Early Childhood Teacher Certification in Montana

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Montana’s Early Childhood Education Scene

Montana, known as “Big Sky Country”, scores on the lower end of the spectrum in Education Week’s 2013 annual national rankings. It received an overall state grade of “C” and is ranked the 44th state in the nation for education. However, the state ranks a little higher for children’s overall well-being, coming in 28th for that in 2013.

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The Early Childhood Service Bureau is working hard to improve the quality, cost, and accessibility of child care and early learning services throughout the state. The state is in need of individuals interested in improving the face of education in Montana.

Becoming a Certified Teacher in Montana

The Montana Office of Public Instruction includes extensive information about how to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring teachers and current teachers.

There are several routes to licensure in the state of Montana. The different options to receive certification are as follows:

  • Class 2 Standard: for individuals holding a bachelor’s degree who have completed a teacher preparation program that includes a supervised teaching experience.
  • Class 1 Professional: for individuals with a Class 2 Standard Educator License or similar qualification, a master’s degree in education, and three years of successful teaching experience.
  • Class 4 Career and Technical: for individuals with ample work experience but no teaching degree.
  • Class 7 Native American Language and Culture: for individuals recommended by the tribe.
  • Class 5 Alternative: for individuals who (most commonly) hold a bachelor’s degree and need to complete a teacher preparation program along with other requirements.

Out-of-state applicants must provide a copy of their license and complete the entire application process. All licenses are valid for five years with the exception of the three-year Class 5 Alternative license.

To apply, gather the appropriate documents and submit an application. Be sure to contact the Educator Licensure department, should you have any further questions about the certification/licensure process.

ECE Degree Programs in Montana

There are several early childhood education degree programs in Montana. Some of the top colleges in the state are highlighted below.

is a public research school located on a beautiful campus. It offers a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and an associate degree in early childhood education, as well as master’s degrees in curriculum and instruction.

is a private Roman Catholic school that offers a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

is a small college of the Chipeewa-Cree tribe that offers associate degrees in early childhood education and elementary education.

is a Native American tribal college that offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education and elementary education.

The Montana Job Scene for Teachers

There are several different avenues you can take to pursue a career in this dynamic field.

Public schools employ the vast majority of individuals seeking careers in early childhood education. Montana Jobs-for-Teachers is a free online service that connects applicants with schools districts. It also keeps a current list of job vacancies within the state.

Other employers to become familiar with are private schools, Head Start and Montessori schools. Be sure to research the child care centers in your local area, as many of these centers are in constant need of highly-qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community as well.

Teacher Organizations in Montana

There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of Montana that share similar visions.

The Montana Education Association and the Montana Federation of Teachers (MEA-MFT) is the union that was created when these two organizations joined forces in 2000. It is made up of 18,000 educators and aims to improve the profession and local public schools. It provides union benefits and is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, with three million members in over 14,000 communities across the country. It is also an affiliate of the 1.4-million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

The Montana Association for the Education of Young Children (MTAEYC) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for educators. The organization is committed to professional development and networking. There are 11 local chapters and it is an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members.

The Montana Rural Education Association (MREA) strives to improve education in rural Montana. It offers a variety of association services as well.

There are also a variety of teacher associations separated by teachers’ particular areas of subject interest, such as the Montana Association of Language Teachers (MALT), Montana Science Teachers Association (MSTA) or the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM).

Montana Teacher Bloggers

The NBC Montana education news blog covers hot topics, issues, and events in Montana schools, as does the education section of KAJ18.com. Montana teachers may also share insightful information through their person blogs.

Purely Paperless is a blog written by an elementary school teacher who posts ideas for incorporating technology tools into instruction, as well as tips for increasing productivity in the classroom.

First Grade or Bust is a blog written by a new first grade teacher who shares classroom ideas for early learners as well as other inspiring teacher blogs.

Mrs. Kast’s Kindergarten Kiddos is a blog written by a kindergarten teacher who documents her many rewarding classroom experiences.



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