Key dates:

  • Current = Residency Model is active now (*see below for more information as well as the “EPP Updates” tab on this website)
  • 30 June 2019 = Last date to be issued a Lateral Entry License
  • 30 June 2022 = Last date to fulfill all requirements if issued a Lateral Entry License by 30 June 2019 or earlier

The North Carolina State Board of Education (§ 115C.270.20) recognizes traditional pathways to licensure and educator preparation through EPP training programs offered as a part of Undergraduate, Graduate, and Specialist training programs. In addition, the North Carolina State Board of Education seeks to provide alternative pathways to licensure for roles within the K-12 schools that may not be embedded within a traditional degree program. More information about all available licenses and pathways may be found in North Carolina legislation (§ 115C.270.20) as well as in North Carolina State Board of Education licensure policy LICN-001. Please refer to the Policy and Legislation updates within the “EPP Updates” section of this website.

Lateral entry is an "alternate" pathway to teaching for qualified individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in an area of need for local school districts. Lateral entry allows qualified individuals to obtain a teaching position and begin teaching in a classroom while obtaining a professional educator's license as they teach. The NC Department of Public Instruction authorizes lateral entry professional educator's licenses in areas that correspond to the individual's academic study.

The State Board of Education is phasing out the “Lateral Entry Pathway.” This pathway will no longer be offered effective June 30, 2019. Consistent with the process for this pathway, all candidates issued courses of study connected to a lateral entry license on or before June 30, 2019 will have three years to finish that work. The entire lateral entry route will formally close and all candidates employed under this license option must have all requirements satisfied as of June 20, 2022. Candidates may work with a North Carolina Regional Alternative Licensing Center (RALC) or contact the NC DPI Licensure Section for more assistance with the Lateral Entry license pathway.

As stated in General Statute, “any professional educator license issued by the State Board of Education prior to the effective date of this act shall continue in effect until the expiration of that license. The State Board of Education may continue to issue lateral entry licenses for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years in accordance with State Board Policy LICN-001” (Reference § 115C.270.25 & Section 3.(d)).

The lateral entry pathway will be replaced by the “Residency Model” pathway (§ 115C.270.20.a.5). The residency model is currently available for those interested (please see below for the specific requirements for this license pathway).

The Residency License as defined in (§ 115C.270.20.a.5) as:

A one-year license, renewable twice, that meets both of the following requirements:

  1. Is requested by the local board of education and accompanied by a certification of supervision from the recognized educator preparation program in which the individual is enrolled.
  2. The individual for whom the license is requested meets all of the following requirements:
    1. Holds a bachelor's degree.
    2. Has either completed coursework relevant to the requested licensure area or passed the content area examination relevant to the requested licensure area that has been approved by the State Board.
    3. Is enrolled in a recognized educator preparation program.
    4. Meets all other requirements established by the State Board, including completing preservice requirements prior to teaching.

Resources to assist:

NCDPI Licensure


The following summarizes recent questions that have been received by the NC DPI Educator Preparation division with regards to interpretation and implementation of the policies and legislation related to licensure pathways in North Carolina. Additional information related to licensure may also be found on the Licensure Sections webpage. We will update this list of Q&A’s, as relevant based on the frequency of the questions being asked. If your question has additional details that are more specific than the broad general questions and answers provided below, please contact us. Contact email information may be found on the “NCDPI Educator Preparation Directory” tab of our website . We hope this is helpful to folks in the field, and please continue to share your questions with us to inform good work across the state.

Q: I don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Am I able to use the Residency License Model (or a different license pathway) to work on completing my bachelor’s degree and my teacher training requirements?

A: No. To be eligible for any of the license pathway options for teacher preparation and training in North Carolina (permit to practice, emergency license, residency license model, or lateral entry) a bachelor’s degree or higher in an area of need is required.

Q: I am an LEA interested to hire a teacher candidate at my school to fill a need, and they currently hold a bachelor’s degree. However, their degree and major was not in the subject matter area that I need to hire them. The individual has already affiliated with a local EPP and started their process to complete the required teacher training specific to the subject area we would like to hire them for. Which licensure pathway is best for me to use when I prepare and submit my endorsement paperwork for this teacher at my school?

A: It depends. This is an example where there are multiple options available to consider.

The best place to start with this question is to first clarify is exactly how many credit hours of course work in the content area have been completed by the individual as this will help to determine which license pathway the individual may “enter” the process at. The Permit to Practice, the Emergency License, and the Residency License all have different requirements for content area course work completed. The Residency License pathway also requires affiliation with an EPP, which this scenario satisfies. While neither the Permit to Practice nor the Emergency License require an EPP affiliation (reference LICN-001, 1.90 & 2.00), a candidate may choose to be affiliated with an EPP. All three pathways will guide a teacher candidate towards earning their Initial Professional Licensure (IPL). Once all IPL requirements have been satisfied, reference LICN-022 for more information regarding license conversion requirements to a Continuing Professional Licensure.

Q: A teacher holds an IPL or a CPL now. They are interested in switching their role to a support personnel role and/or administrative track. Can the teacher use the Residency Model as an alternative pathway to seek the required license for practice in a student services support personnel role and/or an administrative position?

A: The training, requirements, degrees, and minimum admissions requirements for student support services and administrators are different than teacher education. Residency Model (Emergency License, and Permit to Practice) are all specific to support teacher candidates. Individuals seeking to explore student support roles and administrative roles are encouraged to review State Board Policy LICN-001 for the detailed licensure requirements, and this summary list of approved programs in North Carolina

NC Student Support Personnel & Administrative Programs List
(pdf, 30kb)

Q: Which licensure pathways require affiliation/enrollment in an approved EPP for teacher education training?

A: A “traditional” teacher preparation training where a candidate matriculates with an Institution of Higher Education and completes the required training affiliated with that EPP throughout as a part of their degree completion. The Residency License pathway also requires EPP affiliation for the duration the Residency License is held (between 1 year to 3 years).

Initial Professional License and Continual Professional Licenses do not require EPP affiliation as individuals eligible for these licenses have already completed approved teacher training programs. Emergency License and Permits to Practice do not require EPP affiliation to be eligible, although individuals may choose to affiliate with an EPP while working under either of these licenses to support their continued professional training and growth as a teacher.

Teacher Education Training EPP Affiliation Requirement Grid

EPP Affiliation Required while completing these pathways EPP Affiliation Optional while completing these pathways EPP Affiliation Not Required while holding these licenses
  • Traditional pathways for training through an IHE & EPP
  • Residency License Pathway
  • Emergency License Pathway
  • Permit to Practice Pathway
  • Initial Professional Licensure
  • Continuing Professional Licensure

For more information reference LICN-001: General Licensure Requirements.

Q: Are Regional Alternative Licensing Centers (RALCs) still options for seeking licensure with lateral entry this upcoming year?

A: Yes. RALCs continue to be options for individuals seeking licensure through alternative pathways. RALCs will offer programs of study for lateral entry pathways leading to licensure until June 30, 2019. RALCs will continue from that point forward to support lateral entry candidates through June 30, 2022.

Q: Do EPPs need to be aware of any changes to the Clinical practice experience requirements (e.g., Internships) with the new licensure pathways described in legislation and policy?

A: No. The requirements for the clinical field experience remain the same as stated in law regardless of the licensing pathway the individual has chosen. Please refer to Session Law 2017-189, Senate Bill 599 § 115C-269.25. Clinical partnerships and practice in educator preparation programs.