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What Is the Average Teacher Salary in Montana?

As an educator, you will want to determine the average teacher salary before taking a job in another state. This information comes in handy when negotiating salaries and narrowing down the best employer. Whether you’re moving to Montana as a teacher or a local applying for teaching jobs, you should know the average teacher salary in Montana.

Montana is primarily known for its natural and mineral resources like gold and copper. Although there are no highlights regarding the education system, the state employs over 10,000 public school teachers and more in private schools. You can work in one of the school districts, teaching kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and high school students.

There are many job openings for teachers in Montana. This article explores salaries for different teaching roles and the requirements to become a teacher in Montana.

What Is the Average Teacher Salary in Montana?

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The average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools is $52,894, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This salary increases annually, but based on NCES data, Montana teachers are well compensated compared to other states. An article by Montana Free Press suggests that Montana lawmakers have plans to increase public school teacher salaries in 2022 significantly.

Private school teachers have the potential to earn more than public school teachers. However, information on private school teacher salaries is scarce, but ZipRecruiter places the annual average salary at $46,165, which can range up to $89,185 annually. The salaries may vary depending on the employer and school level.

What Is the Average Salary of a Teacher in the United States?

The average annual salary of a teacher in the United States is $65,090. Kindergarten and elementary school teachers earn a median wage of $61,350 per year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Elementary school teacher salaries average $60,940 annually. The annual salaries vary between public and private schools, ranging between $62,050 for the former and $50,050 for the latter.

Middle school teacher salaries average $60,810 per year and can increase to $98,840, depending on several factors. BLS also states that the average base salary for high school teachers in the United States is $61,820 per year. Last, special needs teachers are in a different category because of the specialized nature of the job. BLS places the national average for special needs educators at $61,820 per year.

Average Teacher Salary in Montana: K—12

Level Number Employed in Montana Average Salary in Montana Average Salary in the United States
Kindergarten Teachers 530 $46,020 $57,860
Elementary School Teachers 4,650 $54,970 $60,940*
Middle School Teachers 2,230 $57,560 $60,810
High School Teachers 4,420 $53,660 $62,870

Basic Requirements to Become a Teacher in Montana: K—12

  • Have a college degree. To become a K-12 teacher in Montana, you must have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Education or a relevant field. You must also add an endorsement that demonstrates your experience in early childhood, elementary, middle school, or high school education. You will earn the endorsement by completing the specified coursework. High school teachers can gain an advantage by presenting a master’s degree.
  • Complete a teacher preparation program. Another mandatory requirement to become a teacher in Montana is the teacher preparation program from an accredited institution. This program features an extensive curriculum and fieldwork, including student teaching, observations, or an internship. You can access various educator preparation programs on the Montana Office of Public Instruction’s website.
  • Earn your teacher license. All teachers need licensing through a detailed certification process. You will complete a background check, verify your teaching experience, complete the certification test, and pay the fee. You can earn a C2 Standard Educator License or the C1 Professional Teaching License.

How to Become a Kindergarten Teacher in Montana

You can become a kindergarten teacher by studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. However, you can still land an entry-level role with an associate degree in the same field. You will also need teaching certification or licensing from the state government. The certifications range from Class 1 to Class 7, accommodating all applicants. Kindergarten teachers play an integral role in early childhood education. 

How to Become an Elementary School Teacher in Montana

To become an elementary school teacher, you need a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. You must complete the teacher training program and complete a background check for certification. Elementary school education begins at around five years and ends at 11 to 13 years. Elementary school teachers are still a critical part of shaping the students’ early development. 

How to Become a Middle School Teacher in Montana

To become a middle school teacher, you need at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Education or a relevant field. You will also pursue teaching experience through an internship and meet Montana’s licensing requirements. Montana is home to several middle schools spread across different school districts. Therefore, you must also take time to research teacher recruitment opportunities that match your qualifications.

How to Become a High School Teacher in Montana

To become a high school teacher in Montana, you must have a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Education. Montana high schools require experienced teachers, which means you must also submit a Class 1 certification and show proof of three years of experience in K-12 teaching. Other requirements are similar to the school levels above.

High school teachers are at the top of the education system’s hierarchy for students before transitioning to postsecondary education. They offer career advice to help students with their career options and groom them to become accomplished adults. 

Average Teacher Salary in Montana: Other Types of Teachers

Type Number Employed in Montana Average Salary in Montana Average Salary in the United States
Preschool Teachers 1,270 $31,640 $30,210
Career and Technical Education Teachers 220 $53,240 $61,160
Adult Basic Education Teachers 260 $52,430 $59,720
Substitute Teachers 980 $24,480 $30,100

Requirements to Become a Teacher in Montana: Preschool

  • Have a bachelor’s degree. Montana’s education system requires all teachers to have a bachelor’s degree in their area of expertise. A Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education is needed for preschool teachers. However, some schools employ applicants with a high school diploma or an associate degree in the same field.
  • Get a teacher license. Licensing and certification are also crucial across the board for teachers in Montana. You will complete the Praxis Early Childhood Education exam, which tests your skills and preparedness to handle preschool students.
  • Take a free exam. You will also take a free online course, An Introduction to Indian Education for All. The course aims to instill cultural awareness and encourage teachers to learn about the distinctive culture and traditions of American Indians.

Requirements to Become a Teacher in Montana: Career and Technical Education

  • Training. You don’t need a college education to become a CTE teacher in Montana. However, you must have a career or technical experience in education. You can attend a trade school, coding bootcamps, and other career and technical education pathways to gain essential career and technical education skills.
  • Experience. Career and technical education teaching applicants must show proof of substantial work experience within their area of expertise. Therefore, you can pursue internships and entry-level employment after training to gain experience. In fact, you can apply for teaching assistant roles in various CTE schools where you will observe and shadow the teacher.
  • Certification. CTE teachers need at least a Class 4 certification to work in Montana. To pursue this certification, you must demonstrate 10,000 hours (approximately a year and a half) of work experience in your field. However, applicants with a college degree or higher certification may get certified with partial experience.

Requirements to Become a Teacher in Montana: Adult Basic Education

  • Interpersonal skills. Adult basic education teachers deal with adult students and should have great interpersonal skills. Employers look for an approachable attitude, knowledge in your career field, and love for the job. You must also exude leadership, empathy, and excellent communication skills.
  • Higher education qualification. A master’s degree is the most desired education level for adult basic education teachers. However, you can still apply for education jobs with a bachelor’s degree. The best degree majors for these teachers include perspectives of adult learning, distance learning for adults, adult literacy, and teaching math to adults.
  • Adult basic education experience. After graduation, if you gain three to five years of work experience, it is enough to separate you from other applicants. You should also prepare documents showcasing your work, including portfolios, published books, and websites.

Requirements to Become a Substitute Teacher in Montana

  • High school diploma. Substitute teacher requirements in Montana vary depending on the school district. However, most schools require a minimum of a high school diploma to qualify. You can start applying for jobs in your senior year of high school or after graduation. This is also an amazing strategy to gain work experience and prepare for college.
  • Certification. It is possible to work as a non-licensed substitute teacher in Montana. However, pursuing a C1, C2, or C5 certification solidifies your proficiency as a substitute teacher.
  • Teacher training. Aspiring substitute teachers must complete at least three hours of training to qualify. The training is different for every school district, but the programs maintain Montana education standards.

Average Teacher Salary in Montana: Special Education

Special Education Level Number Employed in Montana Average Salary in Montana Average Salary in the United States
Preschool 50 $57,750 $61,400
Kindergarten and Elementary 460 $57,330 $60,620
Middle School 280 $60,840 $61,820
High School 430 $61,820 $62,320

Requirements to Become a Teacher in Montana: Special Education

  • Knowledge of Montana’s special needs policies. Although Montana has fewer people with special needs than the national average, the state has effective policies to cater to special needs. Therefore, as a special education teacher, you must understand Montana’s administrative rules and regulations in special education.
  • Special education degree. You need a specialized degree in education, which majors in special education. Most schools prioritize applicants with a master’s degree. You can earn your degree at the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education & Human Sciences at the University of Montana. The first coursework at the college offers an additional endorsement and license in special education.
  • Special education teacher license. You must be licensed to work in special education. You must pursue a teacher preparation program at an OPI-approved school where you will earn a C1 or C2 certification. Remember, licensing requirements differ depending on the level and in-state or out-of-state education qualifications. Check the official website for more information.

Is a Teacher’s Salary in Montana Worth My Time and Money?

Yes. According to NCES statistics, Montana educator salaries are worth your time and money as they are among the best in the country. You can earn over $60,000 annually, depending on your teaching role, school district, and employer. The cost of living should also convince you to pursue teaching jobs in Montana. Unlike in other states, rent and food are cheaper, and there are affordable outdoor activities.

You can save more while living in Montana, and apart from salary satisfaction, you will also receive employee benefits and perks. Common benefits include health insurance, tuition reimbursement, flexible spending account,  life insurance, and retirement benefits.

Teacher Salary in Montana FAQ

Why should I pursue a teaching job in Montana?

You should pursue a teaching job in Montana because school districts have year-round job openings for teachers, and you can earn a good average salary in Montana. This will give you job security. In addition, Montana is one of the most beautiful states in the United States. Locals enjoy scenic views from incredible mountains, rivers, and historical sites. Apart from teaching, you have access to a list of outdoor activities and tourist sites.

Which is the best school for teachers in Montana?

The best school for teachers in Montana is the Yellowstone Academy Elementary School. However, Montana is home to many amazing school districts that host schools like Sheridan Elementary School, Columbia Falls High School, Riverstone International School, Lustre Christian High School, and Fort Benton Elementary School.

Apart from competitive salaries, what other benefits do Montana teachers enjoy?

Apart from competitive salaries, Montana teachers enjoy benefits like life insurance, health insurance, dental and vision insurance, a retirement plan, tuition reimbursement, relocation assistance, and vacation days. However, the benefits may vary for public and private school teachers, school district offerings, and employers. Moreover, if a teacher decides to enhance their skills, they can access higher education programs at some of Montana’s best universities.

Why are certification and licensing essential for teachers in Montana?

Certification and licensing are crucial for teachers in Montana because they prove that you are a qualified teacher and fit to teach at the specified school level. Montana teachers can pursue C1 to C7 certifications with different requirements like education credits, work experience, or training. You may be required to renew some of the certifications after some time.

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