Requirements for licensure and certification vary from state to state. Completion of a bachelor's degree is a baseline requirement to teach an academic subject (e.g., math, science, English) in all states. However, a bachelor's degree may not be required for career/technical education (e.g., electronics, automotive, computer networking).
Requirements generally include:
- Obtaining a bachelor's degree
- Completing a teacher preparation program
- Student teaching
- Background check
- State testing
Praxis® tests are taken by individuals entering the teaching profession as part of the certification process required by many states and professional licensing organizations. The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, DANTES, offers funding for eligible service members taking this exam. Visit DANTES to learn more about Praxis funding for service members.
Formal teacher preparation programs are typically hosted by appropriately accredited state approved institutions that lead to licensure in K-12 public education content areas (e.g. math, science). In most states, such programs are referred to as “traditional routes to certification.”
Alternative Routes to Certification are non-traditional teacher preparation pathways designed for those individuals who have not completed a formal teacher preparation program at an appropriately accredited institution but wish to obtain necessary training to become a state certified teacher. Education and work experience requirements may apply for specific areas of interest.
Reciprocity is a system whereby a recommendation for licensure from a state-approved education training program at an accredited college or university is recognized in another state. However, teacher certification reciprocity is a somewhat misleading term, which is why the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) arranged the interstate agreement.
The NASDTEC Interstate Agreement facilitates the mobility of educators among the states and other jurisdictions. The interstate agreement is a collection of over 50 individual agreements by states and Canadian provinces. Each individual "agreement" is a statement by that state or jurisdiction outlining which other states' educator certificates will be accepted by that state. Specifically the agreement outlines which particular types of educator certificates (teachers, administrators, service personnel, or career/technical), and which particular styles of certifications (titles, fields, etc.) will be accepted.
Such an "acceptance" agreement means that the "receiving" state will issue some form of authorization allowing the inbound certificate holder to legally teach or provide service in the receiving state, provided the license issued by the "sending" state is acceptable under the agreement. This authorization may be limited in time by the receiving state, and the receiving state may impose additional requirements which need to be accomplished before the educator can teach or practice after the end of the time limit. Visit NASDTEC for specific state-by-state requirements.