New Hampshire has been rated one of the healthiest states and the most livable state in the United States from 2006 through 2011. These results, which are published by the Congressional Quarterly Press, are based on annual research that compares states over a broad range of categories.
As of 2010, New Hampshire had 494 schools, with 15,500 teachers educating close to 200,000 students. The state’s public education system consists of traditional elementary, middle and high schools, public charter schools and online public schools. New Hampshire‘s 4th and 8th grade public school children score higher than the national average in every subject on the national standardized exams, which measure knowledge and skills in reading, math, science and writing.
Alternatives for Certification in New Hampshire
Because aspiring teachers qualify to be educators through a variety of educational and life experiences, the New Hampshire State Board of Education has created five alternative routes to certification. Alternatives 1 and 2 involve completion of traditional teacher preparation programs. Individuals seeking certification through the more nontraditional Alternatives 3, 4 or 5 must also demonstrate the same skills and knowledge that teacher preparation institutions use to structure programs approved under Alternatives 1 and 2.
Alternative 1 is a traditional route designed for individuals who have completed an approved teacher education program at a New Hampshire college, university or teacher training institution. Each year, the state’s Bureau of Credentialing provides a list of approved New Hampshire teacher preparation programs.
Alternative 2 is for applicants for licensure in New Hampshire who have completed an out-of-state educator preparation program that is comparable to New Hampshire’s programs. In addition, applicants must satisfy certain qualifications to fulfill the academic, preparatory and experiential requirements for a New Hampshire teaching certificate. The prospective teacher must present documents that verify the following:
Possession of a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
Graduation from an approved state program.
Employment as a certified teacher for at least three of the last seven years under a certificate approved by the Interstate Certification Contract.
Completion of an alternative certification program.
Teachers who complete teacher preparation programs in states or countries that are not members of the Interstate Certification Contract may also be eligible for certification in New Hampshire if such programs are comparable with those in New Hampshire.
Alternative 3 is designed for candidates who have acquired competencies, skills, and knowledge through means other than the more traditional Alternative 1 or Alternative 2. Alternative 3 requires both written examinations and an oral review, and qualification is based on a candidate’s demonstrated Competencies and equivalent Experiences. Applicants must also present employer verification of three months of full time teaching.
Alternative 4 is the Individualized Professional Development route. It is restricted to critical shortage areas, such as in schools and districts. School superintendents may use Alternative 4 to hire candidates who meet eligibility requirements but are not yet officially certified. The school superintendent develops an Individualized Professional Development Plan that will lead to full certification, once the candidate has met the requirements of the plan.
Alternative 5 is a site-based on-the-job training option that allows an individual to attain certification in elementary and secondary teaching areas. To qualify, the applicant must have a bachelor's degree, a 2.50 GPA overall, and at least 30 credits in their subject area or grade level. A local school district must hire the teacher and assume the responsibility for training, mentoring and supervising the teacher candidate. A school superintendent may also employ an individual who possesses a statement of eligibility issued by the New Hampshire Bureau of Credentialing.
Certification Requirements and Levels
New Hampshire offers certification at different levels, depending on academic degrees, completion of a teacher preparation program, on-site teaching experience, test scores and professional evaluations.
To obtain an Intern License, the candidate must be employed as a full-time educator in a New Hampshire public school. New Hampshire grants Intern licenses for the duration of an applicant’s individualized development plan or the site-based, on-the-job training certification plan.
Educators who have held a valid intern license for up to three consecutive school years may qualify to receive a beginning educator credential, after the Bureau of Credentialing receives the required documentation from the candidate's current school employer.
Beginning Educator Certificate
This certificate can be issued to individuals with less than three years of teaching experience at the elementary and secondary levels. The teacher must qualify for one of the Alternatives before earning a credential and completing the application process. Beginning Educator Certificates are issued for a period of three years.
All candidates seeking Beginning Educator Certification must document basic academic skills in reading, writing and mathematics by passing the PRAXIS I Pre- Professional Skills Test (PPST), the PRAXIS I Composite Test, the Computerized Pre- Professional Skills Test (CPPST) or an Approved Alternative Test. All candidates must also document their subject area competence by passing the PRAXIS II Subject Assessment Test. Candidates who have a master’s degree and seven years of teaching in their subject area may be exempt from testing.
Experienced Educator Certificate
Teachers who want to qualify for an Experienced Educator Credential. After successfully completing three years of full-time elementary or secondary teaching with a valid credential, beginning educators
may qualify for the Experienced Educator Certificate. This certification is valid for three years.
Master Teacher Certificate
Candidates who want to qualify for Master Teacher certification must have an Experienced Educator Certificate from New Hampshire; verify academic preparation including a Master's degree; and receive quantifiable evaluations of positive teaching quality.
Master Teacher candidates must teach full time for seven of the past ten years in the certified subject area and/or grade level and meet the State Board of Education’s professional criteria for quality teaching.