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Montana Educator Licensure Frequently Asked Questions


LICENSURE QUESTIONS:

What license should I apply for?

Class 2 standard teaching license: This is the license that new graduates and teachers who do not have a master’s degree and three years of teaching experience should apply for. To qualify you must have a bachelor’s degree and you must have completed a teacher’s preparation program which included student teaching.
To apply follow this link: Application Information—Class 2 Standard

Class 1 professional license: if you have a master’s degree in an endorsable teaching area and 3 years of experience as a licensed and appropriately assigned teacher in an accredited K-12 school system you should apply for this license.
To apply, follow this link: Application Information—Class 1 Professional

Class 3 license: This is the license for administrators: Superintendents, Principals, and Supervisors. You must be able to qualify for a Montana Class 1 or 2 teaching license and have at least 3 years of experience as a classroom teacher in an accredited PK-12 school.
To apply, follow appropriate link:
Application Information—Class 3 Special Education Supervisor
Class 3 Administrator’s License – Superintendent and Principal
Application Information—Class 3 Supervisor

Class 4 license: This is the appropriate license if you want to teach career and technical education (CTE) classes. There are three types of CTE licenses

  • Class 4 A—this type of license is for teachers who currently hold another teaching license.
  • Class 4 B—this type of license requires a bachelor’s degree and 10,000 hours of verifiable experience in the area of requested endorsement.
  • Class 4 C—this type of license can be obtained if an applicant has at least 10,000 hours of verifiable experience.

To apply, follow this link: Application Information—Class 4 Career and Technical

Class 5 license: If you did not complete a teacher’s preparation program which included student teaching you should apply for this type of license. Also, if you are not a currently licensed out of state teacher and you do not have at least 6 semester credits earned from a regionally accredited college within the last 5 this is the license you will apply for.
To apply, follow this link: Application Information—Class 5 Provisional

Class 6 License: For School Psychologists and School Counselors who are not also classroom teachers.
To apply, follow appropriate link:
Application Information—Class 6 School Counselor
Application Information—Class 6 School Psychologist

Class 7 license: This license is granted upon recommendation from a Montana tribe for Native American language and culture instruction only.
To apply, follow this link: Application Information—Class 7 Native American

Class 8 license: This is the license for Dual credit teachers who are employed by a college or university and teaching classes for high school students who are earning both high school and college credits.
To apply, follow this link: Application Information—Class 8 Application

How do I get a copy of my license certificate?

You will need to log into our system (MSEIS). You may need to set up an account if you haven’t used the MSEIS yet. Once you have logged into MSEIS click on the “View your licenses here” Link which is immediately below the welcome message. This will take you to the main screen in MSIES where you can review your contact information and licensure information. Look for the section on that page that says “Licenses”. In that section you will be able to see any licenses you currently have and any licenses that are pending. To request a copy of any current licenses all you need to do is click on the “Request Duplicate” button. The system will have you verify your personal and contact information and then take you to the payment system. Once you complete your payment ($6.00) and it is verified, click the submit button. Your duplicate license certificate will be issued and should be in the mail within 1-2 business days.

I have a license in another state. How do I transfer my license to Montana?

Montana does not have reciprocity with any state for teacher licensure. To get a Montana teaching license you will need to go through the application process. You will need to submit an application, transcripts, a fingerprint background check, a copy of your current out of state license, a university recommendation and a licensure fee which verifies you have completed a teacher preparation program which included student teaching and that you qualify for the endorsements you are applying for.

I completed an alternative teacher preparation program in another state. Do I qualify for licensure in Montana?

Out of state alternative programs often do NOT lead to full licensure in Montana—even if you have been licensed and teaching in another state. If your program did not include student teaching or you did not complete a program through an accredited college or university which can be documented on an official transcript you will most likely be required to complete additional coursework to complete a teacher preparation program which meets Montana’s standards for full licensure. You can complete this coursework while teaching in Montana if you have a Class 5 provisional license. The Class 5 license will give you up to three years to complete the necessary coursework for upgrading your license to a Class 2 standard teaching license or Class 1 professional teaching license.
To apply, follow this link: Application Information--Class 5 Provisional

I just graduated from a teacher preparation program. How do I apply for a Montana teaching license?

You will need to submit an application, official transcripts, a fingerprint background check, and a university recommendation which verifies you have completed a teacher preparation program which included student teaching and that you qualify for the endorsements you are applying for.

I haven’t completed a teaching program but I would like to become a teacher in Montana. What steps do I have to take to become a teacher?

