Teacher Certification Degrees » Teacher Certification Center » The North Carolina Teaching and Certification Resource

The North Carolina Teaching and Certification Resource

For anyone looking to become a teacher, North Carolina is a fantastic state for educators. In fact, North Carolina is one of the fastest growing states in the US and to meet the population demands, they’ve hired over 10,000 new teachers over the last decade.

Aspiring teachers must obtain a North Carolina teacher certification to teach in public schools and most private ones as well. The pathway to NC certification is fairly similar to most states, but can vary depending on a number of factors. The NC Department of Public Instruction oversees the certification process, which is outlined in detail below.

How to Become a Teacher in North Carolina

Anyone pursuing a North Caroline teacher certificate must hold a bachelor’s degree and complete a state-approved teachers certification program in North Carolina. Additionally, there are required examinations and a background check that must be submitted before applying for a teacher certification. Teachers in North Carolina must hold a North Carolina teacher certification for the subject or grade level they wish to teach. In North Carolina, teaching certificate areas include: birth through kindergarten, elementary (grades K-6), middle grades (grades 6-9), secondary grades (grades 9-12), special subjects (K-12), exceptional children (K-12), and vocational education.

For experienced teachers with out-of-state certificates, reciprocity in North Carolina is possible provided that applicants meet additional criteria. Once all of the requirements are fulfilled, out of state teachers may apply for the Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Professional Educator’s License, which is valid for three years. For more information on reciprocity and on the North Carolina teacher certification renewal process, contact the NC Department of Public Instruction.

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Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in North Carolina

One of the most important steps towards North Carolina teacher certification is completing an approved teacher certification program at an accredited school. US schools are accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies, which are overseen by the US Department of Education.

North Carolina schools are accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Aspiring teachers pursuing a teacher certification in North Carolina should confirm that any teacher education program is offered in a SACS-accredited school. Additionally, schools offering online teaching programs should also be confirmed as accredited by one of the six corresponding regional agencies.

In addition to a regional accreditation, schools may also look for an accreditation from Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness (CAEP). Recently, two former accreditation agencies, TEAC and NCATE, merged to form CAEP, which will continue to be a symbol of high standards in the teacher preparation sector. Although a CAEP accreditation may not be mandatory to be approved by North Carolina Licensure, it is considered a highly-regarded symbol of quality in terms of teacher preparatory education curriculum and process.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in North Carolina.

Quick Guide

North Carolina Teacher Education Requirements

The most common pathway to North Carolina teaching certification is the completion of an approved teacher education program from an accredited college or university.The state of North Carolina has four distinct teacher education and reciprocal licensing tracks. A candidate may complete a teacher education program that has been accredited by SACS or one that meets the standards set forth by NASDTEC.

North Carolina Teacher Outlook as of 2012
The Occupational Supply & Demand System projects 6,830 annual job openings in library and education fields in North Carolina through 2018. In fall 2008 and 2007 respectively, the National Center of Education Statistics listed 109,634 public school and 10,850 private school teachers employed in North Carolina. The average starting teaching salary in North Carolina is $31,892 and the average overall teaching salary is $46,605, the 9th lowest average among US states, according to the National Education Association. Due to a growing school system and an aging teacher population, teaching and school-support employment opportunities are expected to increase annually as new positions are created and retirement rates increase. The NEA reports current teacher shortages in special education, ESL, math and science, and projects future shortages in all subjects including librarians and counselors. Please visit the North Carolina Association of Educators for updates on education policy in North Carolina, or contact local education and teaching schools for information regarding certification.

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North Carolina Teacher Testing Requirements

North Carolina State SealThe testing requirements for North Carolina teacher certification include a combination of the Praxis Series, the National Teachers Examination (NTE), and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Candidates who are applying for a North Carolina teaching certificate must have already met the minimum passing score at the time of application. Candidates who are applying for an initial teaching certificate must take the Professional Knowledge test of the NTE Core Battery and either an NTE specialty area test or a Praxis II subject assessment. If a candidate prefers, he or she may submit GRE scores instead of Praxis scores for initial certification. Passing GRE scores include 380 in verbal, 410 in quantitative, and 380 in analytical.

Additional North Carolina Teacher Certification Requirements

Unlike most states, North Caroline does not require fingerprinting or a background check in order to be eligible for a North Carolina teacher certification. However, some individual school districts may require the process as part of their employment criteria.

North Carolina Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once applicants have completed the steps to North Carolina teacher educator certification, application packets should be sent in to the NC Department of Public Instruction with the following:

  1. Application for a North Carolina Professional Educator’s License
  2. Verification of completion of an approved teacher education program
  3. Submit original transcripts for each degree and any coursework completed not listed on transcript
  4. Submit passing test score(s) of the NTE/Praxis
  5. Payment of non-refundable processing fees

NC Department of Public Instruction
Licensure Section
6365 Mail Service Center
Raleigh NC 27699-6365

Visit the state’s Department of Education for further details on North Carolina teacher certification.

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North Carolina Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 12,140 $24,530
Kindergarten Teachers 4,410 $41,560
Elementary School Teachers 39,770 $43,140
Middle School Teachers 18,200 $42,060
Secondary School Teachers 24,450 $44,400

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

North Carolina Teacher Interview

Interview with Amber Polk, North Carolina Third Grade Teacher

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Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in North Carolina

Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in North Carolina?

Answer: To be a substitute teacher in North Carolina, you must apply to the district in which you hope to work. The state does not require substitutes to hold a teacher license, but individual districts may have different requirements.

Question: How do I become an elementary school teacher in North Carolina?

Answer: To become an elementary school teacher in North Carolina, you must be certified by the state. Certification requires a bachelor’s degree and the completion of a teacher preparation program approved by the state. You also must complete at least ten weeks of student teaching in an elementary classroom.

Question: What are the requirements to become a high school teacher in North Carolina?

Answer: To be a high school teacher in North Carolina, you need to get a certificate from the state. To qualify, you need to have a bachelor’s degree and to have completed an approved teacher preparation program. You must also participate in at least ten weeks of student teaching in a secondary setting.

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1. North Carolina State Department of Education: http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/
2. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000

Page edited by Charles Sipe.