Part Time Teaching Licenses: Kentucky

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy


The state should offer a license with minimal requirements that allows content experts to teach part time.

Nearly meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Part Time Teaching Licenses: Kentucky results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Kentucky's policies

Kentucky offers the Adjunct Instructor certificate as a part-time license.

Candidates in the Adjunct Instructor Certification program must have either a bachelor's or master's degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5, or 3.0 in the last 60 hours of coursework. Elementary applicants must have at least a minor in child development or a related area. Secondary applicants must have a major in their intended teaching field. Candidates are not required to pass a subject-matter exam.

The employing district must provide an orientation program for the adjunct instructor that provides information about student safety, policies and procedures and pedagogical assistance.


Recommendations for Kentucky

Require applicants to pass a subject-matter test.
Kentucky should consider requiring all applicants to pass a content knowledge test. Applicants for the Adjunct Instructor certificate should be experts in the area they plan to teach and therefore should be able to demonstrate such on an exam. Even with a minimum GPA and major requirement, it is unlikely that a bachelor's degree is sufficient evidence of expertise in a field. A subject-matter exam serves as an important safeguard; teachers without sufficient content knowledge place students at risk.

State response to our analysis

Kentucky recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

The origin of this goal is the effort to find creative solutions to the STEM crisis. While teaching waivers are not typically used this way, teaching waivers could be used to allow competent professionals from outside of education to be hired as part-time instructors to teach courses such as Advanced Placement chemistry or calculus as long as the instructor demonstrates content knowledge on a rigorous test. See NCTQ, "Tackling the STEM Crisis" at:

For the importance of teachers' general academic ability, see R. Ferguson, "Paying for Public Education: New Evidence on How and Why Money Matters," Harvard Journal on Legislation 28 (1991), 465-498.

For more on math and science content knowledge, see D. Monk and J.R. King, "Subject Area Preparation of Secondary Mathematics and Science Teachers and Student Achievement," Economics of Education Review 12, no. 2 (1994), 125-145; R. Murnane, "Understanding the Sources of Teaching Competence: Choices, Skills, and the Limits of Training," Teachers College Record 84, no. 3 (1983)