Licensure Frequently Asked Questions
Certification or Licensure?
In July 1995, the state of North Carolina adopted a name change from certification to licensure. A certificate is now called a license. Formally, it is called a North Carolina Professional Educator’s License.
Who needs a Professional Educator's License in North Carolina?
All instructional professional employees of public schools must hold a professional educator's license for the subject or grade level they teach or for the professional education assignment that they hold. For steps to obtaining a professional educator’s license, visit http://www.ncpublicschools.org/licensure/steps.
In what areas are NC Professional Educator's Licenses issued?
Professional educator's licenses are issued in administrative, supervisory, student service and teaching areas. These areas encompass birth through kindergarten, elementary (K-6), middle grades (6-9), secondary grades (9-12), special subjects (K-12), i.e. music, art, PE, etc., exceptional children (K-12) and career and technical education.
How do I qualify for a North Carolina Professional Educator's License?
The standard basis for a professional educator's licensure is the completion of a state approved education program at a regionally accredited college or university or the completion of another state's approved alternative route to professional educator's licensure, met the federal requirements to be designated as "Highly Qualified" and earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college.
Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Professional Educator's Licenses...
...are intended for teachers with 0-2 years of teaching experience, and are valid for three years. To be issued a SP1 Professional Educator's License, an individual must have:
completed a state approved teacher education program from a regionally accredited college or university, or
completed another state's approved alternative route to licensure, met the federal requirements to be designated as "Highly Qualified," and earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college.
a. Praxis II Testing - for middle grades (6-9), secondary (9-12), K-12 (except Exceptional Children: General Curriculum) license areas.
b. Pearson Test for North Carolina: Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum (effective October 1, 2014) - for Elementary Education and Exceptional Children: General Curriculum licenses only.
Standard Professional 2 (SP2) Professional Educator's Licenses...
...are intended for teachers with 3 or more years of teaching experience, and are valid for five years. Teachers who are fully licensed and "Highly Qualified" in another state who have three or more years of teaching experience in another state AND who meet NC State Board of Education approved licensure exam requirements OR have National Board Certification are issued the SP2 Professional Educator's license.
When Should I file for a NC Professional Educator’s License?
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) encourages individuals who have completed an out-of-state approved education program to file their paperwork for a NC Professional Educator’s License as soon as possible when considering employment in NC. This will ensure proper salary placement upon hire, as individuals who are not licensed are paid at the beginning teacher scale, bachelor’s level, zero years of experience until the license is approved and issued by the NC Department of Public Instruction. Steps to obtaining a professional educator’s license may be found at www.dpi.state.nc.us/licensure/steps/.
If you do not hold a license upon hire with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, you must file your paperwork within 30 days of employment. Note: Individuals who have completed an approved education program through a NC college/university, the college/university will file the paperwork with the state of NC on your behalf.
Note: Lateral entry candidates must qualify and be hired as an instructional employee and file a joint application with the CMS Licensure Department.
How much does it cost to apply for a professional educator's license?
There is a fee of $55.00 for in-state NC college/university applicants and $85.00 for out-of-state applicants. Expired NC licenses that are eligible to be reinstated will require a $55 fee. When filing with CMS, the fee should be in the form of a money order, payable to NCDPI.
How does reciprocity work?
North Carolina does NOT have 100% reciprocity with any state. You must complete the steps for obtaining a Professional Educator’s License.
What tests do I need to obtain a North Carolina Professional Educator's License?
NC State Board of Education approved licensure exam requirements:
Pearson Test for North Carolina: Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum (effective October 1, 2014) www.nc.nesinc.com/ )
Can other tests be substituted for the NC State Board of Education approved licensure exams?
No. However, exemptions may be allowed for out-of-state new hires who meet NCLB licensure and "Highly Qualified" requirements.
Can I apply for a professional educator's license, if I have not met the testing requirement?
Yes, if applying from out of state, you will be given a one year conditional permit. You would be required to meet testing requirements during that time period. This does not apply to individuals seeking a license to teach elementary grades (K-6) and exceptional children (K-12). State Board of Education testing requirements must be met prior to being licensed to teach elementary grades and exceptional children.
I am from out-of state and have previous teaching experience. Will this experience be credited to my NC professional educator's license?
Properly documented professional experience is creditable under the criteria outlined by the NC Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). Salary placement in CMS will be at the beginning teacher level until a license has been approved and issued by NCDPI. All experience, whether K-12 teaching, teacher assistant, post-secondary or non-teaching work related experience must be approved by the state of NC. Note: Experience is not granted based on being posted on an out-of-state license.
What is Lateral Entry?
Lateral entry is an "alternate" route to teaching for qualified individuals outside of the public education system. Lateral entry allows qualified individuals to obtain a teaching position and begin teaching right away, while meeting the requirements for obtaining a clear professional educator's license as they teach. The NC Department of Public Instruction authorizes lateral entry professional educator's licenses on a provisional basis in licensure areas that correspond to the individual's academic study. Please review the Qualifications for Lateral Entry at www.dpi.state.nc.us/docs/licensure/lateralentry.pdf and remember that only the hiring school system can initiate the process for lateral entry status.
What are the steps for becoming a lateral entry teacher and pursuing a professional educator's license?
Step 1: Qualify – The individual must first qualify as a lateral entry teacher to be able to seek a position with a school system.
To Qualify for Lateral Entry in North Carolina, visit at www.dpi.state.nc.us/docs/licensure/lateralentry.pdf
o Pearson Test for North Carolina: Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum (effective October 1, 2014)
Step 2: Employment – The individual is hired by a school system, which recommends the individual to the NC Department of Public Instruction for a lateral entry professional educator's license. The individual is issued a three year lateral entry provisional professional educator's license.
Step 3: Plan of Study – The individual affiliates with a college or university with an approved teacher education program in the license area, or with the Regional Alternative Licensing Centers (RALC) in North Carolina. An individual plan of study is prescribed for the lateral entry teacher or follow the program outlined by their approved alternative teacher preparation program route, i.e., Teach for America or TeachCharlotte.
Step 4: Coursework and Testing – The individual follows their plan of study prescribed by the college or university or the RALC. A minimum of six semester hours per year from the plan of study must be taken until the plan has been completed. All coursework and the
Pearson Test for North Carolina: Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum (effective October 1, 2014)
for their licensure area must be completed within three years.
Step 5: Recommendation for Standard Professional 1 Professional Educator's License – When the individual completes the required coursework prescribed by the college, university or RALC and satisfies professional educator's licensure testing requirements; he/she is recommended by the institution or RALC. This recommendation is sent to the NC Department of Public Instruction where it is evaluated and if the individual has met all their requirements, they are issued a Standard Professional 1 Professional Educator's License.
Who do I contact for further information about NC Licensure?
Contact the NC Department of Public Instruction Licensure Section at 919-807-3310. If you are employed in a licensed position with CMS, you may contact your assigned Licensure Case Manager at 980-343-1908.