Licensure » Lateral Entry

Lateral Entry

Are you looking to make a career change and become a teacher?  Do you want to use your college degree to make a difference in the lives of students?  Lateral Entry Teachers are individuals employed in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools that hold at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the subject area they are employed to teach.


Lateral Entry Webinars

We typically host Lateral Entry Webinars on the 3rd Thursday of each month* from 12:00pm-1:00pm.  The webinar shares information about working at CMS and the steps to becoming a Lateral Entry teacher followed by a brief question and answer period.  If you are interested in attending, please register by clicking one of the dates below.  You only need to register for one webinar. 


What are the advantages of Lateral Entry?

  • You can enter the classroom immediately
  • No internship requirement (time and financial savings)
  • You receive training through the Lateral Entry Advancement Program (LEAP)
  • You have three school fiscal years to complete coursework and requirements
  • Your previous education courses may count towards your licensure requirements


Lateral Entry Steps At a Glance

*For more detailed information, please visit the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) here.

Step 1:

Qualify as a Lateral Entry Teacher.  Click here to view qualifications for lateral entry in North Carolina. Not sure if your degree is considered relevant for the licensure area you are pursuing?  Click here to view licensure areas and their relevant degrees.  These are sample relevant majors only.  Licensing is determined on an individual basis by NC DPI. 

Step 2:

Once you have determined that you qualify for a license, you need to obtain a teaching position with CMS.  To do this, submit an online INSTRUCTIONAL application

Step 3:

Be offered a position by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.  If hired, complete a joint application for NC licensure with the CMS Licensure Department.  They will file your licensure application with NCDPI.  Processing may take 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the backlog.

Step 4:

Affiliate with a college or university with an approved teacher education program in the license area or with the Regional Alternative Licensing Centers (RALC).  A plan of study will be outlined for you of the coursework that is needed for your licensure area.

Step 5:

Complete all coursework and NC testing for your licensure area within three school fiscal years (if you took NC testing to qualify for your licensure you do not have to take it again).

Step 6:

If you have met all the requirements, NC DPI will issue you either a Standard Professional I or II Professional Educator’s License!


Frequently Asked Questions

What do I need to do to complete my lateral-entry licensure application?

You must turn in the licensure application packet no later than 30 days from when you were hired to your assigned licensure case manager.  


Why do I have to submit another copy of my transcript if I submitted my transcript with my job application?

The transcripts on file, or attached to your CMS application, are either copies or scanned transcripts; we need the original, official transcripts to send to NC DPI in order to apply for a teaching license.


Do I pay $85.00 or $55.00 for my lateral-entry licensure application?

Unless you hold an expired lateral entry license, all lateral entry applications require an $85.00 processing fee.


How do I go about completing my required coursework?

You will need to affiliate with a University or RALC to start the course work process.


Do I still have to complete 6 semester hours by June if I am hired in January (or later)?

Usually anyone hired after December is considered and end of year employee and is not required to complete coursework for that year. Your lateral entry requirements would start the next school year.  Note: A minimum of six semester hours should be completed per school fiscal year.  The lateral entry license cannot be extended beyond its expiration date.


Can I take any professional development through CMS that will count toward the lateral-entry coursework?

This will depend on your plan of study.


Does my Licensure Case Manager have to notify RALC or can I contact RALC directly to get my transcripts evaluated?

Please view the RALC website for information.  If you are employed, turn in the RALC application to your Licensure Case Manager.  


How long will it take to get my transcripts evaluated by RALC?

This depends on the RALC’s timeline.  Please visit their website for more information.