Routes to Obtaining Licensure

  • Overview of how to obtain licensure

    A license can be obtained by:

    • Completion of a state approved education program in an accredited college or university

    • Reciprocity

    • Lateral Entry/Provisional licensure

    • Emergency Permit

    Earning Licensure through a NC Approved Education Program


    Completion of an approved education program in an accredited college or university is the standard, preferred basis for licensure established by the State Board of Education (SBE). Such programs require SBE approval.They are designed by colleges and universities to follow specific standards prescribed by the state. These programs are competency based. The state does not mandate specific courses or number of credit hours. With the exception of career-technical education areas and Junior ROTC, approved education programs at various degree levels are offered for most areas of licensure.

    Stages of the application process

    Responsibility for efficient and correct application for a license is shared by

    the graduating student
    the student’s college or university, and
    the local education agency (LEA) where the student participated in a student teaching program

    The stages of the initial application follow:

    The local education agency (superintendent or designee) evaluates the success of the student teaching experience and verifies it on Form S (Student Teaching/Interning Performance: Evaluation by North Carolina Local Education Agency).
    The applicant fills out Form A (Application for a North Carolina License) and submits it to his or her institution of higher education (IHE).

    Applications can be obtained from the

    • IHE licensure officer

    • an LEA, or

    • the Licensure Section of the North Carolina DPI

    The IHE official sends the complete application packet to the Licensure Section.



    Reciprocal licensing allows educators from out-of-state to establish eligibility for licensing in NC.  Reciprocity applies to the extent that out-of-state education programs are equivalent to NC’s standards for approved education programs.  Reciprocity DOES NOT guarantee that all areas of licensure transfer directly from one state to another, but the applicant will receive the closest comparable NC license area.  Requirements specific to NC, such as testing for some licensure areas, are not covered by reciprocity and must be met before a clear NC license can be issued.

    States that have reciprocal contracts with NC:
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina
    New Hampshire
    New Jersey 
    New York 
    West Virginia
    Washington, D.C.

    How to apply for a North Carolina license (Click Here)

    The applicant for a North Carolina license must send the following information to the Licensure Section:

    Form A (Application for a North Carolina License)
    Form V-Verification by Institution: Completion of an Approved Education Program or a copy of the out-of-state license Verification of Highly Qualified (HQ) status if applicable
    Form E or NE (as appropriate) if the applicant has relevant experience
    Copies of certificates or licenses held in other states
    Original/Official transcripts (originals or legible, unaltered copies) that show type of degree and date awarded Official transcripts for all coursework being used for HQ purposes must be included with the application
    A Statement of “Highly Qualified” status may be required for certain licensure areas if not clearly indicated on the out-of-state license or through test scores
    Copies of the NTE/Praxis scores (if required for the license)
    North Carolina accepts out-of-state tests for teaching areas
    Fee $85

    Lateral Entry/Provisional Licensure

    What is Lateral Entry/Provisional Licensure?

    The lateral entry/provisional licensure policy allows skilled individuals outside of the public education system to enter the teaching profession. A lateral entry/provisional license entitles the holder to be employed by and serve as a teacher in the North Carolina schools while completing an approved program.  The Licensure Section authorizes lateral entry licenses on a provisional basis in licensure areas that correspond to the individual’s academic study. Lateral entry/provisional license holders are subject to the regulations that apply to other beginning teachers in North Carolina. Lateral entry/Provisionally licensed employees must meet program and testing requirements within three years.

    Length of license and annual requirements

    A lateral entry/provisional license is issued for three school years. By the end of the first year, the holder must have earned six semester hours; by the end of the second year, the holder must have earned a total of 12 semester hours. All required course work and the Praxis II specialty area exam (if applicable) must be met by the expiration date of the three-year license.  For a lateral entry license to remain valid, an individual must meet the testing and progressive credit requirements within the three-year limit, whether or not employment continues in a North Carolina school system.


    Eligibility Requirements

    To be eligible for lateral entry/provisional license, individuals must:

    1. Be selected for employment by a North Carolina school system; AND
    2. Hold at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the subject area in which they are employed to teach OR hold at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university AND have satisfied Praxis II testing requirements for the license area AND
    3. Have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5, OR
    4. Have five years of experience considered relevant by the LEA, OR
    5. Have passed the Praxis I exams, AND
    6. Have attained one of the following:
    • A GPA of at least 3.0 on all work completed in the senior year;
    • A GPA of at least 3.0 in the major; or
    • A GPA of at least 3.0 in a minimum of 15 semester hours of course work completed within the last 5 years after the bachelor’s degree


    Who is not eligible for lateral entry/provisional licensure?

