Find an Education Path For Teaching in
North Carolina, (NC)

North Carolina needs teachers and is committed to hiring a diverse teaching workforce. If you want to be a teacher in this state, certain steps must be followed. The first step depends on the level of education and training you have when you embark on the journey toward reaching your goal. Please choose the highest level of education you have reached, and we will advise you as to the steps you should take as you progress towards a teaching career in North Carolina.

Choose Your Highest Level of Education

The information below will guide you as you decide on the path you need to take to become a teacher in North Carolina.

If You Have a High School Diploma or a GED

High school students who want to be teachers are encouraged to become involved in programs such as North Carolina Teacher Cadet and Future Educators of America, which provide information and support for future teachers. This type of preparation, along with talking to advisors, can suggest different routes that lead to becoming a licensed teacher. High school graduates who have earned a diploma or a GED certificate are qualified to apply for admission to two-year or community colleges or four-year universities. Bachelor’s degree programs in teaching or education require graduation from high school, and may ask for a minimum GPA and score on an entrance exam, such as the SAT or ACT.

  1. Learn about accredited schools that offer Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees focusing on education, specific academic content areas or student populations.
  2. Decide what grade level and subject area you are interested in teaching.
  3. Contact colleges that fit your needs, and request information to help you make a decision about what school to attend and what degree program to pursue.

If You Have Completed Some College or Earned an Associate’s Degree

Associate degrees and certificates issued by two-year and community colleges offer students a variety of academic and career options. Early Childhood Education Certificate programs include courses in education and child development, plus a practicum that allows prospective educators to experience teaching young children. Education Certificate and some Associate degree programs provide training for students to begin working with young children as soon as they complete their coursework. An Associate degree can also provide credits and general education classes that satisfy core requirements and some prerequisites that students can use to transfer into a Bachelor’s degree program.

  1. North Carolina offer some college transfer programs that consist of courses designed to fulfill requirements of the first two years of a bachelor’s degree, including a general education core classes and additional semester-hours of transferable credit. Some of these programs represent partnerships between North Carolina-accredited community colleges and universities. They allow students to take courses that help them easily transfer into a teacher education program at a four-year institution.
  2. Investigate various state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs to find out which ones will accept transfer credits from the college you attended. Contact the schools that interest you to request more information.
  3. Some aspiring teachers, who have earned Associate Degrees or Credentials in Early Childhood Education, choose to seek employment shortly after graduation. A certificate or Associate degree in Early Childhood Education, may qualify you to begin working as a teaching assistant or child caretaker with infants, toddlers and pre-school children at Head Start, preschools, childcare organizations or before- and after-school programs.

If You Have a Bachelor’s Degree

Earning a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university is mandatory in order to apply for a North Carolina Professional Educator’s License. Your Bachelor’s degree major should be in the subject area, grade level and/or specialty you hope to teach. All states require that prospective teachers complete a bachelor’s degree program, an accredited teacher preparation program and all requirements mandated by the state in which they wish to teach. If students have a Bachelor’s degree when they decide to pursue a teaching career, the next steps toward licensing are determined by the undergraduate major they have completed.

  1. If you have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in conjunction with an accredited Teacher Preparation Program, you have already fulfilled essential academic and teacher preparation requirements. Teacher Preparation Programs include coursework and classroom observations, fieldwork, and student teaching. Successful completion of all degree and teacher preparation requirements will qualify you to apply for a teaching certificate or license in North Carolina.
  2. North Carolina requires beginning teaching candidates to take and pass all three areas of the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests. These exams measure basic skills in reading, writing and mathematics to determine whether prospective educators have the academic skills necessary to prepare for a teaching career. Some colleges and universities use thePraxis Itests to evaluate individuals for entry into teacher education programs. The Praxis II Content and Knowledge Assessment tests are required for each of the specific subject areas that aspiring Middle and Secondary school educators plan to teach. Elementary educators must pass the Praxis II Elementary Education: Instructional Practice and Applicationsexam.
  3. Receiving a Bachelor’s degree with a major in liberal studies can be an important step toward certification as an Elementary level teacher. Some certification programs recommend the Liberal Arts major, because it prepares educators to teach in the many different subject areas taught in Elementary school classrooms.
  4. If you received your Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in the specific subject you wish to teach, you may have already satisfied some certificate programs’ recommended academic requirements. Majoring in a specific subject taught at the secondary school level prepares individuals to become endorsed or qualified to teach high school and middle school classes in that content area.
  5. Aspiring teachers who have not earned a Bachelor’s degree in Education must take different paths than students who earned their B.A. degrees in Teaching-related fields. Alternative licensing paths offer three options: Students who wish to complete their coursework before they begin teaching may enroll in a license-only program. Others can enroll in a Master of Teaching (MAT) degree program, offered in conjunction with Teacher Preparation curricula. Students who want to teach, while they complete their coursework, may choose to follow the “lateral entry” path that offers programs that recruit, prepare and hire professionals and recent college graduates who are committed to teaching high need subject areas in high need school districts North Carolina.
  6. Although requirements vary from university to university, each program of study, whether in-class or online, must meet the North Carolina State Board of Education standards. North Carolina requires teaching candidates to complete the following steps: earn a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, complete a state-approved Teacher Preparation program, satisfy student teaching hours, pass Praxis I and Praxis II exams, receive recommendations from professors and supervisors, and submit a complete application. Successfully completing these steps will qualify you to receive a Standard Professional 1 Educator’s License for teachers with zero to two years of teaching experience. This license is valid for three years and will allow you to teach within your specialty in a North Carolina public school.

If You Have a Master’s Degree or are in a Master’s Degree program

North Carolina-accredited colleges and universities offer numerous Master’s in Education degree programs, both on campus and online. Prospective teachers can select from degrees, such as the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT); the Master of Arts (M.A.) the Master of Arts in Education (MA.Ed) or the Master of Education (M.Ed.) Most graduate teaching degrees include both academic coursework and an approved Teacher Preparation Program. Fulfilling all requirements of these combined programs will culminate in a Master’s degree plus eligibility to apply for the North Carolina Professional Educator’s License. Graduates who have already earned their Master’s degree and teaching license may choose to continue their academic education. Some decide to pursue a Doctoral degree, such as Ph.D. in Culture, Curriculum and Change or in Early Childhood, Special Education, and Literacy Education, or a Doctorate of Education in (Ed.D.) in Curriculum and Instruction.

  1. Accredited universities with graduate programs in education offer a range of Master’s degrees that can lead you to a teaching license and a career as an educator. Master of Arts or Master of Science in Education, or Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees may be offered concurrently with aTeacher Preparation program that is required for certification. You may also have the opportunity to focus on Elementary or Secondary Education, with an emphasis on the subject area you hope to teach.
  2. When you are ready to begin your teaching career, you must demonstrate that you have completed all requirements for certification or licensure. These steps include finishing required academic coursework, completing an approved Teacher Preparation Program, passing mandated tests, and fulfilling student teaching hours. The next step is to apply for your teaching certificate and begin searching for a job in the education field. Contact the North Carolina Department of Education to request an application.
  3. Some people who have earned a Master’s degree in Education may decide to continue their education and pursue a doctoral degree. Earning an Educational Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) or a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) may increase your opportunities for a better job and a higher income. Gathering information about available doctorate degrees in your field or specialty will provide the information necessary to discover the best university and education program to meet your needs.