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The Georgia Teaching and Certification Resource

There are several routes aspiring teachers can follow to obtain Georgia teacher certification. The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) oversees the certification process, which is explained in detail on this page.

How to Become a Teacher in Georgia

Georgia recently redesigned its certification requirements. If you began a teacher preparation program prior to 2015, you should check with your program to verify how the new requirements may impact your certification plan. For those beginning a teacher preparation program after 2015, the first step in the process to certification is to complete a teacher preparation program that has been approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC).

An alternative route to teacher certification in Georgia is an option for those who already hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree who have not completed a teacher preparation program, especially for candidates who are looking to teach subjects considered “high need” areas.

The new, four-tier certification process for beginning teachers in Georgia includes a Pre-Service certification, which is required for candidates to complete the mandatory student teaching assignment. Candidates who successfully complete a bachelor’s degree, a teacher preparation program, and the Pre-Service requirements will be eligible for an Induction certificate for beginning teachers.

After three years of successful teaching, candidates will become eligible to meet the standards for a Professional teaching certificate. After five years, highly qualified teachers who earn National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification or an advanced degree and who have high performance ratings in the classroom may be eligible for the highest level of teacher certification in Georgia, Advanced/Lead Professional.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Georgia

Projected Job Growth

18.3%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in GA through 20242

The first and most important step to becoming a teacher in Georgia is the completion of an approved Georgia teacher preparation program. To be considered for certification, the program a candidate attends must be approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) as well as accredited by the regional accreditation body that serves Georgia, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). You can find a list of approved programs through the GaPSC website.

The GaPSC may also evaluate and accept out-of-state teacher preparation programs, provided that the program holds regional accreditation from the appropriate accrediting body. If a school does not hold these accreditations, graduates will not be considered eligible for educator licensure.

Additionally, schools that offer Georgia teacher preparation programs may be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP is a nationally recognized agency that is the result of the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Although this is not mandatory, CAEP accreditation is seen as a distinguished standard of teaching excellence in the educational field.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Georgia.

Georgia Teacher Outlook
Through 2024, the Georgia Department of Workforce Statistics & Economic Research estimates that there will be 850 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers and 420 average annual job openings for middle school teachers in the state.3 The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 99,570 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in the state.4 Excluding special education, in Georgia the average annual salary for elementary school teachers is $53,610, for middle school teachers $54,390, and for secondary school teachers $55,460.4 Visit the Georgia Association of Educators for more information on teaching opportunities and policy in the state.

Georgia Teacher Education Requirements

Individuals seeking teaching certification in Georgia through the traditional route must attend an accredited teacher preparation program approved by the state and complete a bachelor’s degree or higher in the subject they wish to teach. This route leads to what Georgia refers to as an Induction certificate. Georgia, like most US states, has specific requirements that must be completed before a teacher can obtain certification. These requirements are incorporated into the required teacher preparation programs.

Teacher Quote: “Be prepared for anything. While my best friend was getting her degree, she swore she would never need geometry because she would never teach it. Her first teaching assignment included three geometry classes. Anything can happen and it’s best to be ready.” -Sharon Taylor, President of the Georgia Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators

Georgia Teacher Testing Requirements

Georgia-state-sealThe Georgia Department of Education uses the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) as the main content area and teaching knowledge exams for initial certification. The testing objectives are designed to assess candidates’ readiness to teach effectively in Georgia public schools. There are no exemptions for the GACE Content Assessment and all candidates must pass all parts of the assessment for certification. Candidates must also pass the Georgia Educator Ethics Exam as part of pre-service certification.

Additional Georgia Teacher Certification Requirements

As in all US states, all prospective Georgia public school employees must submit to state and federal background checks. Georgia also employs an additional screening method called the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) National Clearinghouse, which is a national searchable educator discipline system. If applicants have been disciplined by another state, Georgia will honor the sanctions imposed by that state, which could result in the rejection of an application for Georgia teaching certification.

Georgia Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once a candidate has completed a bachelor’s degree, teacher preparation program, and pre-service internship, he or she may apply for the Induction certificate through the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The supporting documents required include:

  • Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
  • Proof of completion of an approved teacher preparation program
  • Passing score on the appropriate Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators
  • Completed application for certification
  • Payment of non-refundable processing fee

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission uses an online processing system for all certificates, MyPSC. Visit the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for further details on teaching certification in Georgia.

Georgia Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 12,100 $30,030
Preschool Teachers, Special Education 540 $51,580
Kindergarten Teachers 5,920 $53,550
Elementary School Teachers 50,670 $53,610
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School 6,800 $53,770
Middle School Teachers 25,120 $54,390
Middle School Teachers, Special Education 3,560 $52,340
Secondary School Teachers 23,780 $55,460
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education 3,020 $56,340
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education 1,840 $56,790

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4

Georgia Teacher Interview

  • President, Georgia Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, Sharon Taylor

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Georgia

Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in Georgia?

Answer: The state of Georgia requires that short-term substitute teachers have a minimum of a high school diploma plus at least 60 semester hours of college credit and be able to pass a background check. Each district may set its own requirements, such as a college degree or teacher certification. Note that in some districts, such as Atlanta public schools, substitute pay rates are scaled to the level of education and certification achieved. In addition, for long-term substitute positions, state certification is generally required.

Teaching and Education Programs

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References:
1. Georgia Professional Standards Commission: https://www.gapsc.com/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm
3. Georgia Department of Workforce Statistics & Economic Research: https://explorer.dol.state.ga.us/mis/occupation.htm
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Georgia: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm