Questions and Answers
Who needs a license in North Carolina?
All professional employees of public schools must hold a license for the subject or grade level they teach or for the professional assignment they hold.
In what areas are licenses issued?
Licenses are issued in administrative, supervisory, student service, and teaching areas. Teaching areas encompass birth through kindergarten, elementary (K-6), middle grades (6-9), secondary grades (9-12), special subjects (K-12), exceptional children (K-12), and vocational education. (See the complete list of individual areas below.)
How do I qualify for a North Carolina license?
The standard basis for license is the completion of an approved education program at an accredited college or university. Must out-of-state applicants qualify through reciprocity plans that allow educators from outside North Carolina to establish eligibility for licensing in North Carolina,
North Carolina recognizes four teacher education and reciprocal licensing approaches:
completion of an education program accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
completion of an education program that follows National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) standards
reciprocity based on interstate agreements (North Carolina has reciprocal contracts with Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.)
completion of a state-approved program not accredited by NCATE, approved through the interstate agreement, or based on NASDTEC guidelines.
How does reciprocity work? Am I eligible for the same areas of licensure that I hold in a reciprocal state?
Reciprocity applies to the extent that out-of-state education programs are equivalent to the standards and guidelines of North Carolina's approved education programs. Reciprocity does not guarantee that all areas of licensure will transfer directly from one state to another, but you will be awarded the closest comparable North Carolina areas. In some cases, North Carolina grade levels differ from those on the license you hold from a reciprocal state, and such a difference may be reflected on your license.
Certain requirements specific to North Carolina, such as the Praxis Series testing requirement, are not covered by reciprocity and must be met before a clear North Carolina license can be issued.
What tests do I need to obtain a North Carolina license?
The Praxis Series is the standard testing requirement for licensing in North Carolina. First-time applicants for a North Carolina license must meet the minimum scores in effect at the time they apply, regardless of the score in effect at the time they take a test.
First-time license holders must take the Professional Knowledge test of the NTE Core Battery and an NTE specialty area test or Praxis II subject assessment (see list of testing requirements on page 16). Individuals are required to take only one specialty area test or subject assessment for their first North Carolina license, even if they are eligible for more than one area of licensure.
Can any other tests be substituted for the Praxis Series?
You may submit GRE scores instead of Praxis scores for your first North Carolina license. Scores of 390 for verbal ability and 400 for quantitative ability are required for exams taken before or on September 30, 1977. For GREs taken on or after October 1, 1977, the score requirements are 380 for verbal ability, 410 for quantitative ability, and 380 for analytical ability.
The GRE is the only allowable substitute for the Praxis Series.
May I apply for a license if I have not met the testing requirement?
Yes. You will be given your first school year of employment in a North Carolina school to earn the necessary test scores.
If I am eligible for a North Carolina license but am not employed in a North Carolina school, what type of document will I receive when my application is approved?
Out-of-state applicants who are eligible for a North Carolina license but not employed in a North Carolina school are issued a statement of eligibility that is valid indefinitely. This statement lists the areas in which the applicant is qualified to teach or serve in North Carolina public schools. Once an individual is employed in a North Carolina school system, the Licensure Section evaluates the person's record for possible deficiencies (e.g., test scores or credit to establish a renewal cycle), determines his or her experience level, and issues a license. The license holder then has his or her first school year of employment to meet any deficiencies.
If I am employed in a North Carolina school, what type of license will I receive when my application is approved?
If you are required to meet a testing requirement or to earn academic credit to establish a renewal cycle, you will receive a temporary license valid for one school year to give you time to meet those requirements.
If you have met all basic requirements for a North Carolina license, you will be issued either an initial or a continuing license. Experienced teachers (those having at least two years of experience in a public school) are issued continuing licenses, which have a five-year renewal cycle and must be renewed at the end of that cycle to remain valid. Inexperienced teachers and teachers from states not having a reciprocal licensing agreement with North Carolina are issued initial licenses valid for two years until they complete an Initial Licensure Program through a North Carolina school system.
Will my previous experience be credited to my North Carolina license?
Yes. Properly documented professional experience in an out-of-state school unit is creditable under the same criteria as experience in a North Carolina school.
The following guidelines determine the eligibility of experience as a professional educator:
Service as a tutor, clerical paraprofessional, or substitute teacher is not recognized for experience credit.
Service as an instructional teaching assistant qualifies for experience increments only if that service occurred after an individual was qualified for licensure and only if instructional teaching responsibilities made up at least fifty percent of daily activities. One increment of experience is awarded for the first year as an instructional teaching assistant and one increment for each two years of service thereafter.
Credit for professional school experience is calculated according to these rules:
To earn a year of experience credit, an individual must have worked full time in a school unit for not less than six calendar months within one fiscal year (July 1 through June 30), excluding experience in a one-teacher private school.
One increment of experience can also be earned by part-time work (at least fifteen hours per week) in a school unit if the experience is equivalent to six calendar months of full-time employment during the fiscal year.
Partial years of full-time or part-time experience can be combined for experience increments; e.g., two years of part-time work (at least fifteen hours per week) can be combined for an experience increment; full-time experience of less than six calendar months in any fiscal year can be combined with another partial year of full-time work to earn an experience increment.
Experience credit for a single year served in two or more school administrative units is allowed unless the Superintendent of Public Instruction has been advised that the person's contract was willfully breached during the school year.
Credit for college teaching experience is calculated as follows: teaching two courses (six semester hours or class hours) is considered half-time work; teaching four courses (twelve semester hours or class hours) is considered full-time work.
In certain cases, nonteaching experience qualifies for experience increments:
Experience in a public agency or in the private sector that is directly related to an individual's area of licensure and occurs after the individual has earned a degree can qualify for experience increments (one year for each twelve months of full-time [forty hours per week] employment). For example, an individual licensed to teach science or chemistry could be awarded one experience increment for twelve calendar months of work as a chemist. To be creditable, the experience must have been earned after an individual completed the formal training or degree program required to perform the duties and responsibilities of the job. Only experience earned at or after age eighteen is considered.
Vocational or technical work experience qualifies for experience increments (one year for each twelve months of full-time [forty hours per week] employment) if the experience is directly related to the vocational area on an individual's license. Experience is creditable if earned after an individual completed the formal training or degree program necessary to perform the duties and responsibilities of the job. Only experience earned at or after age eighteen is considered.
Will my North Carolina license ever have to be renewed?
Yes. Continuing North Carolina licenses are valid for five years. To maintain a current license, the holder must earn ten semester hours or fifteen units of renewal credit during each five-year cycle, with all credit earned by the expiration date of the license. If the license expires, the same requirement for renewal or reinstatement applies: ten semester hours or fifteen units of renewal credit earned within a five-year period. [A unit of renewal credit is equivalent to one quarter hour or one in-service credit from a North Carolina public school system.]
Each license holder is responsible for knowing and satisfying license renewal requirements. Failure to renew a license makes one ineligible for employment.
You should remember the following information about renewal requirements:
The Licensure Section cannot accept renewal credits in units of less than one credit per course. Course work must be directly related to license holders' professional responsibilities as public school educators (e.g., classes in computers; reading; exceptional children; sign language; drug, alcohol, or child abuse; CPR; first aid; classroom management; stress management; assertiveness training; Newspapers in the Classroom; education; effective teacher training; second languages; and AIDS education) or to their areas of licensure.
License holders employed in a North Carolina public school unit (or a nonpublic school authorized to administer staff development programs) should contact their superintendent, headmaster, or designated staff development coordinator about all renewal questions and recording of credits earned. Local units establish official procedures for planning in-service courses or workshops and also maintain records of renewal credit earned by their employees.
License holders not currently employed in a North Carolina public school unit (or in a nonpublic school authorized to administer staff development programs) should follow one or more of the following routes to earning renewal credits:
College or university courses. Individuals may take courses through any accredited college or university, including technical and community colleges. One quarter hour is the equivalent of one unit of renewal credit. One semester hour is equivalent to 1.5 renewal credits. Submit original transcripts (or legible, unaltered copies) as documentation; grade reports are not accepted.
Local courses or workshops. With approval of the superintendent or governing board, individuals may earn credit through any local school unit in North Carolina on a space available basis. The administrative unit provides official documentation of course completion and credits earned.
Classes or workshops approved by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The sponsoring agency verities course completion and credits earned (usually by certificate).
Teaching experience. Individuals earn one unit of renewal credit for each year of full-time teaching during the five-year period preceding application for renewal or reinstatement. Part-time experience can be considered for renewal credit only if it amounts to the equivalent of one year of full-time teaching; e.g., two full years of half-time teaching would earn one unit of renewal credit. Nonteaching experience does not qualify for renewal credit.
How do I apply for a position in the North Carolina public schools?
You should apply directly to the North Carolina school unit of your choice. A complete list of units, addresses, phone numbers, and FAX numbers is included.
Employment is handled through local school units. Licenses and statements of eligibility, however, are awarded only through the Department of Public Instruction.
How do I contact the Licensure Section?
Because of the tremendous volume of phone calls coming in each day to the Licensure Section, it is often difficult to reach us. You are encouraged to make your inquiries in writing and address them to the
Department of Public Instruction
301 North Wilmington Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601-2825.
Two 24-hour-a-day phone numbers are available for inquiries: 919-733-0377 outside North Carolina and 1-800-884-TCHR within North Carolina. These numbers connect you to a voice response unit, not the Licensure office itself. If you feel that speaking with someone in the Licensure office is imperative, you may call 919-733-4125 (outside North Carolina) or 1-800-577-7994 (within North Carolina) between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
How to Apply for Eligibility as a Professional Educator in North Carolina
Before you begin...
Please read and follow these instructions carefully. Doing so will ensure a prompt response to your application. Incomplete applications will be returned to you.
Step 1. Complete Form A (Application for a North Carolina License) following page 8.
+ Fill in complete name, beginning with your last (no initials please).
+ Give complete address, including zip code.
+ Write in your social security number. This number will serve as your license number.
+ Fill in your date of birth (month, day, year).
+ Write in your telephone number in case the Licensure Section needs to contact you
about your application.
+ Check the correct box for sex and race. (This information is used for statistical purposes only.)
Racial and ethnic categories are defined as follows:
+ American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut. A person who has origins in any of the original peoples of North America and maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or
+ Asian or Pacific Islander. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the FarEast, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands. This category includes, for example, China, India, Japan, Korea, the Philippine Islands, and Samoa.
+ African-American. A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.
+ Hispanic. A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish origin or culture.
+ Caucasian. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, or the Middle East.
+ Indicate the area(s) of licensure for which you are qualified and wish to apply.
+ Answer the questions under Statement of Applicant. Your application will not be evaluated without this information. An answer of "yes" does not automatically exclude a person from obtaining a license.
+ Sign the application. Your signature certifies that the information provided is correct and true. Falsification of any statement or document is grounds for revocation of a license.
+ Write in the date of your application.
Step 2. Collect documentation to support your application.
+ Transcripts. Submit transcripts for each of your degrees and any postdegree credits. Each degree transcript must indicate the type of degree and the date it was earned. You may submit original transcripts or legible, unaltered copies.
+ Certificates or licenses from other states. Send a legible, unaltered copy (front and back) of certificates or licenses you hold in other states. Both current and expired licenses are acceptable.
+ University recommendation (Form V, Verification by Institution: Completion of Approved Program). If you do not hold a certificate or license from another state, you must have this form completed by the university where you finished your education program. You should also submit this form if you think there may be any question about the areas listed on your other certificates or licenses.
+ Test scores. Official NTE or GRE scores (or legible, unaltered copies) should be provided if you have already taken one or both of these tests. If you have not, you may submit your application without test scores and take the appropriate tests when you are employed in North Carolina.
