Teacher Professional Development in Kentucky

Main Teacher Certification Renewal website:

Form for Certification Renewal:

The Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) is responsible for issuing and renewing certificates for all Kentucky teachers and administrators. Staff works closely with local school districts in the hiring process to ensure a properly credentialed educator in every professional position in Kentucky schools. Staff also works with Kentucky colleges and universities, out-of-state institutions, and national evaluation agencies.

Link to Kentucky Teacher Standards Rubric:

Kentucky Teaching Certificates
Kentucky certification is based upon the completion of a 4-year teacher preparation program that includes student teaching and testing when applicable. Kentucky requires a recommendation from the certification official at the college/university (where the applicant completed his/her initial teacher preparation program, student teaching) regarding the specific teacher preparation program completed, grade level, and at what degree level and completion date of the program.

Base Teaching Certificate
Kentucky music teachers receive an Elementary/Middle/Secondary School (Primary through Grade 12) certificate - Preparation includes one or more of the following specializations: art, foreign language, health, physical education, integrated music, vocal music, instrumental music or school media librarian

Alternative Licensure
The Kentucky General Assembly has enacted alternative routes to teacher and administrator certification for persons who have demonstrated exceptional work and/or educational experiences. The Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) is the state agency that establishes standards and procedures for the alternative route options. The EPSB provides technical assistance to qualifying individuals who have potential as educators in Kentucky schools, to local boards of education, and to institutions of higher education in implementing these options.

Links to Alternative Licensure Options:

Certificate renewal
In 1985, Kentucky stopped issuing lifetime teaching certificates and now requires teachers to renew all teaching certificates every five years. Maintaining certification requires on-going professional development and contributes to rank changes with salary increases.

Current Certificate Renewal Process
Kentucky teaching certificates now require renewal every five years:
1. First 5-year renewal requires 15 graduate credit hours or Phase I of the Continuing Education Option (now on hold for revision)
2. Second 5-year renewal requires completion of an approved Master’s degree or an approved fifth year degree (32 graduate credit hours) or completion of CEO requirements.
3. Subsequent 5-year renewals require three hears of classroom teaching during the last 5-year period of the certificate OR six semester hours of additional graduate credit.

Continuing Education Options (CEO) Now on Hold for Revision:
In order to make program improvements, the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) suspended enrollment in the Continuing Education Option (CEO) program for rank change and/or certificate renewal on November 19, 2007. Anyone who attended a face-to-face orientation or completed the online orientation prior to November 19th will be allowed to begin a cohort. The cohort must begin no later than January 2008 and each candidate must complete the program no later than January 2012.

EPSB appointed a CEO Task Force to review the CEO program and make recommendations to the Board regarding changes. It is anticipated that the program will become available as soon as appropriate changes can be made. Kentucky's state legislators and educators developed the Continuing Education Option (CEO) for rank change and certificate renewal as an alternative to a planned fifth-year program college course of studies. The initiative that resulted from House Bill 305 is structured to link teacher professional growth with positive, measurable improvement in student learning. Built around the Kentucky Experienced Teacher Standards adopted by the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB), the CEO requires candidates to submit an independent professional growth plan based on the needs of the teacher, the students, and the school. The professional growth plan is a unique independent study that may include graduate level classes, professional development experiences, research, reading, and shadowing other professionals. Candidates create job-embedded CEO plans based on the needs of their schools, districts, and communities. Each candidate is required to create a portfolio representing successful completion of his or her plan. Although the CEO is an independent study, throughout the process candidates receive support through online resources and by participating in face-to-face regional monthly cohort meetings offered across the state. Cohorts are supported by experienced educational professionals (coaches) for the first 18 months in a blended learning environment integrating traditional learning with technology to provide a technology enhanced independent learning experience.

Rank Changes for Salary
Kentucky has three salary ranks for establishing teacher pay. Levels are based on teacher professional development.
Rank I Options (highest)

  • Thirty (30) semester hours of approved graduate credit in addition to Rank II;
  • Sixty (60) semester hours of approved graduate credit including a master's degree;
  • National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Certification; or the Kentucky Continuing Education Option

Rank II Options

  • Master's degree to: enhance the professional competency of the initial teaching certification; add a certification area not covered by the initial certificate; or advance professionally to a higher position
  • A thirty two (32) semester-hour non-degree Education Planned Fifth-Year Program (graduate level); or the Kentucky Continuing Education Option

Rank III (initial, lowest)

  • Bachelor's degree leading to a teaching certificate

Candidates will need the following:

  • A completed TC-1 application form:
  • A $50 money order or certified check made payable to the "Kentucky State Treasurer" or applicants may also use EPSB "E-Pay" online payment service to pay certification fees once the completed application has been mailed.
  • OFFICIAL college transcripts of the rank change, and
  • Section IV of the TC-1, which must be signed off by the certification officer at the institution where you completed the rank change
  • Return the above to the following address:

Division of Certification
Education Professional Standards Board
100 Airport Road, 3rd Floor
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Note on Out-Of-State Online Professional Development
Any out of state online coursework must meet the following requirements:
In general, educators considering out-of-state online programs should be aware of some key EPSB requirements and regulations, and understand that it is the educator's responsibility to verify that these requirements are met . These requirements changed via state regulation (16 KAR 5:010, Section 28) on February 1, 2008. Kentucky educators must be aware of these requirements, whether or not the educator is interested in such programs for rank change or for a new area of certification (the latter includes ANY initial certificate, new addition/area to an existing certificate, or endorsement to an existing certificate.)

Below is the relevant excerpt from 16 KAR 5:010, which governs the use of out-of-state, on-line programs by Kentucky educators to receive a rank change or to add any area of certification to their existing educator certification.

16 KAR 5:010, Section 28

(2)(a) Until May 31, 2008, initial and continuing on-line educator preparation programs shall be regionally or nationally accredited and accredited or approved, as applicable, by the program's state of origin.

(b) Beginning June 1, 2008, initial and continuing on-line educator preparation programs originating from outside Kentucky shall be regionally accredited, accredited or approved, as applicable, by the program's state of origin, and accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

NOTE: This revised regulation DOES ALLOW educators who began a program (have evidence of completed coursework via official transcript) prior to June 1, 2008, to complete this program and have it honored under the provisions of the prior regulation. The prior regulation DID NOT require NCATE accreditation.

Rank Change With Out-Of-State Coursework:
New or Additional Certification
Kentucky educators should be particularly careful if attempting to obtain either initial Kentucky teaching or administrative certification or additions/endorsements to an existing Kentucky certificate via an out-of-state online program. EPSB regulations require that any program for initial certifications or endorsement of any kind must be approved for the particular certification in the state of origin. This is important because it means that the Kentucky educator is, in fact, obtaining the certification in another state, then transferring the certification to Kentucky.

With this caveat in mind, any new or additional certification programs must meet the following standards:
• the program must be approved in the state of origin for the certification area that will be requested in Kentucky;
• the program must be regionally accredited* as well as NCATE accredited;
• the certification area and/or grade range must be compatible with Kentucky certificates;
• the completion of the program must be accompanied by the successful completion of assessments required in Kentucky before certification may be granted; and
• the university must be prepared to make a recommendation via the TC-1 form upon the educator's completion of the program.

*Regional accreditation associations are the following Associations of Colleges and Schools: Middle States, New England, North Central, Northwest, Southern, & Western.

All information included herein was obtained from the following website, accessed June 3, 2009:

For further information, please contact the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board:

EPSB Division of Certification
100 Airport Road, 3rd Floor
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Phone: (502) 564-4606
Fax: (502) 564-7092
Toll Free: (888) 598-7667

Page content compiled by Lorie Enloe