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Become a Teacher
in North Carolina
North Carolina Teacher Certification



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To become a certified teacher in North Carolina, you will need to fulfill all prerequisite coursework, teacher preparation, and testing requirements.

Our goal is to make this process as easy as possible, and we are dedicated to updating the site with new information on a regular basis. To stay up-to-date with the latest in teacher certification, please complete the form in the right sidebar.

Certification Requirements

All beginning, out-of-state and international teacher candidates must apply for their North Carolina Professional Educator’s License. North Carolina Public Schools (NCPS) offer Standard Professional 1 (SP1) and Standard Professional 2 (SP2) Licensure options.

SP2 License

  • Available to teachers with three (3) or more years of teaching experience
  • Valid for five (5) years
  • Intended for teachers who are fully licensed and meet NCLB’s “Highly Qualified” requirements in another state and meet NC’s Praxis requirements or have National Board Certification

SP1 License

  • Available to teachers with 0-2 years teaching experience
  • Valid for three (3) yearsApplicant must complete state-approved teacher education program or approved alternative route to license
  • Applicants who complete alternative licensure must meet NCLB’s “highly qualified” requirements and hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution

North Carolina Teacher Prerequisite Coursework

All states require that certified teachers at a minimum have a Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, some states have undergraduate credit hour requirements for certification in specialty areas. Here are North Carolina’s undergraduate prerequisites for some of the most popular specialty areas:

  • Elementary Education: Permanent Standard certification requires 30 credits in-discipline, including 12 credits in advanced study.
  • Secondary English/Language Arts: Permanent Standard certification requires 30 credits in-discipline, including 12 credits in advanced study.
  • Secondary Mathematics:Permanent Standard certification requires 30 credits in-discipline, including 12 credits in advanced study.
  • Secondary History/Social Science:Permanent Standard certification requires 30 credits in-discipline, including 12 credits in advanced study.
  • Secondary Science: Permanent Standard certification requires 30 credits in-discipline, including 12 credits in advanced study.

North Carolina Teacher Preparation

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction requires teachers to either complete a state-approved teacher education program from a regionally accredited college or university, or the state-approved alternate route, in order to obtain a three-year Standard Professional 1 License.

Alternative Certification

Graduates of accredited colleges or universities whose bachelor’s degree was not in education, and who have not yet earned a traditional teaching certificate, can still receive an alternative teaching certificate by satisfying certain requirements. Click here to find out more about North Carolina Alternative Certification programs.

Typically teacher education programs consist of a combination of curricula and fieldwork. The curricula often includes instruction on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (or the art and science of teaching), and preparing students to research, design and implement learning experiences in their field of study. The fieldwork component can include field observations, student teaching, and an internship. While the involvement in an education program may seem financially daunting, a number of financial resources specifically for teachers exist around the country. For more information on this, visit our page on scholarships for teachers. For more scholarships for teachers specific to the State of North Carolina, visit our North Carolina Teacher Scholarships page.

North Carolina Required Tests

In order to obtain your North Carolina state teacher certification, all applicants must complete and pass the appropriate Praxis exams required for initial licensure. All applicants, regardless of area of certification, must pass all three Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (CORE) tests as well as all content tests required for their certification area(s).

Praxis™ CORE

Qualifying Score

Required Test(s)

Certification

156
162
150

CORE: Reading
CORE: Writing
CORE: Mathematics

Required for all K-12 areas of certification


Praxis II® Content Area Assessment

Qualifying Score

Required Test(s)

Certification

No Test Required

Birth-Kindergarten

161

Elementary Education: Instructional Practice & Applications

Elementary Education

164
165
134

Middle School English Language Arts
Middle School Mathematics
Middle School Science

Middle School Education
Language Arts
Mathematics
Science

149

Middle School Social Studies

Social Studies


Secondary Education

All applicants pursuing their Secondary Education Certification are required to take any content assessments as well as the Principles of Learning & Teaching (PLT) 7-12 test.

Qualifying Score

Required Test(s)

Certification

158
157

Social Studies: Content Knowledge
PLT: Grades 7-12

Anthropology
Economics
Geography
History
Political Science
Social Studies
Sociology

150
157

Biology: Content Knowledge
PLT: Grades 7-12

Biology

152
157

Chemistry: Content Knowledge
PLT: Grades 7-12

Chemistry

136

Earth & Space Sciences: Content Knowledge

Earth Science

167
157

English Language Arts: Content Knowledge
PLT: Grades 7-12

English

160
157

Mathematics: Content Knowledge
PLT: Grades 7-12

Mathematics

133

Physics: Content Knowledge

Physics

151
157

General Science: Content Knowledge
PLT: Grades 7-12

Science (Comprehensive)


Special Education

Qualifying Score

Required Test(s)

Certification

158
148

Special Ed.: Core Knowledge & Severe to Profound Applications
Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge

Adapted Curriculum

154
148

Special Ed.: Teaching Students with Behavioral
Disorders/Emotional Disturbances
Fundamental Subjects: Core Knowledge

Behaviorally / Emotionally
Disabled

141
148/p>

Special Ed.: Core Knowledge & Applications
Fundamental Subjects: Core Knowledge

Cross Categorical

158
148

Special Ed.: Core Knowledge & Mild to Moderate Applications
Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge

General Curriculum

144
148

Special Ed.: Teaching Students with Mental Retardation
Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge

Mentally Disabled

144

Special Ed.: Teaching Students with Mental Retardation

Severely Profoundly

148

Fundamental Subjects: Content Knowledge

Mentally Disabled

163

Special Ed.: Teaching Students with Visual Impairments

Visually Impaired

Visit North Carolina’s Praxis Requirements for a complete list of available assessments

North Carolina Certification Reciprocity

North Carolina will accept some teaching credentials from the following states. Contact the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to inquire about your specific situation. Please see our interstate reciprocity disclaimer for more information.

Alabama

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Illinois

Indiana

Kansas

Louisiana

Maine

Massachusetts

Michigan

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

North Carolina Teacher Salary

  • Incentives to teach in high-needs schools or shortage subject areas: North Carolina provides differential pay support for teachers teaching in high needs schools
  • Policies in place that articulate elements of effective induction: North Carolina has strong induction policies in place
  • Average Elementary Teacher Salary: The average elementary school teacher in North Carolina makes $43,200
  • Average Secondary Teacher Salary: The average secondary teacher in North Carolina makes $44,730
  • Teacher Salary vs. State Average Salary: The average teacher in North Carolina makes 121% of the salary of the average worker in North Carolina
  • Number of Vacation Weeks Per Year: The average teacher in North Carolina receives 15 weeks of vacation per year

Applying for Certification

The following steps prepare you to apply for your North Carolina Professional Educator’s License:

  1. Application: Complete NP Professional Educator’s License Application
  2. Education Verification: Provide license from another state or proof of completion of Teacher Education program [form]
  3. Transcripts: Submit any and all original degree-dated transcripts and coursework information from each of your degrees from an accredited institution
  4. Test Scores: Submit Praxis test scores and/or Verification of “Highly Qualified” Status [form]
  5. Teaching Experience: Verification of K-12 Teaching Experience [form] for applicants with prior teaching experience or Verification of College Educator Experience [form]
  6. International Experience: Applicants who have earned a degree from outside the United States must submit an evaluation from an international education evaluation service

Background Check

NCDPI does not require applicants to submit a fingerprint clearance to obtain their teaching license. However, individual school districts may require a state and federal background check as part of their hiring process. Contact your local school district for additional information.

North Carolina Substitute Teacher Requirements

Please click here to learn more about how to become a substitute teacher in North Carolina.

Contact Information

      North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Licensure Section

      6365 Mail Service Center

      Raleigh, North Carolina 27699

      919-807-3310Contact

Additional links