+ Verification of experience (Form E). If you have professional experience that you wish to have credited to your North Carolina experience rating, you should submit a Form E for each present or former employer. These forms must be completed and signed by the employer.
Step 3. Assemble your application materials in the order listed in Step 2.
Step 4. Place the processing fee ($65) on top of the application materials. (Send personal check money order or certified check made payable to the Department of Public Instruction.)
A final reminder...
Submit all of your application materials together in one package. You will be charged an extra processing fee for any material submitted separately from the application package.
Please do not fold down corners of pages or use staples or paper clips to organize your materials. Doing so will slow down the automated application process and delay your response. Simply place the unfolded individual pages of your application in the enclosed envelope.
Application materials are destroyed after being scanned into computer files. If you wish to have any or all of your materials returned to you, please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your application packet.
Areas of Licensure
Special Service Personnel (not valid for teaching)
School Administrator - Superintendent*
School Administrator - Principal **
Curriculum Instructional Specialist**
Instructional Technology Specialist - Computers**
Vocational Director* *
Program Administrator (Exceptional Children)**
School Social Worker
Speech-Language Pathologist* *
Birth through Kindergarten
Elementary Education (grades K-6)
Elementary Second Language Endorsement
(must attach to full licensure in an elementary area)
Middle Grades (grades 6-9)
Academic: Language Arts
Vocational: Agriculture Business
Secondary (grades 9-12)
Endorsements (must attach to full licensing in another area)
computer education japanese
principles of technology
Social Studies (comprehensive)
Special Subject Areas (grades K-12)
English as a Second Language French German
Instructional Technology Specialist
Safety and Driver Education
Cross Categorical (mild-moderate handicapped)
Specific Learning Disabilities
Health Occupations Education
Industrial Cooperative Training
Career Development Coordinator
Trade Preparatory Programs
auto body repair, automotive or diesel repair,
cosmetology, electrical trades, electronics,
graphics and industrial communication (printing),
industrial maintenance, masonry,
mechanical systems (heating, air conditioning,
refrigeration, or plumbing), metals manufacture
(machine shop), technical drafting, textiles,
Vocational Business Education
Vocational Business Education--Data Processing
* Issued only at sixth year (educational specialist) level or above
** Issued only at master's level or above
Testing Requirements for the North Carolina License
(NTE Praxis Series-effective July 1, 1995)
Area of Licensure Code Required Required
Special Service Personnel
School Administrator - Superintendent 011 PK* & 10410 590 School Administrator - Principal 012 PK & 10410* 590 Curriculum-Instructional Specialist 113 PK & 10410* 590 Instructional Technology Specialist 077 PK & 10410* 590 Computers Media Supervisor 078 PK & 10410* 590 Vocational Director 711 PK & 10410* 590 Program Administrator 88099 PK & 10410* 590 Exceptional Children Counselor 005 20420* 570 School Social Worker 006 none n/a School Psychologist 026 10400* 620 Audiology 88003 PK & 10340* 590 Speech-Language Pathologist 88082 10330* 550 Preschool/Elementary Birth through Kindergarten 014 PK n/a Elementary (K-6) 025 PK & 20010* 20010=540 or 10020 10020=530 Middle Grades Language Arts 78180 PK & 0040** & 0043** 319(total score) Mathematics 78200 PK & 10060* 530 Science 78300 PK & 433** & 483** 311(total score) Social Studies 78400 PK & 81 ** & 82** 319(total score) Agriculture 78700 PK n/a Business 78760 PK n/a Health Occupations 78720 PK n/a Home Economics 78710 PK n/a Marketing 78730 PK n/a Technology 78820 PK n/a Secondary Anthropology 433 PK &81**, 82**, & 83** 509(total score) Bible 905 PK n/a Biology 310 PK & 0231**, 0233**, 475(total score) & 0234** Business Education 600 PK & 10100* 580 Chemistry 330 PK & 0241**, 0242**, 476(total score) & 0483** Earth Science 302 PK 20570* 530 Economics 431 PK & 81**, 82**, 83** 509(total score) English 100 PK & 0041**, 0042**, 485(total score) &0043** French 510 PK & 10170* 540 Geography 410 PK & 81**, 82**, &83** 540(total score) German 530 PK & 20180 540 History 420 PK & 81**, 82**, &83** 509(total score) Latin 590 PK n/a Mathematics 200 PK & 61** &65** 308(total score) Physics 320 PK & 10260* 510 Political Science 405 PK & 81**, 82**, &83** 509(total score) Russian 580 PK n/a Science (comprehensive) 300 PK & 431**, 432** 481(total score) & 433 Social Studies (comprehensive) 400 PK & 81**, 82**, &83** 509(total score) Sociology 432 PK & 81**, 82**, &83** 509(total score Spanish 520 PK &191& 192** 330(total score) Special Subject Areas Art 810 PK &10130* 530 Dance 805 PK n/a English as a Second Language 110 PK & 20360* 520 French 511 PK & 10170* 540 German 531 PK &20180* 540 Health Specialist 098 PK & 10550* 640 Instructional Technology Specialist 074 PK n/a Telecommunications Junior ROTC 999 PK n/a Media Coordinator 076 PK & 10310* 610 Music 800 PK & 10110* 550 Physical Education 090 PK & 91** & 92** 324(total score) Reading (bachelor's level) 190 PK & 10200 540 Reading (graduate level) 190 PK & 10300 570 Russian 581 PK n/a Safety and Driver Education 096 PK n/a Spanish 521 PK & 191** & 192** 330(total score) Speech 109 PK & 10220* 560 Theater Arts 108 PK n/a Academically Gifted 88087 PK n/a Behaviorally/Emotionally Handicapped 88085 PK & 10370 * 680 Cross Categorical 88001 PK &10350 510 Hearing Impaired 88088 PK & 10270 650 Mentally Handicapped 88081 PK & 10320 580 Severely/Profoundly Handicapped 88002 PK n/a Specific Learning Disabilities 88086 PK & 10380 610 Visually Impaired 88083 PK & 10280 550 Vocational Education Agriculture 700 PK n/a Handicapped/Disadvantaged 770 PK n/a Health Occupations Education 720 PK n/a Home Economics 710 PK & 10120* 540 Industrial Cooperative Training 745 PK n/a Career Development Coordinator 747 PK n/a Marketing Education 730 PK & 10560* 690 Technology Education 820 PK & 10050 580 Trade Preparatory Programs 740 PK n/a Vocational Business Education 760 PK & 10100* 580 Vocational Business Education 761 PK & 10100* 580 Data ProcessingQuestions about administration of these tests should be addressed to
Praxis II subject assessments replace the NTE Programs specialty area tests in some licensure areas. Areas not covered by a Praxis II subject assessment still require the NTE specialty area test. The specialty area tests are part of Praxis II in The Praxis Series registration bulletin.
Each subject assessment is composed of two or three separate tests. The score requirement for each test includes a minimum score and a validation score. The total score requirement for a subject assessment is the sum of the validation scores for each test in the assessment.
The North Carolina State Board of Education's compensatory score model allows a person to score two standard errors of measure below the validation score on individual tests in a subject assessment. In this case, the person must score higher than the validated score on another test to achieve the total required score. A person must meet the minimum score on each of the tests in a subject assessment to successfully meet the test requirement.
Subject Code Minimum Score Validation Score * = multiple choice ** = constructed response Biology (9-12) Content Knowledge, Part l* 0231 154 167 Content Essays** 0233 139 150 Pedagogy** 0234 135 154 Required Total Passing Score 475 Chemistry (9-12) Content Knowledge* 0241 150 167 Physical Science: Pedagogy** 0483 139 154 Content Essays** 0242 135 155 Required Total Passing Score 476 English (9-12) Content Knowledge* 0041 154 165 Essays** 0042 135 155 Pedagogy** 0043 145 165 Required Total Passing Score 485 Language Arts (6-8) Content Knowledge* 0041 152 164 Pedagogy** 0043 135 155 Required Total Passing Score 319 Mathematics (9-12) