Montana teacher licenses decline 9% in past 5 years

The total number of teaching licenses issued in Montana has decreased by 9% in the last five years, according to the 2022 teacher licensure report from the Office of Public Instruction.

In that time, the amount of new licenses issued decreased by 21% and the number of educators who have maintained their licenses shrunk by about 7%, Montana Superintendent Elsie Arntzen’s office stated. Emergency authorizations, which allow people who are not currently qualified educators to fill vacant positions, grew by 42% from 2018 and peaked with 173 emergency licenses in 2021.

Teachers must renew their licenses every five years in Montana. Emergency licenses expire after one year. 

The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in December, the slowest monthly job growth of the year but still beating expectations. Unemployment dropped to 3.5%.

As superintendent, Arntzen pushed for flexibility with teacher licensing rules in hopes of alleviating ongoing teacher shortages across the state. Some of those changes now allow teachers with standard, unrestricted, out-of-state licenses with two years of experience to teach in Montana without providing their Praxis exam score, college GPA or student-teaching portfolio.

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