Thank you for your interest in contacting Teacher Certification Degrees. We regret that we cannot offer personalized advising or guidance to individuals. If you have additional questions that are not addressed in our FAQs below or elsewhere on our site, the best point of contact is typically the board of education for the state in which you are seeking to teach.
If you are a representative from a school or organization and would like to submit a question or comment about our resources or work with us, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at:
Teacher Certification Degrees
14419 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98133
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find answers to some of our visitors’ most frequently asked questions, sorted by inquiries related to first-time teacher licensure, licensure for international applicants, and currently or previously licensed teachers.
Question: I have a bachelor’s degree but not in teaching or education. How do I become a teacher?
Answer: Most states offer alternative routes to teacher certification that allow those who have a bachelor’s degree but have not completed a teaching program to return to school to complete an educator preparation program. Depending on the state and individual program, this may lead to a post-graduate certificate or a master’s degree. You can find overviews of alternative routes by state through our alternative teacher certification guide. For further details on the requirements or additional questions, please contact your state’s department of education.
Question: I want to be a teacher, but I don’t want to go back to school for further education. Is it possible to become licensed as a teacher without going back to college?
Answer: In general, teaching candidates must complete an approved educator preparation program (EPP) in order to earn a teaching license. However, some states offer classroom-based EPPs, which function similarly to internships. To see if this is an option in your state, please visit your state’s department of education website.
Question: How do I find out if a teacher preparation program is approved in the state where I want to teach?
Answer: For an introduction to top-rated teaching schools in your state, see our guide to teacher preparation programs. The most up-to-date resource will be your state’s department of education, which will have a list of approved teacher preparation programs on its website and is the appropriate point of contact for program approval questions. Your state’s department of education website will also publish the guidelines for accepting teaching programs offered in other states.
Question: What tests do I need to take to earn my teaching license?
Answer: Most states require at least two exams: a fundamental academic skills test and a test of knowledge in the specific subject the candidate wishes to teach. Select states also require additional testing in state constitution and/or public school law. Our teacher certification by state resource includes overviews of the required exams. For the exact exams you will need to take to become licensed in your desired area(s), see your state’s department of education website.
Question: I have a master’s and/or doctoral degree; do I have to complete another program to become a teacher?
Answer: Generally, yes. A master’s or doctoral degree does not replace formal teacher preparation in most circumstances. There may be exceptions in select states, particularly for career and technical education or severe teacher shortage areas. Contact your state’s department of education for current details, exceptions, and requirements.
Question: I have teaching experience as a substitute and/or in a private school but do not have a teaching license; how do I become certified to teach in public schools?
Answer: As of late 2017, only four states allowed the substitution of teaching experience for formal teacher preparation: Arkansas, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin. This route is often referred to as “teaching equivalency.” An additional four states – Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Vermont – allow licensure by teaching portfolio for highly qualified candidates. For further information, please see your state’s department of education website.
Question: I completed a teaching program that was approved in one state, but I want to teach in a different state. What do I do?
Answer: Most states recognize teacher preparation programs that are approved in other states that have equivalent requirements for teacher education. However, some states require that candidates first become licensed in the state where they completed their teaching program, and then apply for certification by reciprocity. You should review the acceptable teacher preparation program and certification reciprocity guidelines for your new state through its department of education website, where you will also be able to find contact information for any questions you may have.
Question: I’m almost done with my teaching program – what do I do next?
Answer: Congratulations – you’re close to the finish line! The best place for you to find information on what to do next is your school’s teacher certification office and/or career center. You can also reach out to the teacher credentialing office in your state’s department of education for advice.
International Teacher Applicants
Question: I completed my education outside of the US – what do I need to do to teach in the state I will be moving to? -or-
I was a certified teacher in another country, can I transfer that license to the US and teach?
Answer: Most states will review foreign credentials on a case-by-case basis. Generally, the process begins with a transcript and credential evaluation from a recognized provider that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE). You can read a brief overview of US teaching credential reciprocity through our certification reciprocity guide. Please contact the department of education for the state in which you wish to teach for additional guidelines and requirements.
Currently or Previously Licensed Teachers
Question: My teaching certificate lapsed or expired because I was not teaching for a few years; what can I do to reactivate it?
Answer: Depending on how long the certificate has been expired, many states will allow educators to renew an expired teaching license once they have caught up on the continuing education hours that lapsed during the missed renewal period(s). Contact your state’s department of education in order to find out its current policies and requirements.
Question: How do I add an endorsement in a different subject or grade level to my teaching license?
Answer: In order to add an endorsement to your teaching license, you must typically meet college-level subject hour requirements in the new endorsement area and pass a subject matter test. Some states also offer routes to endorsement by equivalency. If you are currently certified and employed as an educator, your school’s personnel records office may be able to guide you; alternatively, you can contact your state’s department of education for requirements.
Question: I am certified now but want to move to a different state – how do I transfer my teaching license?
Answer: Those seeking to continue their teaching careers in a new state must meet the new state’s requirements for teacher licensure and complete the licensing process in order to be issued a new teaching credential. Each state has its own guidelines on recognizing experience, education, and testing undertaken in other states. However, many states offer temporary or provisional teaching certificates to those who do not meet the conditions for a regular certificate, which may allow you to teach for one to two years while you meet your new state’s certification requirements. Contact the department of education for the state in which you wish to teach for guidance.