    Graduates of approved programs who are not recommended for licensing by an IHE
    Individuals who have completed an approved teacher education program, but have not satisfied testing requirements (if applicable)

    How to acquire a lateral entry/provisional license

    The applicant and the employing school system submit a joint application to the Licensure Section. The application should include the following items:

    • Form A (Application for a North Carolina License)
    • Form LE (Request for a Lateral Entry License)
    • Form E or NE & RN (as appropriate) if the applicant has relevant experience
    • Original transcripts that show type of degree and date awarded
    • Praxis or ACTFL scores, if required for the license to be issued
    • Fee $85

    Lateral Entry/Provisional Licensure Requirements

    When a lateral entry/provisional license holder completes an approved IHE teacher education program or SBE approved alternative licensure program and any other licensing requirements, the IHE, RALC (Regional Alternative Licensure Center) or local education agency (LEA) with a State Board approved teacher preparation program submits a recommendation to the Licensure Section to clear the license.

    Individuals licensed through lateral entry must meet the following requirements:


    • Complete an approved teacher education program in his/her area of licensure at a college or university,


    • A program of study prescribed by the Regional Alternative Licensure Center (RALC) with a cumulative GPA of

       2.5 or greater,

    One year of successful teaching experience in the license area (verified by the LEA) can substitute for the student teaching requirement,
    At least 6 cumulative semester hours of required coursework must be completed annually. All required coursework must be completed within the 3-year period.
    If you are interested in obtaining a plan of study from the RALC, please contact your Staffing Specialist.
    Application for RALC
    To view sample plans of study or for more information regarding the RALC click here.


    Complete a State Board of Education Approved Teacher Education preparation program offered by a local education agency (LEA).  Guilford County Schools Alternative Certification Track (GCS-ACT) is Guilford County Schools’ approved program.  To learn more about GCS-ACT Click here


    Earn the required score on the designated Praxis II or ACTFL specialty area test or subject assessment if the exam(s) was/were not the basis of qualifying for the license.


    Completion of a staff development program that includes a two-week training course prior to beginning the work assignment. The training must include:

    • lesson planning,
    • classroom organization,
    • classroom management, including positive management of student behavior, effective communication for defusing and deescalating disruptive or dangerous behavior, and safe and appropriate use of seclusion and restraint,
    • an overview of the ABCs program, including the standard course of study and end-of-grade and end-of course testing, and
      the identification and education of children with disabilities.
    • Complete the Beginning Teacher Support Program

    Lateral Entry Accelerated Track

    Individuals who possess five or more years of experience considered relevant by the LEA, and who satisfy testing requirements (currently Praxis II) for the licensure area within the first year of teaching, shall be issued a Standard

    Professional I License upon:

    • Completion of the NC TEACH modules or the equivalent through an approved teacher education program:

    1) The Teacher, The Learner, and The School;

    2) Diversity;

    3) Content Area Pedagogy.

    (Note: The NC TEACH modules are offered and administered through NC colleges and universities with approved teacher education programs.) AND

    • Completion of the NC TEACH module on Instructional Technology or the equivalent through an approved teacher education program, community college, or through professional development offered by the LEA; AND

    • Completion of one year of successful teaching, verified by the employing LEA.


    Emergency Permits

    Who can request an emergency permit?

    An LEA Superintendent or designee may request an emergency permit to practice for a teacher by submitting a statement of critical need.

    Eligibility - To be eligible for an emergency permit to practice an individual must:

    hold at least a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university
    not qualify for a license under any other licensure approach 

    Length of validity - An emergency permit to practice may be issued only for the remainder of the current school year.

    Extensions - No extensions are available for an Emergency Permit to Practice.

    How to apply - The applicant and the employing school district submit a joint application to the Licensure Section. The application should include the following items:

    Form A (Application for a North Carolina License)
    Form EP (Emergency Permit to Practice)
    Original transcripts that show type of degree and date awarded.
    Fee $85

    Note: The Emergency Permit to Practice is issued at the A-00 pay level (Bachelors level with no experience) only.