The Teacher Certification Reciprocity Guide
What Is Teacher Certification Reciprocity?
Teacher certification reciprocity is a somewhat misleading term, as it is often interpreted as meaning that a teaching license issued in one state will be recognized by another state unconditionally. While most states provide reciprocity guidelines, interstate reciprocity is not automatic. Teachers must apply for a new license if they are looking to teach in a state where they are not currently licensed, and the teacher licensing agency for a given state typically reviews requests for teaching certificate reciprocity on a case-by-case basis.
In practice, then, teaching license reciprocity outlines which qualifications each state will accept from another state, and which qualifications it will not. The good news for educators is that while the process may be complicated, states that have teaching certification reciprocity agreements usually allow educators moving from one state to another additional time to fulfill the new state’s requirements while teaching on a temporary or provisional license.
The NASDTEC Interstate Agreement & Interstate Reciprocity
Although there are interstate teaching license reciprocity agreements, these agreements can cause confusion for those who are attempting to transfer their teaching license or certificate from one state to another. Put simply, while states may have agreements with other states that the education or testing requirements between the two are equivalent, a state may (and often does) impose its own state-specific requirements as part of the interstate reciprocity agreement.
The best-known agreement for teaching reciprocity between states is through the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). The NASDTEC Interstate Agreement eases the teacher certification reciprocity process by allowing compact agencies to check a teacher’s license status in other states. This means that certified teachers do not always have to provide additional proof of certification. NASDTEC agreements between states also provide guidelines on which types of certification one state will accept from another. For example, Maryland issues three types of professional teaching certificates, whereas neighboring Virginia only issues two. Teaching reciprocity between states guides how these licenses will transfer between the two states.
In addition, many jurisdictions only allow teaching certification reciprocity for standard or professional teaching certificates, which means that those teaching on a provisional or emergency certificate typically will not be able to transfer that certificate to another state. Educators who do not meet reciprocal teaching certification guidelines may wish to look into alternative certification options.
Foreign Teachers and US Teaching Credential Reciprocity
Teacher certification for foreign-educated teachers and foreign-certified teachers varies based on state guidelines. Many states will issue provisional or temporary teaching certificates to foreign teachers who can demonstrate that their background and experience meet the state’s standards for teacher reciprocity. The first step in this process is usually a foreign credentials evaluation from a service that is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE). Those who hold credentials earned in countries other than the US should check with the appropriate state’s teacher licensing agency for current requirements.
Select US jurisdictions do offer teaching certification reciprocity for foreign teaching licenses. The New York State Department of Education, for example, recognizes specific teaching credentials from Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and other countries. In addition, as certain Canadian provinces are members of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, teachers certified in Canada may receive teaching certificate reciprocity from participating US states.
Teacher Certification Reciprocity Guidelines by State
Teaching certificate reciprocity is complex, and many states have specific requirements that must be met to earn a full teaching credential. We have outlined the basic requirements for teaching license reciprocity in each state to help you determine the necessary qualifications. For more detailed information on interstate reciprocity, please contact the licensing agency of the state where you wish to teach.
|Alabama||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Praxis Subject Assessments or equivalent test; may be waived if candidate has 3 years of professional teaching experience.||Emergency Certificate if candidate meets all requirements except testing||Out-of-state teaching license must be equivalent to an Alabama Professional Educator Certificate to qualify for teacher reciprocity.||Yes|
|Alaska||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Basic Competency Exam – See the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development for accepted exams.||Non-renewable one-year Tier I Initial Certificate while meeting state requirements.||Must pass Praxis Subject Assessments to earn a Professional renewable certificate. Must take a state-approved course in Alaska Studies and Multicultural/Cross-Cultural Communication.||Yes|
|Arizona||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Professional and Subject Knowledge exams – See the Arizona Department of Education for accepted exams. May be waived with three years of full-time teaching experience.||Reciprocity candidates receive non-renewable 3-Year Reciprocal Provisional Teaching Certificate; converted to 6-Year certificate after two years of successful teaching in Arizona and meeting state requirements.||Candidates must take state-approved courses in the Arizona and US Constitutions or pass an equivalency exam to upgrade to a standard teaching certificate.||Yes|
|Arkansas||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Basic skills, content area, and pedagogy testing for the certificate held. Waived with three years of teaching experience or comparable certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS).||Provisional license for reciprocal teacher certification candidates who meet all requirements except Content or Pedagogy testing.||Endorsements in Early Childhood, Elementary Education, Middle Childhood, or Secondary Social Studies require approved course in Arkansas History.||Yes|
