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English Teaching

The English Education program at Boise State University offers:

  • An undergraduate major in English teaching whose completion results in Idaho teaching certification in English language arts for grades 6-12.  For information and advice regarding the Undergraduate English Teaching Program, requirements, course recommendations, entrance requirements, and teaching blocks including student teaching, click on: “Undergraduate Majors” in the navigation column.
  • Pathways for students who already have a Bachelor’s degree to earn Idaho teaching certification in English language arts for grades 6-12.  For information and advice regarding Post-Baccalaureate certification requirements, course recommendations, entrance requirements, and the teaching blocks including student teaching, click on: “Post-Baccalaureate Certification” in the navigation column.
  • A Master’s degree for practicing teachers who wish to learn more about effective literacy teaching in grades K-13.  For information and advice regarding the Masters in Teaching English Language Arts degree program, click on: “Masters in TELA” in the navigation column.
  • The Boise State Writing Project, an affiliate site of the National Writing Project, for teachers of any subject or grade level who are interested in effective teaching of writing and literacy.  For more information about the Boise State Writing Project, visit the Project website (

The Boise State University English Education program is housed in the Department of English, Liberal Arts Building room 230.

On this page you can read:

  • About Teaching Certification in English
  • Questions and Answers about English Teaching
  • Information for English Teaching Students
  • English Education Faculty

About Teaching Certification in English

The English Teaching emphasis of the English major Bachelor’s degree is intended to prepare students to teach secondary school English language arts, grades 6 – 12. Students who complete university requirements for English teaching also complete state requirements for an Idaho teaching certificate. A teaching certificate allows you to teach in public secondary schools in Idaho, and a teaching certificate from Idaho will often transfer to other states.

You may earn Idaho teaching certification in English either by meeting the undergraduate English Teaching emphasis degree requirements, or by enrolling in BSU after earning a Bachelor’s degree in English at an accredited college or university and completing teaching certification requirements. If you have a bachelor’s degree in another subject besides English but wish English to be your main teaching subject, you may also earn an English teaching certificate but you are likely to need to take additional English courses. (The state requires at least 45 English credits.)

Questions and Answers About Certification

Q: Does an Idaho state teaching certificate guarantee me a teaching job?
A: No, but it does qualify you to apply for and hold teaching positions in public secondary schools.

Q: If I want to teach in a private school, do I need a teaching certificate?
A: Probably not. Most private schools do not require you to hold a state teaching certificate, although your preparation to teach your subject(s) might be a factor in that school’s hiring and accreditation. (Private schools generally pay less than public schools.) Charter Schools, however, DO require state teaching certification because technically they are still public schools.

Q: What if I want to teach in grades lower than grade 6?
A: You should be in Elementary Education.

Q: What if I want to teach college English?
A: You do not need a teaching certificate, but you will probably need a doctoral degree in English. (Community Colleges sometimes hire teachers with Masters degrees, but that is less common where candidates with Ph.D.’s are available.)

Q: Can I teach secondary school English if I earn a minor instead of a major in English?
A: Yes, if you have earned a minor teaching “endorsement” or teaching certificate in English, you may be hired to teach it–provided you have a major teaching certificate in another subject and you have passed the Praxis II in English with a score of at least 158. Click on “Minor Teaching Endorsements” in the navigation column for more information.

Q: Can I be a teacher if I have broken the law?
A: It depends. When you apply to go out in the schools for block I, one line on the application form asks: “Have you ever been adjudicated guilty in a court of law of an offense other than a minor traffic violation?” This rule, like the fingerprint check required by the state at the time of certification, is to ensure that people who could be a danger to children and schools do not become teachers. If you have been found guilty, set up an appointment with the Director of Teacher Education in the College of Education. (Currently that is Dr. Ken Coll.) Your conference may begin an appeal process by which you can explain your circumstances. If your appeal is successful, you would be allowed to proceed towards certification.


Advising Tips:
For questions about English courses or the English degree, see your regular advisor. To be assigned an English advisor, contact the English Department Advisors at:

For questions about English Teaching or Education requirements that your regular advisor may not know, email Dr. Bruce Robbins at:

Applications for teaching Block I are due early in the semester before you want to begin your Block I internship, so plan ahead. Applications for Fall semesters are due by the first Friday in February the year before; applications for Spring semesters are due by the first Friday in September.  Find the online applications at:  .  In English Teaching, admission interviews begin with a group interview and may be followed up with individual conferences.

Finish most of your upper-division English/linguistics electives (18 credits) before entering the teaching blocks.  Most students have room for only 2-3 more English courses after they begin the blocks, which are the last three semesters of the undergraduate degree in English teaching.

ENGL 301 Teaching Writing, and 481 Lit for Jr. and Sr. High are co-requisites. Take them together in the same semester, preferably during your Block I semester and definitely before Block II.

Comprehensive Literacy: The state requires language arts teachers K-8 to complete the Comprehensive Literacy course (at BSU it is ED-LTCY 340). If you know that you want to teach high school, it’s not required. If you’re not sure, or you know you want to teach in the middle grades (6-8), you should take the course.  Because Comprehensive Literacy is not required for 6-12 certification, you can take it after you have been hired in a middle school or junior high. But if you can take it now, you will have it done.




English Education Faculty, Boise State University:

Jim Fredricksen
GW, Room 203 in the Old Gateway Center (on the corner of Chrisway and University, 1055 University Drive)

Bruce Robbins
LA 211 F; 208-426-3036

Jeffrey Wilhelm
Room 203 in the Old Gateway Center (on the corner of Chrisway and University, 1055 University Drive)

(All three English Education faculty members are experienced secondary school teachers of English with doctorates in the teaching of English language arts.)


Helpful Websites:

National Council of Teachers of English:

BSU Office of Teacher Education:

Idaho State Department of Education: