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).
- Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education
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.
- I want to be a teacher in Georgia, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Georgia’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
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.
The Occupational Supply & Demand system estimates 11,007 annual job openings in Georgia in education and library resource fields through 2018. The projected annual openings in professions within these fields may be accessed through the Occupational Supply & Demand System. In 2008 and 2007, there were 118,839 public school and 14,010 private school teachers employed in Georgia according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The average starting salary of a Georgia teacher is approximately $33,424 and the cumulative average salary is $52,815, the 22nd highest in the nation according to the National Education Association. The NEA cites specific shortages in special education, math and language teachers in 2012. Classified as a ‘fast growing state’ by the NEA, Georgia may experience enrollment increases through 2016, particularly in urban areas creating new job opportunities for young teachers. These positions are likely to be most accessible to teachers licensed in multiple subjects at both the state and national level. Please visit the Georgia Association of Educators and contact Georgia teaching and education schools for more information.
Georgia Teacher Testing Requirements
In 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
- Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
- Degree from accredited teacher certification program
- Passing score on the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators
- Completed application for certification
- 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|
|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.
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
- Master of Arts in Education/Curriculum and Instruction
- M.A. in Education/Secondary Teacher Education
- B.S. in Education / Elementary Education
- A.A. in Elementary Education
- And more...
- Education, MS - Teaching and Learning (Online)
- Education, MS (Online)
- Education, MS - Teaching and Learning
- Career College Administration Graduate Certificate
- And more...
- Doctor of Management - Graduate Level Instructional Practices
- Doctor of Management - Private Sector Higher Education Leadership
- M.Ed. Teaching & Learning: History
- AA in Education (Non-Licensure)
- CERT: Preschool
- MA Teaching: Middle Grades
- And more...
- MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
- MA in Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers Grades 5-12)
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.