1. Licensure - Only Student
  2. Students* who are not employed as a teacher by a public school, but have earned at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university (see Regional Accredition at the bottom of this page) may enroll as post-baccalaureate licensure-only candidates to earn a Professional Educators License before beginning a teaching career. These candidates receive a plan of study from a college/university to attain teacher licensure, and might typically complete a program of approximately 30 credit hours (may vary widely depending on the relationship between the area of teacher licensure sought and the degree earned previously) that includes a series of:

    • Professional Education Courses
    • Pedagogy Courses
    • Content Courses
      (possibly - dependent on the relationship of the area of licensure sought and the degree earned previously)

    * Students are referred to as candidates after admission into an Educator Preparation Program.


  3. Residency License
  4. Students who have earned at least a bachelor’sdegree from a regionally accredited college or university (see Regional Accreditation at the bottom of this page) with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 may be offered employment to teach if certain additional criteria are met. Prospects must first gain employment with a school system AND affiliate with an Educator Preparation Program (EPP)** before the employing school system can apply for the new teacher’s Residency License. The Residency License is valid for one year, with up to two additional annual renewals by the employing LEA, by the end of which all required course work and testing must be completed. Employment in teaching and continued affiliation with an EPP must be maintained to keep the license in good standing. Candidates receive a plan of study from an EPP to attain a clear teacher license and may generally complete a program of approximately 30 credit hours (may vary) that includes a series of:

    • Professional Education Courses
    • Pedagogy Courses
    • Content Courses (possibly)

    ** EPP - An institution or organization that prepares, trains and recommends students for teacher licensure. Four-year universities or colleges are the most common EPPs, but some approved programs are not institutionally affiliated. With some EPPs, courses may not carry college credit but will still lead to a recommendation for teacher licensure. Please be sure to use a North Carolina approved Educator Preparation Program .


  5. Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program
  6. A graduate degree and licensure program for those who have already earned a bachelor’s degree (appropriate for residency license teachers, mid-career changers from fields other than education, etc.). The program in general, may require approximately 40 semester hours and is composed of professional education, pedagogy, and content area courses. There are typically two phases in the program. The initial licensure phase may end with a college/university recommendation of the candidate for an A-level (initial level) license. It is followed by a second phase that concludes with the candidate receiving the master’s degree and being recommended for an M-level (master’s degree level) license.


  7. Undergraduate Student
  8. Students/candidates* who are enrolled as undergraduates seeking a degree with teacher licensure complete approximately 120-130 credit hours at a regionally accredited college/university that includes a series of:

    • General Education Courses - English, math, science, social studies, P.E., and art for example
    • Professional Education Courses - developmental and educational psychology, content area reading, and foundations of education for example
    • Pedagogy Courses - courses related to the strategies, organization, and techniques for teaching a given subject (ex. EDU 000 Materials and Methods of Teaching Secondary Science or ex. EDU 000 Student Teaching in the Elementary School)
    • Content Courses - courses related to the content that the candidate will teach in public schools; (ex. candidates pursuing a degree with science licensure may take content courses in biology, chemistry, physical science, virology etc.)
    • Elective Courses - additional courses that may be required by the college or university to complete degree graduation requirements


Regional Accreditation - refers to the process by which one of six accrediting bodies, each serving one of six defined geographic areas of the country, accredits schools, colleges, and universities. Each regional accreditor encompasses the vast majority of public and nonprofit private educational institutions in the region it serves (see below the list of regional accrediting bodies for colleges and universities).