North Carolina Teacher Certification: How to Become a Licensed Teacher in North Carolina
Those considering a full-time or part-time career as a certified teacher in North Carolina should know how to qualify for a state license. You will need to complete several steps, and there are a variety of ways to achieve your North Carolina teaching certification. It is vital that you be armed with comprehensive information in order to achieve success.
Requirements for certified teachers in North Carolina
To become a certified teacher in North Carolina, you need to fulfill three accomplishments:
- Complete a state-approved teacher education program
- Pass the CORE (PRAXIS Core Academic Skills for Educators)
- Pass any PRAXIS II Subject Tests for subjects you plan to teach
These exams will test your basic knowledge as well as specialized knowledge for your field of study such as chemistry, mathematics or history, if applicable. You may be able to waive the CORE requirement if your SAT score is at least 1100 or if you have received a composite ACT score of at least 24.
Additionally, if you plan to teach elementary education (K-6), you will need to take the Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum tests from the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) program.
Once you have completed the necessary requirements, you need to contact the North Carolina Department of Education to apply for teacher certification. You can download all necessary forms here. You will need to include official transcripts of the certifications, degrees, and college credits as well as your test scores and any out-of-state teaching licenses. You must also submit your fingerprints and pass a criminal background check.
Once you’ve finished the application, send everything (including a processing fee) to the Department of Public Instruction, located in the capital Raleigh, NC.
North Carolina jobs for licensed teachers
When it comes to getting your teaching certification in North Carolina, there are three general paths depending on your education and work experience.
- You can get the SP1 license if you have 0-2 years of experience in the teaching field but a certification/degree in education.
- You qualify for the SP2 license if you have three or more years of experience.
- You can apply for a Lateral Entry license if you have experience in a related field or college course credits with an emphasis in education. For this license, you must pass both a relevant PRAXIS II exam and the Pearson Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum test.
The SP1 and Lateral Entry licenses last for three years, while the SP2 license lasts for five years before needing to be renewed. Renewal requires a number of continuing education credits.
You can leverage your teaching degree and license credentials to seek a wide variety of jobs in North Carolina. Some of these include:
- Elementary education
- Middle/High School education
- Adult education
- Special education
- Teaching assistant/aide
- Substitute teaching
- Career/Technical education
- Youth counseling
The outlook for teaching jobs in North Carolina is very good, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Due to an aging teaching population and a growing school network, positions for teachers are expected to open up over the next decade. Visit the North Carolina Association of Educators for more information regarding teaching jobs and education policy.
If you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for North Carolina for the 2015-2016 school year:
- Mathematics (Grades 6 – 8 and Grades 9 – 12)
- Science (Grades 9 – 12)
- Special Education: Adapted Curriculum and General Curriculum
A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.
Teaching license reciprocity in North Carolina
North Carolina is unique in that it provides a direct route for qualified out-of-state teachers to obtain an SP2 license. Teachers must meet the N.C. State Board of Education approved licensure exam requirements, or have National Board Certification. In addition, teachers must present their out-of-state teaching license, test scores and verification of experience.
The reciprocity process varies for each state. For more information, see Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.
Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.
- North Carolina Board of Education
- North Carolina Association of Educators
- Bureau of Labor Statistics – North Carolina
- PRAXIS Exams in North Carolina