The Georgia Teaching and Certification Resource

There are several routes aspiring teachers can follow to obtain a Georgia teacher certification. In addition to holding a bachelor’s degree, Georgia teacher applicants must have a teacher certification from an accredited institute. The Georgia Professional Standards Commission oversees the certification regulations and procedures, which are explained in detail on this page.

How to Become a Teacher in Georgia

There are two types of Georgia teaching certification. The Clear Renewable Certificate is the most common type of certification and is obtained by following the traditional route to certification. This certification is valid for five years. For non-traditional certification situations, Georgia offers the non-renewable certificate, which can be issued under a number of specific circumstances.

To be eligible for the Georgia Clear Renewable Certificate, all educators are required to hold a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, aspiring teachers must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program and have passing scores on the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE).

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An alternative route can be a good option for those holding a bachelor’s degree or higher that are looking to teach subjects considered to be particularly “high need” areas. In this case, teachers can begin teaching with a Non-Renewable Non-Professional certificate or one of the GaTAPP path certificates as they complete the remaining requirements to become a teacher. Upon completion of this process, teachers will be eligible for the Clear Renewable certificate.

If applicants hold an out-of-state teacher certificate, it is possible to obtain a Georgia teacher certification through reciprocity procedures. In most cases, out of state educators may be eligible for the Georgia’s Clear Renewable Certificate without completing the process required of most new teachers. For more information on the process applicants should contact the Georgia Department of Education.

Georgia also offers retired educators; military or government personnel; business or professional persons (banker, lawyer, doctor, etc.) to work as educators under the Troops to Teachers program. Under this program, certain individuals are considered qualified to teach based on their experience instead of formal education. Again, it’s best to contact the Georgia State Education Department for specific details.

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Georgia

The first and most important step to becoming a teacher in Georgia is the completion of an accredited Georgia teachers certification program. Only institutions that meet specific levels of accreditation are considered legitimate by Georgia standards. Specifically, all programs must be approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) as well as the regional accreditation body that serves Georgia, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). When evaluating online teaching certification programs, it’s also important to confirm it is in good standing with the corresponding accreditation agency. If a school does not hold these accreditations, it will not be considered eligible by the Georgia teacher certification standards.

Additionally, schools that offer Georgia teachers certification programs should be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP is an nationally recognized agency that is the result of two recently consolidated accreditation bodies, NCATE and TEAC. Although this is not a mandatory accreditation yet, a CAEP accreditation is seen by states as a distinguished standard of teaching excellence in the educational field and is recognized by the US Department of Education.

Lastly, the state of Georgia looks for quality schools listed by the Carnegie Classification Agency, which lists all accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities in the United States that are represented in the National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

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Quick Guide

Georgia Teacher Education Requirements

Individuals seeking a teaching certification in Georgia through the traditional certification route must attend an accredited educational institute approved by the state and complete a teacher preparation program which leads to a Bachelor’s degree or higher in Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary, or Special Education. This route leads to what Georgia refers to as a Clear Renewable Certificate.

Georgia, like most US states, has specific requirements that must be completed before a teacher can obtain a Clear Renewable certification. These requirements are incorporated into the required teacher preparation programs and new educators in Georgia are permitted three years to complete the following requirements.

Special Education – Course work in the identification and education of children with special education needs is mandatory for all teaching fields, Educational Leadership, Media Specialist, and School Counseling in the Georgia education system.

Certification Assessment – A content knowledge assessment is required for most certification fields.

Standards of Conduct – All applicants for Georgia teacher certification must follow the ethical standards of the profession for initial and continued certification.

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

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Georgia Teacher Outlook as of 2014
The Occupational Supply & Demand system estimates 2,320 average annual openings for elementary school teachers, 1,230 average annual openings for middle school teachers, and 1,120 average annual openings for secondary school teachers in Georgia through 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 88,830 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in the state (2013). Excluding special education, the average annual salary for elementary school teachers is $53,750, for middle school teachers $53,410, and for secondary school teachers $54,750 (BLS 2013). Please visit the Georgia Association of Educators and contact Georgia teaching and education schools for more information.

Georgia Teacher Testing Requirements

Georgia-state-sealIn 2006, the Georgia Department of Education began requiring educators to take and pass the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) in order to obtain a Georgia educator certification. The testing objectives are compatible with both state and national standards and are designed to assess the 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.

Additional Georgia Teacher Certification Requirements

As with all US states, anyone wanting to be employed by a Georgia public school must submit to state and federal background checks. Additionally, Georgia requires that all applicants applying for a Georgia certificate must answer a set of Personal Affirmation questions.

Georgia educational policy also employs an additional screening method called the NASDTEC National Clearinghouse database, 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 a Georgia teaching certification.

Georgia Teachers Licensing Application Process

  1. Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
  2. Degree from accredited teacher certification program
  3. Passing score on the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators
  4. Completed application for certification
  5. Payment of non-refundable processing fee

Georgia Professional Standards Commission
200 Piedmont Avenue SW
Suite 1702, West Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334-9032

Visit the Georgia Department of Education for further details on teaching certification in Georgia.

Georgia Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 11,040 $32,230
Kindergarten Teachers 5,900 $50,570
Elementary School Teachers 42,760 $53,320
Middle School Teachers 23,370 $53,850
Secondary School Teachers 22,910 $53,770

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

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Georgia Teacher Interview

Interview with Sharon Taylor, President of the Georgia Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Georgia

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

Answer: The state of Georgia only requires that substitute teachers have a high school diploma and pass a background check. Each district may have more requirements, such as a college degree or teacher certification. To get a job as a substitute, you must apply to a district and find out what the requirements are.

Teaching and Education Programs

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1. Georgia State Department of Education: http://www.gadoe.org/Pages/Home.aspx
2. Georgia Professional Standards Commission: http://www.gapsc.com/
3. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000

Page edited by Charles Sipe.