraid to ask questions for clarification. Your advisor can usually give you great advice on how to prepare for your student teacher assignment. As soon as you find out who your host teacher will be, contact them and open up a line of communication. Ask him or her what you should bring to the first day of class and how you can best prepare yourself to assist. Most of all, it’s key that you are well-rested and ready to give your full attention to the experience. This is so important, in fact, that most schools will not permit student teachers to work at any other job during their in-class training period.
Step 5 Complete required documentation and Apply for Certification. To submit an application for licensure, you’ll need to go through the Indiana Department of Education’s Licensing and Verification Information System (LVIS). The system has been streamlined so that you can apply, submit payment, upload documents, and print your license all from the site. To get started, read through this comprehensive applicant manual. It will take you step-by-step through the entire process of setting up an account and getting your application submitted. There will be a $35 processing fee that you can pay with a credit or debit card. You can also pay by check, and there will be instructions for that when you reach the “payments” page.