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.
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.
- I want to be a teacher in North Carolina, 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 North Carolina’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.
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.
The Occupational Supply & Demand System projects 1,430 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 650 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 840 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in North Carolina through 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 82,090 elementary, middle, and high school teachers in North Carolina, excluding special education (2013). Elementary school teachers in North Carolina make an average annual salary of $42,870, while middle school teachers make an average annual salary of $42,160 and secondary school teachers make an average annual salary of $43,510 (BLS 2013). 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.
Visited w/ a class from Montgomery County’s Star Elementary. Education is a top priority of this administration! ow.ly/i/28BYi
— Pat McCrory (@PatMcCroryNC) May 17, 2013
North Carolina Teacher Testing Requirements
The 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:
- Application for a North Carolina Professional Educator’s License
- Verification of completion of an approved teacher education program
- Submit original transcripts for each degree and any coursework completed not listed on transcript
- Submit passing test score(s) of the NTE/Praxis
- Payment of non-refundable processing fees
NC Department of Public Instruction
6365 Mail Service Center
Raleigh NC 27699-6365
Visit the state’s Department of Education for further details on North Carolina teacher certification.
North Carolina Teacher Salary and Jobs
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|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
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.
Teaching and Education Programs
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.