If you haven’t completed a teacher preparation program but do have a bachelor’s degree you can apply for a Class 5 provisional license. You will have to submit the application, official transcripts to verify you have a bachelor’s degree, a fingerprint background check, and a plan of study from a regionally accredited college or university which verifies you meet their criteria for enrollment and can complete a teacher preparation program within the next three years. This license will allow you to teach in the classroom for up to three years while you are completing your coursework. At the end of three years, if you have completed your teacher’s preparation program, you can update your license to a Class 2 standard teaching license or Class 1 professional teaching license. The Class 5 license is non-renewable and can only be held once per teaching career.
To apply, follow this link: Application Information--Class 5 Provisional

I completed a teacher preparation program from outside the United States. What do I need to provide to apply for licensure in Montana?

The Office of Public Instruction does not determine degree, credit or program equivalencies for persons with credentials from outside the United States. Please work directly with a recognized credentials evaluation agency, have the appropriate evaluation sent to you, and include it with your application. You are welcome to submit an evaluation from any agency. However, the Office of Public Instruction will determine the acceptability of the evaluation. The following are names and addresses of acceptable credential evaluation services:

Name of Service Physical Address City State Zip Telephone Contact Website
AACRAO International Education Services One Dupont Circle NW,
Suite 520
Washington DC 20036 Tel:
202-296-3359
Fax:
202-822-3940
www.aacrao.org
World Education Services, Inc (WES) PO Box 75, Old Chelsea Station New York NY 10113-0745 Tel:
212-966-6311
www.wes.org
Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. PO Box 514070 Milwaukee WI 53203-3470 Tel:
414-289-3400
Fax:
414-289-3411
www.ece.org

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

An acceptable evaluation must include:

  • A course-by-course analysis of each foreign transcript
  • Documentation of student teaching or supervised teaching experience

Be sure to submit all transcripts applicable to your Montana educator license to the credential evaluation agency.

The candidate is responsible for any charge associated with the foreign transcript evaluation.

Canadian students applying directly to Montana for licensure must submit a foreign credential evaluation. Canadian students whose credits have been accepted by a Montana university may waive this requirement.

PROBLEMS WITH THE MONTANA EDUCATOR INFORMATION SYSTEM (MSEIS) ONLINE APPLICATION PROCESS

How do I make a payment if I applied online but didn’t finish the payment portion of the process?

To make your payment you will have to send us a check along with the rest of your application materials. The online system isn’t set up to let you go back in and make your payment at a later time. OPI cannot accept credit card payments by phone.


Mail payment to:

Montana Office of Public Instructions
Attn. Educator Licensure
PO Box 202501
Helena, MT 59620

I don’t remember my user name or password and my email has changed since the last time I used the system.

Please send us an email at cert@mt.gov giving us your name, birthdate, former email address, and current email address and we will contact you once we have updated your email address.

I am trying to set up my account in the MSEIS system and it says that my name and social security number do not match.

Usually this means that your Social Security Number or birthdate was incorrectly entered by your school district. Please call us at 406-444-3150 to address this problem.

For further questions please call 406-444-3150

How do I update my personal or contact information in the MSEIS system?

You will need to log into our system—you may need to set up an account if you haven’t used the MSEIS yet. Once you have logged into MSEIS click on the “View your licenses here” Link which is immediately below the welcome message. This will take you to the main screen in MSIES where you can review your contact information and licensure information. You can see your personal and contact information at the top of the page in the three small boxes. To update or edit any of the information all you need to do is click on the button directly below the boxes that says “Click here to edit your contact information”. The system will take you through a series of screens and allow you to make any needed changes and save them.

UPGRADE QUESTIONS:

How do I upgrade my Class 2 license to a Class 1 license?

To upgrade your Class 2 Standard teaching license to a Class 1 professional license you will need to complete the upgrade application, submit transcripts of your master’s degree, and submit verification of 3 years of teaching experience.
Follow this link for the Upgrade application.

What type of experience do I need to qualify for a Class 1 license and how do I provide proof of my experience?

To upgrade your Class 2 standard teaching license to a Class 1 license you need to provide verification of three years of teaching experience as a licensed and appropriately assigned teacher in one or more PK-12 state accredited schools. This experience must be verified by the school/schools. Teaching experience in a non-accredited private school does not meet this requirement.
Follow this link for the verification of teaching experience form.

How do I upgrade my Class 5 license?

To upgrade your class 5 license to a Class 2 standard teaching license you will need to submit an upgrade application, transcripts from your teacher preparation program, and a university recommendation verifying you have completed the program. You can upgrade your Class 5 license at any time once you have completed your teacher preparation program. If you do not complete your program within 3 years your Class 5 license will lapse and it cannot be renewed.
Follow this link for the Class 5 upgrade application.

