The Georgia Teaching and Certification Resource
There are several routes aspiring teachers can follow to earn Georgia teacher certification. The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) oversees the certification process, which is explained in detail on this page.
How to Become a Teacher in Georgia
The first step in the process of teacher certification in Georgia is to complete a teacher preparation program that has been approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC). An alternative route to teacher certification in Georgia is an option for those who already hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree who have not completed a teacher preparation program, especially for candidates who are looking to teach subjects considered “high need” areas. A provisional certificate is another option for candidates to begin teaching while they complete their teacher preparation program.
The four-tier certification process for beginning teachers in Georgia includes a Pre-Service certification, which is required for candidates to complete the mandatory student teaching assignment. Candidates who successfully complete a bachelor’s degree, a teacher preparation program, and the Pre-Service requirements will be eligible for an Induction certificate for beginning teachers.
After three years of successful teaching, candidates will become eligible to apply for a Professional teaching certificate. After five years, highly qualified teachers who earn National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification or an advanced degree and who have high performance ratings in the classroom may be eligible for the highest level of teacher certification in Georgia, Advanced/Lead Professional.
- 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, Education Specialist Programs, or Doctorate Education Programs
- I am already certified and want to teach in another state: Learn about Teacher Certification Reciprocity
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Georgia
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in GA through 20302
The first and most important step to becoming a teacher in Georgia is the completion of an approved Georgia teacher preparation program. To be considered for certification, the program a candidate attends must be approved by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) as well as accredited by the regional accreditation body that serves Georgia, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). You can find a list of approved programs through the GaPSC website. You can also compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our Georgia schools page.
The GaPSC may also evaluate and accept out-of-state teacher preparation programs, provided that the program holds regional accreditation from the appropriate accrediting body and/or the state board of education for the state in which it is located. If a school does not hold these accreditations, graduates will not be considered eligible for educator licensure.
Additionally, schools that offer Georgia teacher preparation programs may be accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP is a nationally recognized agency that is the result of the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Although this is not mandatory, CAEP accreditation is seen as a distinguished standard of teaching excellence in the educational field.
Georgia Teacher Education Requirements
Individuals seeking teaching certification in Georgia through the traditional route must attend an accredited teacher preparation program approved by the state and complete a bachelor’s degree or higher in the subject they wish to teach. This route leads to what Georgia refers to as an Induction certificate. Georgia, like most US states, has specific requirements that must be completed before a teacher can obtain certification. These requirements, such as student teaching and content area testing, are typically incorporated into the required teacher preparation programs.
Georgia Teacher Testing Requirements
The Georgia Department of Education uses the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) as the main content area and teaching knowledge exams for initial certification. The testing objectives are designed to assess 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. Candidates must also pass the Georgia Educator Ethics Exam as part of pre-service certification (e.g., typically during their teacher preparation program).
Additional Georgia Teacher Certification Requirements
As in all US states, all prospective Georgia public school employees must submit to state and federal background checks. Georgia also employs an additional screening method called the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) National Clearinghouse, 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 an application for Georgia teaching certification.
Georgia Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once a candidate has completed a bachelor’s degree, teacher preparation program, and pre-service internship, he or she may apply for the Induction certificate through the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. The supporting documents required include:
- Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
- Proof of completion of an approved teacher preparation program
- Passing score on the appropriate Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) and the Georgia Ethics assessments
- Completed application for certification
- Payment of non-refundable processing fee
Georgia Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
There were an estimated 1.76 million students enrolled in Georgia’s 2,300 K-12 public schools during the 2016-2017 school year.3 With a reported 114,762 public school teachers, this gave Georgia a 15:1 student-to-teacher ratio.3
Through 2030, projections estimate that there will be 3,640 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 2,530 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 2,020 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in the state.3 Excluding special education, in Georgia, the average annual salary for elementary school teachers is $63,930, for middle school teachers $64,460, and for secondary school teachers $69,430.4 Visit the Georgia Association of Educators for more information on teaching opportunities and policy in the state.
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||360||$56,920|
|Elementary School Teachers||45,170||$63,930|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||7,020||$68,380|
|Middle School Teachers||24,990||$64,460|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||3,080||$68,760|
|Middle School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||460||$66,340|
|Secondary School Teachers||22,370||$69,430|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||3,660||$64,120|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||3,290||$63,780|
Teacher Shortages in Georgia
According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Georgia broadly has the following shortages5:
- Health and Physical Fitness (Health Science), Pre-K-12
- Mathematics (Basic and Advanced Mathematics), 4-12
- Science (Life Sciences), 6-12
- Science (Physical Science), 4-12
- Social Studies, 4-12
- Special Education, Pre-K-12
- World Languages (Spanish), Pre-K-12
Georgia Teacher Interview
- Former President, Georgia Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators, Sharon Taylor
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I become a substitute teacher in Georgia?
Answer: The state of Georgia requires that short-term substitute teachers have a minimum of a high school diploma, 4 hours of special training, and be able to pass a background check. Each district may set further requirements, such as a college degree or teacher certification. Note that in some districts, such as Atlanta public schools, substitute pay rates are scaled to the level of education and certification achieved. In addition, for long-term substitute positions, state certification is generally required.
Question: What types of teachers are needed in Georgia?
Answer: For the 2019-20 school year, Georgia declared teacher shortages in special education, health and physical fitness, math, science, social studies, and Spanish. Teachers specializing in these areas may be in higher demand in the state.5
Question: How much do teachers make in Georgia?
Answer: In Georgia, average salaries for teachers range from $30,910 per year for preschool teachers to $64,420 per year for high school career and technical education teachers.4 Teacher salaries depend on factors such as years of experience, level of education achieved, and school location.
1. Georgia Professional Standards Commission: https://www.gapsc.com/
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, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Georgia: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ga.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/