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Delaware Teacher Certification and Career Guide

To become a teacher in Delaware, candidates must obtain both their teaching license and standard certification from the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE), which oversees the state’s certification process.

The main steps for the traditional path to teacher certification in Delaware are:

  1. Complete a state-approved bachelor’s degree with a teacher preparation component.
  2. Complete a student teaching placement.
  3. Pass the required teacher certification exams.
  4. Apply for an initial teaching certificate and license.
  5. Upgrade your license.

Continue reading to learn more about the traditional certification pathway in Delaware.

Table of Contents

Steps to Become a Teacher in Delaware
Teacher Certification Renewal
Adding Subjects or Grades to a Certificate
Teaching License Reciprocity
Related Licenses
Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions


How to Become a Teacher in Delaware

This section details the steps to teacher licensure and certification in Delaware via the traditional licensing route. Delaware has a three-tiered licensure process:

  • Initial License: For new teachers or teachers who have taught for more than a year but less than four years. Good for four years.
  • Continuing License: For teachers who have been working in education for more than four years.
  • Advanced License: For teachers who have been working for at least four years and have National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).

In addition to a license, Delaware also requires educators to hold a Standard Certificate that certifies the educator has the knowledge, skills, and education needed to practice a particular subject or teach a specific category of students. Other states commonly refer to these as endorsements.

If you are a bachelor’s degree holder who has yet to complete a teacher preparation program, check out our guide to alternative teacher certification in Delaware.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree that includes an approved teacher preparation program.

Candidates for a teaching certificate in Delaware must obtain a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university. The bachelor’s degree major will depend on the grade level and subject to be taught. They will also complete a teacher preparation program through one of the approved institutes of higher education in Delaware, usually as part of the bachelor’s degree.

You can compare key metrics for state-approved teacher preparation programs on our Delaware schools page. You can also read about two important accreditations to consider, institutional accreditation and programmatic accreditation, on our teaching schools guide.

2. Complete a student teaching placement.

All potential Delaware educators must complete a student teaching program or supervised internship as part of their teacher preparation program. In general,Traditional student teaching placements must be in the same subject and grade level as the desired standard certificate applicants hope to obtain. Alternatively, substitute teachers who have been offered a full-time teaching position can count 91 days of successful long-term substitute teaching as a student teaching placement.

3. Pass the required Delaware teacher exams.

Delaware State SealDelaware requires that all teaching candidates pass an approved content-readiness exam, such as the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, and the Praxis Subject exams, administered by ETS. The Praxis Subject exams, which vary based on content area, are required to get a certificate.

4. Apply for Delaware teacher licensure and certification.

After completing the above steps, teaching candidates can apply for their teaching license and standard certification. The DDOE requires teachers to apply for licensure and certification at the same time. Applications must be submitted through the DEEDS EdAccess Portal. The following documents are required to apply for both the Initial License and the Standard Certificate:

  • Official transcripts, including confirmation of completion of the student preparation program
  • Passing scores on the required certification and licensure exams
  • Payment of non-refundable application fees

Visit the DDOE website for additional information on receiving an educator license in Delaware.

5. Upgrade to a Continuing License.

When a teacher’s Initial License is due to expire, they can move to a Continuing License. The Continuing License is for teachers who have at least four years of licensed teaching experience. To move from an Initial License to a Continuing License, teachers must complete a four-year Comprehensive Induction Program (CIP), or Mentoring Program, and not have more than one unsatisfactory annual evaluation under their Initial License. To upgrade their license, teachers can access their educator portal on their DEEDS EdAccess.

Guide to Other Teaching Pathways

Delaware Teacher Certification Renewal

Delaware’s Initial License is valid for four years and cannot be renewed. Instead, it must be upgraded and moved to a Continuing License. A Continuing License is valid for five years and can be renewed. To renew, teachers must complete 90 clock hours of professional development relating to their work. Of the 90 hours of professional development, 45 should be directly related to the teacher’s job.

Delaware public and charter school teachers must have their human resources office review and approve the clock hours. The DDOE must review and approve clock hours for educators not employed by a Delaware public or charter school. Teachers will renew their Continuing License by logging onto their DEEDS Educator Dashboard and uploading all required documentation.

Adding Subjects or Grades to a Certificate

Delaware requires that all new teachers apply for at least one Standard Certificate as part of their Initial License. Once you receive your teaching license and certificate, you will only be eligible to work as a teacher in the grade levels and certification areas listed on your certificate, though occasional, temporary exceptions are made. To add additional certificates, you must complete the required education or testing requirements associated with your desired subject area. You can submit documentation through your DEEDS EdAccess Educator Portal to be issued your certificate. A full list of Delaware’s available Standard Certificates and their requirements is available on the State of Delaware website.

Delaware Teaching License Reciprocity

Reciprocity is available for teachers with an out-of-state teaching license or certificate looking to work in Delaware. Out-of-state applicants must complete the same application process as new educators, with some additional documentation. Teachers with less than four years of experience will apply for an Initial License, while those with more than four years of experience can apply for a Continuing License. To apply for license reciprocity, applicants must submit::

  • Official transcripts, including confirmation of completion of a student preparation program
  • Verification of passing exam scores
  • Payment of the application fee
  • Copy of current teaching credential
  • Form E – Verification of Teaching Experience

Additional information about the reciprocity process in Delaware is available on theDDOE out-of-state applicant webpage. You can learn more about transferring a teaching certificate or license between states on our guide to certification reciprocity.

In addition to standard classroom certifications, Delaware offers a variety of credentials for support roles and administrative positions in the school system. These certifications are provided through the DDOE and include:

  • School Social Worker Standard Certificate: To receive a Standard Certificate as a School Social Worker, applicants must hold a valid Delaware teaching license and LCSW or LMSW issued by the Delaware Board of Social Work Examiners. School School social workers can work in K-12 settings throughout Delaware.
  • Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent Standard Certificate: Those interested in working as superintendents or assistant superintendents at Delaware’s public schools must receive their Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent Standard Certificate. This certificate requires applicants to have a valid Delaware teaching license, a master’s or doctoral degree with an approved educator preparation program for superintendents, and a passing score on the Praxis School Superintendent Assessment (SSA). Candidates must also have at least five years of teaching experience and two years of leadership experience before applying.
  • Title I Paraeducator Permit: The Title I Paraeducator Permit requires applicants to have a high school diploma and at least two years of higher education from an accredited college. Title I Paraeducators work with students of varying abilities receiving Title I services in Title I targeted assistance schools. This certificate does not require the holder to have a current teaching license.

Delaware offers a variety of other certificates, including Standard Certificates for reading specialists, principals, school psychologists, and library media specialists. For a complete list of credentials and their requirements, visit the State of Delaware website.

Delaware Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

Projected Job Growth

2.5%

Growth in Teaching Jobs in DE through 20302*

During the 2017-2018 school year, there were 228 K-12 public schools in Delaware, with an estimated 136,293 students.3 With approximately 9,399 teachers, Delaware has a student-to-teacher ratio of nearly 15:1.3

Overall, job growth prospects for educators in Delaware are significantly lower than they are nationally. Job growth for Delaware elementary teachers is projected at 2% compared to 7.4% nationally; for Delaware middle school teachers, 2.1% compared to 13.1% nationally; and for Delaware secondary school teachers, 2.2% compared to 13.7% nationally.2

The table below provides a detailed comparison of job growth prospects and salary levels for Delaware teachers.

TypeNumber Employed in DE4Average Annual Openings in DE2DE Proj. Job Growth 2020-20302Average Annual Salary in DE425th Percentile Wages in DE575th Percentile Wages in DE5
Preschool Teachers2,01029029.1%$29,730$26,460$30,420
Preschool Teachers, Special Education
Kindergarten Teachers230303.8%$55,030$44,140$62,970
Elementary School Teachers4,3503302%$64,100$48,220$78,770
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, Special Education1,1401202.4%$66,110$56,300$77,570
Middle School Teachers1,5701702.1%$65,880$50,340$78,730
Middle School Teachers, Special Education70$58,820$48,050$65,380
Middle School Teachers, Career/Technical Education
Secondary School Teachers4,0502602.2%$68,810$59,770$79,090
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education1,060602.7%$69,360$57,980$78,580
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education510$76,740$72,340$80,590

*The estimated job growth average is based on projections for mainstream kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Projections for other categories, such as special education and career and technical education, may be higher or lower than the average.

Teacher Shortages in Delaware

Delaware, like many US states, has shortages in several teaching areas. According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2023-2024, Delaware has the following shortages:

Over 500 teaching positions were left unfilled in Delaware during the 2022-2023 academic year.7 Of the teachers employed in Delaware, approximately 2,242 were classified as underqualified for their position, including teachers who were assigned to classrooms outside their certification field on a temporary or emergency basis.7

Additional Resources

Delaware Teacher Interviews

Related Articles

Teacher Quote: “Teaching can be one of the most rewarding and energizing careers. Never lose sight of the kids that drew you to this career. When we forget the human aspect of teaching and get bogged down by the pressures of testing, standards, and curriculum, we are forgetting about the needs of our learners.” –Krista Wallden, Delaware Third Grade Teacher

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How do I become an elementary teacher in Delaware?

Answer: To become an elementary teacher in Delaware, you must apply for an Initial License and an Elementary Teacher Standard Certificate. To qualify, you must have a bachelor’s degree and have completed a related teacher preparation program with a supervised student teaching placement in an elementary school classroom. You must also pass an approved content-readiness exam, such as the Praxis Core, and the Praxis Subject Assessments for elementary education.

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

Answer: Delaware doesn’t offer a substitute teaching license nor do they have any state-wide requirements for substitute teachers. That means that individual school districts set the requirements for subs. If you are interested in becoming a substitute teacher in Delaware, you should check with the school district near you.

Question: How many teachers are employed by private schools in Delaware?

Answer: According to data from the 2019-2020 school year, 2,120 teachers are working in 139 private schools with a total of 20,199 students.8 Delaware does not mandate teacher licensing and certification for private school teachers.

References:
1. Delaware Department of Education: https://education.delaware.gov/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2017-2018: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Delaware: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_de.htm
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2022 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm
6. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/#/reports
7. Teacher Shortages in the United States, Tuan D. Nguyen et al.: https://teachershortages.com/
8. National Center for Education Statistics, Private School Universe Survey, 2019-20: https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/tables/TABLE15fl1920.asp