ENDORSEMENT QUESTIONS:

How do I add an endorsement?

Your college or university must complete a university recommendation form verifying you have completed the requirements for program completion. You will need to submit a transcript (official paper or electronic) and the college or university will need to send in the signed university recommendation form.
Follow this link for the University Recommendation form.

How do I know if I qualify for the endorsement I am interested in?

To qualify for an endorsement you must have completed a teaching program in the endorsement area you are applying for. The college or university must verify you completed the requirements for program completion.

I am a working as a teacher and I want to add a new endorsement. Is there any way I can teach in the area of my new endorsement while completing the coursework I need for my program?

You can add an endorsement through an internship or with a Class 5 provisional license. An internship is an agreement between your school, the college, and yourself. The internship is granted for one year and can be offered for 2 additional years as long as you are making adequate progress towards the completion of your program. Follow this link for information on internships. A class 5 provisional license to add the endorsement would require you to work with a college to get a plan of study verifying that you meet admission requirements and can complete your endorsement program within three years. Both options allow you to teach while completing the program.
Follow this link for the Class 5 Application

For further questions please call 406-444-3150

BECOMING AN ADMINISTRATOR IN MONTANA

I am a licensed Montana teacher and am interested in getting my principal's license in Montana. What do I need to do?

To get your Class 3 Administrative license you need to have at least 3 years of verifiable teaching experience in a state accredited PK-12 school system. You will need to complete a master's degree in educational leadership from an accredited professional educator preparation program or a master’s degree related to education and completion of an accredited professional educator preparation program for principals. You will also need to complete three semester credits in Montana School Law.

I have a principal’s license in another state and want to come to Montana. I don’t have the Montana School Law class. Will I qualify for licensure?

If you meet all of the other requirements for your principal’s license and are eligible for a Class 1,2, or 5 teaching license but do not have the Montana School Law class you can apply for a Class 5 license which will allow you to work as a principal while giving you up to three years to complete the required course. School law courses that are not specific to Montana school law do not meet the requirements for licensure. Please indicate you are applying for the Class 5 license when you complete your administrative licensure application for a principal endorsement.

Can I work as a Principal or Superintendent while I earn my administrative license with the endorsement?

Yes, you can earn your Class three license with an administrative endorsement while you are working in two different ways. You can do so through an internship or with a Class 5 provisional license. An internship is an agreement between your school, the college, and yourself. The internship is granted for one year and can be offered for 2 additional years as long as you are making adequate progress towards the completion of your program. Follow this link for the application for internship for Principal. Follow this link for the application for internship as a Superintendent. A class 5 provisional license to add the endorsement would require you to work with a college to get a plan of study verifying that you meet admission requirements and can complete your program for an administrative license with a principal or superintendent’s endorsement within three years. If you choose this option you can indicate you wish to apply for the Class 5 provisional license on the administrative licensure application for a principal endorsement. Administrative licensure application for superintendent endorsement

For further questions please call 406-444-3150

RENEWAL QUESTIONS:

I need more renewal units. Where can I find information on professional development opportunities to earn renewal units?
Resources for Renewal Units:
Teacher Learning Hub
Learning Opportunities Portal
When my current teaching license expires, what are the renewal requirements?
For my Class 2 license:
60 OPI renewal units or any combination of OPI renewal units and semester/quarter college credits. Each Semester credit is worth 15 OPI renewal units and a quarter credit is worth 10 renewal units.
For my Class 1 license:
60 OPI renewal units or any combination of OPI renewal units and semester/quarter college credits. Each Semester credit is worth 15 OPI renewal units and a quarter credit is worth 10 renewal units.
For my Class 3 license:
60 OPI renewal units or any combination of OPI renewal units and semester/quarter college credits. Each Semester credit is worth 15 OPI renewal units and a quarter credit is worth 10 renewal units.
For my Class 4 License:
Class 4A licenses: 60 OPI renewal units or any combination of OPI renewal units and semester/quarter college credits. Each Semester credit is worth 15 OPI renewal units and a quarter credit is worth 10 renewal units. The first renewal must show evidence of renewal units earned in the following content areas:
  • curriculum and instruction in career and technical education; and
  • safety and teacher liability.
Class 4B or 4C licenses 60 OPI renewal units or any combination of OPI renewal units and semester/quarter college credits. Each Semester credit is worth 15 OPI renewal units and a quarter credit is worth 10 renewal units.
The first renewal must show evidence of renewal units earned in the following content areas:
  • curriculum and instruction in career and technical education; and
  • safety and teacher liability.
Other professional development appropriate to renew a Class 4B or 4C license includes the following:
  • principles and/or philosophy of career and technical education;
  • curriculum and instruction in career and technical education;
  • learning styles/teaching styles; including serving students with special needs;
  • safety and teacher liability;
  • classroom management;
  • teaching methods;
  • career guidance in career and technical education; or
  • endorsement related technical studies, with prior OPI approval.
For my Class 5 License:
Cannot be renewed. This license either expires or converts to full licensure if the requirements have been completed.
For my Class 6 License:
60 OPI renewal units or any combination of OPI renewal units semester/quarter college credits. Each Semester credit is worth 15 OPI renewal units and a quarter credit is worth 10 renewal units.
For My Class 7 License:
May be renewed upon verification by the tribe that the professional development plan, as defined by the current memorandum of understanding on file with OPI (ARM 10.57.436(5)
For My Class 8 License:
Renewal units are not required. Renewal application is located in the “Application Materials” section, under Class 8 Dual Credit Post-Secondary Faculty License application.
What is the deadline for completing my renewal requirements?

Although your license expires on June 30, you have until August 31 to complete the renewal units or coursework necessary to renew your license. Please check with your school about deadlines for providing proof of renewal of your license. If you are not teaching in a school you have up to one year to submit your renewal materials as long as the requirements were completed during the term of your licensure.

IMPORTANT! Please don’t wait until the last minute to renew your license. During the summer months our staff is very busy and it may take up to 8 weeks to process your renewal application. You can apply for renewal any time after January 1 of the year your license expires.
Click here for Online Renewal Application

How do I know college credits will be accepted for renewal from the online program I have found?

All college credits for renewal purposes must be earned from a regionally accredited college or university and must be documented on an official transcript. Credits must have been earned during the last 5 years.

I found an activity/online class/conference I would like to complete/attend but it isn’t approved for OPI renewal units.

Educators who wish to participate in professional development activities offered by providers who have not been approved as a renewal unit provider may apply for approval prior to beginning the program. Your application for pre-approval of the activity for renewal units will be evaluated individually to ensure it meets our standards for professional development. If approved, you will need to provide proof of completion of the activity to receive renewal units.
Follow this link for the Renewal Unit Pre-approval Form

I don’t live in Montana. How do I earn renewal units?

Educators licensed in Montana who are living out of state, and participate in another state’s validated professional development activities, other than college/university credit, may use these renewal unit activities when the intent and structure of the process assures the meeting or exceeding of Montana renewal unit requirements for licensure.

Also, educators who wish to participate in professional development activities offered by providers who have not been approved as a Montana renewal unit provider may apply for approval prior to beginning the program. Your application for pre-approval of the activity for renewal units will be evaluated individually to ensure it meets our standards for professional development. If approved, you will need to provide proof of completion of the activity to receive renewal units.
Follow this link for the Renewal Unit Pre-approval Form

I am not going to be able to complete my renewal requirements before August 31. What are my options now?

If you do not have the renewal units or credits necessary to renew your current license you may have a couple of options. If you have not previously held a Class 5 license you can apply for a Class 5 license which will give you three years to complete the requirements for reinstatement of your license. Along with the Class 5 application you will need to submit another fingerprint background check. The Class 5 option is only available to you once during your career.
Follow this link for the Class 5 Reinstatement Application

If you have 60 OPI renewal units but do not have the required college coursework you can apply for reinstatement of your license after June 30, 2015. To apply for reinstatement of your license you will need to send in the reinstatement application, a new fingerprint background check, and original OPI renewal unit certificates.
Follow this link for the Reinstatement Application

For further questions please call 406-444-3150

LAPSED LICENSES

My license is lapsed and I would like to teach again. How do I get licensed?

The answer to that question depends on whether you have earned at least 60 OPI renewal units within the last 5 years. Renewal units can be earned as college credits with each semester credit worth 15 OPI renewal units.

I need more renewal units. Where can I find information on professional development opportunities to earn renewal units? Resources for Renewal Units:
Teacher Learning Hub
Learning Opportunities Portal

If you have 60 OPI renewal units you can apply for reinstatement of your license. To apply for reinstatement of your license you will need to send in the reinstatement application, a new fingerprint background check, and original OPI renewal unit certificates.
Follow this link for the Reinstatement Application

If you have not completed 60 OPI renewal units in the last 5 years and have not previously held a Class 5 license you can apply for a Class 5 license. The Class 5 license will give you three years to complete the requirements for reinstatement of your license. The Class 5 option is only available to you once during your career. Along with the Class 5 application you will also need to submit a new fingerprint background check.
Follow this link for the Class 5 Reinstatement Application