Best Teacher Certification Programs in Nevada in 2024

Published On: March 3rd, 2024·By ·

Nevada is in desperate need of more certified teachers. In August 2023, a study was released on the teacher shortage impacting schools across America. Nevada was ranked number 1 as the hardest-hit state, followed by Utah. But like the rest of the nation, prospective teachers must have an educator license to work in the classroom. 

Nevada wants YOU in their schools, helping lead and educate our country's next generation. To address the shortage, the state's government is working hard to provide more options to increase the number of certified teachers in Nevada. They are reaching out to those looking to change careers and step into a vocation that makes a difference. 

To help you navigate Nevada's various pathways to teaching, we've put together all the information you'll need to become a certified teacher in the state. We have also researched the many approved certification options available and come up with the six best teacher certification programs in Nevada. 

Teacher holding certificate

Best Teacher Certification Programs in Nevada

Nevada Department of Education (NDE) has approved many alternative certification programs in addition to the traditional four-year university pathways to teaching. These allow candidates with a bachelor's to obtain an educator's license without being required to obtain a second degree in education. 

These programs save candidates time and money. In addition, they are typically more flexible than the traditional university experience, making it easier for adults with jobs, family, and other responsibilities to achieve certification. 

Many alternative teaching programs get candidates into the classroom right away on an alternative license. Once the candidate has completed the program and the state's requirements, they can continue progressing in teaching, including working towards a renewable standard or professional-level license. 

1. Teachers of Tomorrow

Teachers of Tomorrow is the number one teacher certification program in Nevada and the country. Founded in 2005, they are accredited by AAQEP and have developed partnerships with school districts nationwide, including in Nevada. As of 2023, they've helped over 80,000 people become certified educators in the United States. 

In Nevada, they've developed a program that meets the state's Alternative Route to Licensure (ARL) requirements. It runs on rolling admission, so you can begin as soon as you are ready. The self-paced program is designed to fit your needs and enables candidates to start teaching in a Nevada classroom within weeks. 

Highlights of Nevada's Teachers of Tomorrow program:

  • Researched-based curriculum designed by educators that are continually updated.
  • Personalized classroom support and visits from your Field Supervisor.
  • Online study community.
  • 1:1 coaching by former educators and campus administrators.
  • Interactive web content. 
  • Job hunting support, including help with your resume and portfolio. 
  • Work as you complete your program requirements.
  • Flexible and personalized program plan. 

Applying is free. The 2023 Nevada program fee is $4,200 and payment plans are available. There are also student and military discounts. All candidates may defer payments of the program fee until they have begun teaching for pay in the classroom.

2. University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)

The University of Nevada provides traditional pathways to teaching and an ARL. UNLV's MA in teaching or M.Ed program allows candidates to begin teaching on a conditional license after a semester of coursework, which is 9 or 12 credits, depending on which area the candidate wishes to teach.

Candidates in the program choose one of the following areas of teaching:

  • Early childhood (Birth-2nd grade)
  • Elementary (K-8th grade)
  • Secondary (7th-12th grade)
  • Special (K-12th)

Those who choose secondary education must focus on a field:

  • English
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Depending on a candidate's pace, the program can take as little as a year to complete. Clark County students are encouraged to take in-person classes, but those living further away may have online options. 

Having a master's degree will allow an educator to apply for Nevada's professional license. The license is valid for six years for master's degree holders, rather than the standard license's five years. A master's often puts teachers in a higher paying bracket, opens potential career options in administration, and may make it easier to teach in another state. 

The 2023-24 graduate registration fees are $321.75 per credit. According to the UNLV estimation tuition and fees calculator, the total cost of 9 credits for the program's first semester is $5,600.05. The figure includes extras like health insurance, counseling services, and a technology fee. 

3. University of Nevada, Reno (UNR)

The University of Nevada, like UNLV, has traditional pathways to teaching and master's degrees in education, and courses for those seeking licensure. UNR's ARL program is available for those who want to teach in special education in the following areas:

  • Autism
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Generalist
  • Early childhood special education

The ARL courses can be applied towards an M.Ed and are available online, hybrid, or in-person. The time to complete the program depends on the candidate. Many chose a 2-year timeline, taking two courses per semester. 

UNR's 2024 Spring graduate registration fees are $321.75 per credit for Utah residents and $354 for non-residents. 

4. Nevada State College

Nevada State College positions itself as a more affordable alternative to other universities in the state. Their school of education offers many degrees and programs for those interested in the traditional pathway. They also offer an Accelerated Licensure Teacher Academy  (ALTA) program. 

The ALTA is a non-degree program for candidates who want to earn their Nevada standard teaching license. ALTA areas of teaching include:

  • Elementary
  • Early childhood
  • Special education generalist
  • Special education autism
  • Secondary education science
  • Secondary education English
  • Secondary education mathematics

Completion of the program equates to 6 hours of credit. 2023-2024 graduate enrollment is $255.50 per credit. Other fees may apply. 

5. Grand Canyon University

The Grand Canyon University is a private Christian institution in Phoenix. They offer traditional pathways to teaching and the non-traditional Canyon Teacher Residency Pathways. 

The five pathways offered in the non-traditional route:

  • Arizona Alternative Teaching Program
  • Arizona Emergency Substitute Teaching Residency
  • Arizona Student Teaching Intern Certificate
  • Canyon LEAP to Teach
  • Teaching Associate Residency
  • Nevada Alternative Route to Licensure

The alternative pathways allow candidates to be employed while completing teacher certification and their program of study, including master's degree options. Some programs provide a great deal of support, while others require the candidate to be highly independent. 

The most affordable tuition rates are through their online and evening classes. Graduation tuition for education programs is $590 per credit. Scholarships and discounts for military members and spouses are available. 

6. Nevada Teacher Corps / The New Teacher Project

The Nevada Teacher Corps matches teaching candidates with high-needs districts and charter elementary schools in Las Vegas Valley. The program is a two-year commitment while participants teach on a provisional license as they study. 

Applications open in December and close in May. Pre-teaching training begins in late May, so candidates are ready to start their first post in September. Online training toward certification begins shortly after candidates have started teaching in the classroom. 

To be eligible, candidates must have:

  • Bachelor's degree
  • 2.0 GPA or higher
  • Never had a US teaching certificate
  • Must be able to legally work in the US

Tuition for 2023 is $13,000, spread over two years. The average starting salary for those in the corps is $41,863. 

How to Become a Teacher in Nevada

Nevada, like every state, has their own unique steps to becoming a teacher. NDE offers various pathways to becoming a certified educator; however, the steps can be broken down into the following process. 

  • Earn a Bachelor's Degree. A BA or BS is required to teach in all US states. Those following the traditional pathway should do a degree in their chosen teaching area, such as elementary education. However, those using an alternative route only require a degree; it does not have to be education-focused. 
  • Complete a Teacher Preparation Program. Nevada requires educators to complete a teacher preparation program to qualify for their standard or professional license. Those on the traditional pathway usually use the teacher preparation program offered by the college or university. Some of these programs allow candidates to earn credits towards a master's. 

Those on the alternative pathway have greater choice in teacher preparation programs, including flexible, online options that are usually much more affordable and allow you to work while you study. Some alternative teaching programs also allow you to work towards a master's. 

  • Pass Multiple Exams. NDE's general license requirements include the Praxis Core. The series assesses a candidate's skills in three main areas: reading, writing, and mathematics. Specific licensure areas may also require additional exams to be certified, such as early childhood education or secondary physics. 
  • Apply for a Teaching License. Candidates must create an OPAL account to apply for a teaching license. Nevada no longer accepts paper applications. Once an electronic application has been sent through OPAL, candidates will receive notifications through email or text each time their application advances to the next stage. The process averages 4-6 weeks during non-peak season and 6-8 weeks during peak season. Fees for 2023 new applications are $180. 
  • Undergo Fingerprinting and a Background Check. Once an application and payment is made through OPAL, applicants will be emailed a verification and a list of approved Livescan vendors. Applicants must visit one of these vendors and have their fingerprints taken. The Nevada Department of Public Safety and the FBI will run a background check. The process takes 4-8 weeks. Candidates will be disqualified from teaching between 10 years and life if convicted of any offenses listed on the Moral Turpitude Matrix
  • Fulfill Required Professional Development. Professional development courses are required to maintain and renew licenses. Those applying for one of Nevada's general licenses will also be required to have taken coursework in Parental Involvement and Family Engagement (PIFE), Special Education, and Multicultural Education. A provisional license may be an option for those missing a requirement, such as PIFE coursework. The exact requirements of those with an ARL license depend on the program. 
  • Apply for Teaching Positions. Once you have obtained a Nevada teaching license, you can begin looking for a teaching position. Those in an ARL program may be assisted with this process with a district partner. However, those needing to secure a position on their own should consult job boards, school and district websites, job fairs, and online recruitment sites. The NDE also provides job seeker information on their website. 
  • Secure a Teaching Job. Successful job applications lead to an interview. Do your homework before the interview, including reviewing the top 20 teacher interview questions and how to answer with confidence. 
  • Obtain Full Licensure. Those who have gained initial licensure through ARL or an emergency license will need to convert their license to a standard license before their current one expires. The NDE provides helpful tips on converting an ARL and information on their general licenses
  • Maintain Your License. Education licenses have to be renewed or converted every so many years. Like most states, Nevada requires educators to take professional development courses to maintain a teaching license. 

All of the Exams You Will Need to Pass

Teaching in Nevada requires passing exams based on the grades, subject area, and specialty area you wish to teach. Those who have not taken the exams or have to retake one or more due to low marks may still be able to teach on a temporary license. However, candidates will still be required to achieve passing scores to renew or upgrade to a standard or general license. 

The NDE exam requirements for teacher certification include the following:

Candidates can take the three sections separately or as a combined test. 

  • Praxis Subject Assessments: Teachers applying for a single subject middle school license must take a Praxis exam in that area. For instance, a teacher wanting to teach middle school science would take a Praxis subject test of that same name. 

Secondary teachers (7-12 grades) may also need to take a pedagogy test for their area in addition to or instead of the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT). As with the middle school area subjects, high school teachers select the test that applies to their area. 

  • Praxis PLT (Principles of Learning and Teaching) Grades K–6 or 7–12: These exams assess a candidate's knowledge of pedagogy in the classroom. The exams are split between the grade level and, in some cases, the subject area. required

Nevada teaching candidates should consult the Nevada Praxis Guide to ensure they take the correct Praxis exams for their grade level and teaching area. 

Types of Teacher Certifications in Nevada

The NDE teacher certifications are broken down into various licenses. The licenses are divided into types, which impact how long they are valid and a teacher's pay grade. Within these types, teachers are licensed to work with a specific age group, subject area, and specialty. 

Nevada General Educator Licenses

NDE has four main types of licenses. These are based on how well a candidate meets the state's requirements for teaching. 

  • Non-Renewable/Provisional: Valid for three years. It is issued to educators who meet some NDE requirements but have not completed their coursework or still need passing scores on specific exams.
  • Standard: Valid for five years. It is issued to educators who meet all of the NDE requirements. However, they do not hold a National Board Certification, master's, or PhD. 
  • Professional. Issued to educators who meet all the NDE requirements and hold a master's, PhD, specialist degree, or a National Board Certification. Valid for six years with a master's, eight with an Education Specialist degree, 10 years with a doctorate, or the same length of time as the educator's National Board certification's validity. 
  • Retiree: Valid for 10 years. Issued to a retired educator with at least 15 years of teaching experience in the state. 

Nevada Standard Licenses

NDE has six standard licenses. These determine what grades, subject areas, or focus an educator can teach. 

    • Special Education: Required to teach students who qualify in specific areas. This license requires educators to apply for the relevant endorsement. Examples include:
      • Autism 
      • Gifted and Talented (GATE) 
      • Early Childhood Developmentally Delayed
      • Hearing Impairments
      • Visual Impairments
  • Elementary School: Required to teach elementary school students, generally grades K-6. 
    • Middle/Jr. High School: Required to teach grades 7-9. However, educators with this license can only teach grade 9 if it is in a middle or junior high school. They may not teach grade 9 if classes are held in a high school. 
    • Secondary/High School: Required to teach 10-12, and also allows educators to teach 7-9. Educators applying for this license must select a minimum of one field of endorsement. Examples include:
      • English
      • Mathematics
      • Physical Science
      • Social Studies
  • Substitute/Emergency Sub: A substitute license allows someone to teach temporarily. They can work for five days within a 20-day period. 

However, an emergency substitute license allows a substitute to work as a teacher for an extended period. The NDE may only issue it after receiving a written request from a school district. It allows a person who does not meet the NDE requirements to teach Pre-K-12 at a specific school that has fewer than 9,000 students enrolled. The school must also meet one of the following conditions:

  • Rural
  • Meet the description of NAC 391.0896
  • Covered by the Nevada Governor's state of emergency

Nevada Special Licenses

NDE has various special licenses. We are highlighting the two that most apply to career changers. 

  • ARL Licenses: A license that allows candidates with a bachelor's to teach while enrolled in an alternative teacher certification program. Passing scores on certain exams may be required. Once an educator on an ARL license has completed their coursework, passed all exams, and met all the NDE requirements, they must have their license converted
  • Career & Technical Education Licenses: The license allows educators to teach grades 7-12 in specific areas. The license is split into two types:

Salary Outlook for Teachers in Nevada

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average teacher salaries in Nevada as of May 2022 for elementary, middle, and secondary school range from $60,670-$66,620. These figures rank Nevada in the middle of national teaching salaries.

Secondary School:

  • Lowest – $48,510
  • Average – $66,620
  • Highest – $84,800

Middle School:

  • Lowest – $48,350
  • Average – $67,880
  • Highest – $85,150

Elementary School

  • Lowest – $46,950
  • Average – $60,670
  • Highest – $85,210

The salary variations between teachers are due to the wide range of years of experience, education levels, special skills and endorsements, and each district's budget, which is heavily influenced by local income level. 

Maintaining Your Teaching Certification in Nevada

Educators in Nevada must undergo 15 hours of professional development to maintain their standard or professional license. Teachers will be asked to provide proof of their professional development when renewing their licenses. The hours must be acquired by an NDE-approved provider to count towards renewal. 

Schools or districts may also require professional development for salary advancement. The number of hours and providers is determined by the school or district and may differ from what the NDE requires for license renewal. 

Who should consider alternative certification? 

Alternative certification routes are an excellent option for those with a bachelor's degree. The programs often attract candidates who are: 

  • Seeking a more inspiring and fulfilling career
  • Already works in education in a paraprofessional role
  • Has a bachelor's degree in a teaching subject, such as English, math, or physics

These programs are generally flexible, catering to people with day jobs, families, and other responsibilities that don't impact most high school graduates heading to university. Classes are held online, at night, or on weekends, and many programs allow you to work at your own pace.

Alternative certification routes cost less than traditional pathways. In addition, many programs also allow candidates to gain their required field and work experience through paid teaching positions instead of an unpaid internship. 

Get Certified to Teach in Nevada

Teaching in Nevada requires certification. However, due to the severe teaching shortage, the state has opened alternative pathways to attract candidates with bachelor's degrees. 

These alternative routes do not require returning to university for a second degree. Instead, the coursework can be done online while you teach for pay and complete the NDE requirements. The process is cheaper and faster than the traditional pathway. 

Nevada needs quality teachers now. Don't wait to start your vocation where your time and energy make a difference. Have questions? SimpleK12 is here to help you on your journey to become one of Nevada's top teachers. 

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