|California||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||California’s Basic Skills test||Preliminary certificate if all requirements except testing are met.||Candidates with less than 2 years of experience must complete an approved teacher induction program.||Yes|
|Colorado||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||PLACE or Praxis Subject Assessments in select areas required; waived with 3 years full-time teaching experience.||No||Yes|
|Connecticut||Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program. Teacher preparation waived with 30 months of full-time experience.||Praxis Core and Praxis Subject Assessments in content area required.||Interim certificate if candidates meet all criteria except Praxis exams.||Yes|
|Delaware||Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school||Based on credentials evaluation. Praxis CORE or Praxis Subject Assessments may be required after review.||No||Yes|
|Florida||Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school.||Comparable basic knowledge, content, and pedagogy exams.||Temporary certificate in area of bachelor’s degree major if basic knowledge or pedagogy exam requirements are not met.||Teaching license must be equivalent to Florida Professional Certificate.||Yes|
|Georgia||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators required if less than 5 years experience or who have not previously passed a content assessment.||No||Teaching license must be Professional or equivalent; temporary or provisional not accepted.||Yes|
|Hawaii||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program. 3 out of last 5 years full-time teaching experience required for Standard certificate based on reciprocal teaching certification.||Content knowledge exam required if candidate does not have a bachelor’s degree in endorsement area sought.||Provisional certificate if experience requirements are not met.||Content knowledge can also be waived with NBPTS certification or master’s degree.||Yes|
|Idaho||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school.||Praxis Subject Assessments required unless hold bachelor’s degree in endorsement area.||Interim certificate if testing or coursework requirements not met.||Institutional Recommendation from accredited preparation program required for any candidate with less than 2 years of full-time teaching experience.||Yes|
|Illinois||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school.||Test of Academic Proficiency and content-area tests required if no equivalent out-of-state exams passed.||Provisional certificate if missing testing or state-specific coursework.||Must have 32 hours of content area coursework and coursework in reading and ESL/bilingual methods for Professional certificate.||Yes|
|Indiana||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school.||Indiana CORE Assessments and Developmental/Pedagogy exams required.||One-year reciprocal teaching license if missing testing or coursework.||Expired out-of-state teaching licenses are not accepted. All candidates must be certified in CPR/AED/Heimlich and suicide prevention for professional certificate.||Yes|
|Iowa||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Praxis Subject Assessments for each subject to be taught.||One-year exchange (reciprocal teaching) license if coursework or testing requirements not met.||Must complete human relations coursework for Initial license. Must have 6 college credits or teaching experience in last five years.||Yes|
|Kansas||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and teacher preparation program.||Content and pedagogy tests in Kansas or comparable exams completed in another state if less than three years of teaching experience in last six years.||Yes, if testing requirements are not met.||Teacher preparation program waived for secondary teaching if candidate has offer for hire from a Kansas school.||Yes|
|Kentucky||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Praxis Subject Assessments required if less than two years of teaching experience in endorsement area.||No||Reciprocity is not recognized for out-of-state certificates based on testing only.||Yes|
|Louisiana||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and teacher preparation program.||Louisiana Praxis and NTE exams are required for a Level 1 Professional Certificate; waived with at least three years of verified teaching experience in another state or one year of experience in Louisiana with superintendent recommendation.||Three-year out-of-state certificate if testing requirements are not met.||If candidate has not taught in the last five years, six semester credits related to endorsement area must be completed before license can be issued.||Yes|
|Maine||Bachelor’s degree from accredited school.||Praxis Core and Praxis Subject Assessments required in each area of certification.||No||Candidate should request credential evaluation before applying.||Yes|
|Maryland||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Must show passing score on comparable content exams taken in another state.||Conditional certificate if candidate has offer for hire from a Maryland school.||Candidate must request credential evaluation before applying for reciprocal teacher certification.||Yes|
|Massachusetts||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) required. No other tests are accepted.||Temporary or preliminary if candidate teaches a core subject but does not qualify for required Sheltered English Language (SEI) endorsement.||Teacher preparation program waived with three years of teaching experience under a valid certificate in another state.||Yes|
|Michigan||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) may be required based on credentials evaluation.||Temporary Teacher Employment Authorization if testing requirements are not met. Provisional certificate after testing requirements satisfied.||Must teach for three years on Provisional certificate to earn Professional certificate. Must have current training in first aid and CPR.||Yes|
|Minnesota||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Minnesota Teacher Licensing Examinations (MTLE) required. No other tests are accepted.||Limited licensure if testing or coursework requirements not met.||Minnesota Human Relations coursework required for five-year license.||Yes|
|Mississippi||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Core subject test such as Praxis Subject Assessments passed for certification in issuing state.||Two-year license if testing requirements not met.||Institutional Recommendation required for select endorsement areas.||Yes|
|Missouri||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and teacher preparation program.||Typically none – Missouri transfers out-of-state licenses to the closest in-state equivalent under teacher reciprocity.||Based on equivalency.||Institutional Recommendation required if out-of-state license has expired. Must have college GPA of 2.75 or above.||Yes|
|Montana||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved or NCATE/CAEP accredited teacher preparation program.||Praxis Subject Assessments required.||Other temporary class licenses issued based on specific deficiencies.||University Recommendation (Institutional Recommendation) from educator preparation program required for Standard license.||Yes|
|Nebraska||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and teacher preparation program.||Praxis Core and Praxis Subject Assessments required.||Temporary or provisional certificate if coursework or testing requirements not met.||Coursework in Human Relations and Special Education required for regular teaching certificate.||Yes|
|Nevada||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and teacher preparation program.||Praxis Core, Praxis PLT, and Praxis Subject Assessments required. Candidate must also pass exams in Nevada School Law and Nevada and US Constitutions.||No||All requests for reciprocity are based on evaluation.||Yes|
|New Hampshire||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and three years of experience out of last seven in an Interstate Certification Contract state.||Praxis Core and Praxis Subject Assessments required.||See other notes||Candidates who do not meet experience requirement or are not transferring from an Interstate Certification Contract state may qualify under equivalency or other alternative certification routes.||Yes|
|New Jersey||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school, state-approved or NCATE/CAEP accredited teacher preparation program, and two years of “effective” rated experience within last 3 years.||Praxis Subject Assessments required.||Only if equivalent temporary certificate held in another state.||Experience requirement waived with NBPTS certification.||Yes|
|New Mexico||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program and at least one year of teaching experience.||Must have passed teacher competency exam in jurisdiction where current teaching license was issued.||No||Approved program and testing requirements waived with NBPTS certification. License level for reciprocal teaching certification issued is based on years of teaching experience.||No|
|New York||Bachelor’s degree with 2.5 GPA or higher from regionally accredited school and teacher preparation program that meets New York approval standards and three years of public school teaching experience in one state.||Must take New York’s edTPA, Educating All Students, Academic Literacy Skills, and Content Specialty exams through NES. NBPTS certified teachers are exempt from exam requirements.||Conditional certificate if candidate meets all requirements except edTPA exam or workshops.||Initial certificate requires taking workshops in child abuse, school violence prevention, needs of children with autism, and training in harassment, bullying, and discrimination.||No|
|North Carolina||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Praxis Subject Assessments required. Elementary and Exceptional Children endorsements also require North Carolina Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum exams.||No||Whether candidate receives Standard Professional 1 or 2 depends on years of experience.||Yes|
|North Dakota||Bachelor’s degree with at least a 2.50 GPA from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Praxis Core and Praxis Subject Assessments required.||Interim certificate if coursework or testing requirements not met.||North Dakota Native American and Multicultural Studies course required for Initial license.||Yes|
|Ohio||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Ohio Assessments for Educators (OAE) or Praxis Subject Assessments may be required based on evaluation.||Resident educator license if less than 3 years of experience.||Must have at least 12 semester hours of reading pedagogy for full standard license.||Yes|
|Oklahoma||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Oklahoma General Education, Subject Area, and Professional Teaching exams or out-of-state equivalents required.||No||Verification of experience required.||Yes|
|Oregon||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Must have passed acceptable subject matter exam or the Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA). Test of US and Oregon civil rights laws and ethics also required.||Reciprocal teaching license is temporary based on fulfilling deficiencies.||State of initial certificate must be NASDTEC member.||Yes|
|Pennsylvania||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Acceptable basic skills, subject matter, and pedagogy assessments required. Must meet Pennsylvania’s qualifying scores for any exam(s) taken.||No||Teacher preparation program requirement waived with 2 years of experience.||Yes|
|Rhode Island||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Praxis Core, Praxis PLT, and Praxis Subject Assessments required for most subjects and grade levels.||Qualified applications for teaching reciprocity between states leads to a Temporary Initial Educator Certificate.||Certificate held must be NASDTEC Stage 3 or higher.||Yes|
|South Carolina||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Praxis PLT and Praxis Subject Assessments required.||No||Temporary, lateral, or alternative certificates are not eligible for reciprocal teacher certification. Teaching certificate issued depends on years of experience.||Yes|
|South Dakota||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and teacher preparation program.||Praxis Subject Assessments required.||One-year certificate if missing coursework or testing requirements.||Coursework in human relations and South Dakota Indian studies required for unrestricted license.||Yes|
|Tennessee||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Praxis Core, Praxis PLT, and Praxis Subject Assessments required for most subjects and grade levels.||No||Initial certificate issued is Practitioner Teacher.||Yes|
|Texas||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and teacher preparation program.||Texas Education Agency (TEA) or comparable exams in another state required.||One-year certificate if testing requirements are not met.||Credentials review is offered prior to application for a fee.||Yes|
|Utah||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and NCATE/TEAC/CAEP accredited teacher preparation program.||Praxis Subject Assessments typically required but equivalent exams may be evaluated.||No. All qualifying requests for reciprocity receive a Level 1 Utah Educator License.||Educator ethics review also required. Candidates with less than 3 years of experience must participate in Early Years Enhancement.||Yes|
|Vermont||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and teacher preparation program.||Praxis Core and Praxis Subject Assessments required.||No||All qualifying requests for reciprocity from NASDTEC states receive a Level 1 Professional Educator’s License.||Yes|
|Virginia||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA), Praxis Subject Assessments required. Praxis Series Reading for Virginia Educators (RVE) required for select endorsements. Assessments waived with 3 years of full-time teaching experience.||No||Teacher preparation program requirement may be waived with current and valid teaching certificate from another state or NBPTS certification. Child abuse recognition and intervention and emergency first aid training required.||Yes|
|Washington||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Washington Educator Skills Tests (WEST) B and E or comparable exams taken in another state.||Yes. Typically, approved reciprocal candidates receive a temporary residency certificate.||Coursework in issues of abuse required to upgrade to a Professional certificate.||Yes|
|Washington DC||Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program. Teacher preparation waived with 30 months of full-time experience.||Comparable basic skills, content, and pedagogy exams.||No||Teaching license must be equivalent to DC’s Level II.||Yes|
|West Virginia||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and state-approved teacher preparation program.||Praxis Core, Praxis PLT, and Praxis Subject Assessments required for most subjects and grade levels.||No||Yes|
|Wisconsin||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and teacher preparation program.||Praxis CORE in any state required. Praxis Subject Assessments taken in Wisconsin required. Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test (FORT) required for certain endorsements.||No||Applicants must have at least one year of licensed teaching experience. Reciprocity is not granted for alternative route certificates or those based on testing only. Tests must be passed prior to applying for a license.||No|
|Wyoming||Bachelor’s degree from regionally accredited school and teacher preparation program.||Must have passed the educator exams for the state in which a teaching certificate is currently held.||No||Alternate route certifications issued by another state can be reciprocated only if candidate has taught in that area for 3 out of the last 6 years.||Yes|
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What does teacher reciprocity mean?
Answer: “Reciprocity” is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to teacher certification. In all 50 US states and Washington, DC you must acquire a teaching license from the state in which you wish to work before teaching in a public school. This means that you cannot directly transfer your teaching license from one state to another. However, most states do have what would be more accurately called “teacher credential reciprocity.” This means that most states will consider the teacher testing, experience, and college degree that you earned in another state as a basis for issuing a new teaching license.
Question: What is the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement?
Answer: The NASDTEC Interstate Agreement is collection of understandings between different states that recognize which elements of one state’s teacher licensing process are equivalent to another’s. For example, many states will evaluate any teacher testing you took for another state’s licensing process and may exempt you from further testing if these tests are found to be equivalent to the new state’s requirements. It is important to understand that the Interstate Agreements are not “direct transfer” agreements. You will need to apply for a teaching license from your new state and have your credentials evaluated. If your credentials are found to be equivalent to the new state’s typical requirements, you will be issued a new license. If they are not, you will be informed of any additional requirements.
Question: Can I transfer my teaching license if I used an alternate route to certification?
Answer: Many states evaluate the “class” or “level” of teaching license as part of an application for teacher licensure by reciprocity. However, you will typically need to be fully certified – that is, not hold a temporary, provisional, or alternative license – in the original state in order to qualify for a teaching license in the new state. Your alternative route program will also typically need to meet the same requirements as a traditional route program. Check with the state board of education for the state in which you are seeking a new license for exact requirements in your circumstances.
Question: What happens if I do not meet teacher reciprocity requirements?
Answer: If you do not meet teacher reciprocity requirements, there are usually a few options. Some states will issue you a temporary or provisional license that is good for a year (or possibly longer) while you meet deficiencies. This type of license is usually issued if you are missing a state-specific requirement, such as a state constitution test or coursework relating to local populations. If you are missing testing requirements, you may be able to arrange to take the required test(s) in your current state at an approved testing facility or schedule a date to travel to the new state to take the required tests. The board of education to which you applied for a new license will give you exact information on what you are missing and how to proceed based on your current qualifications.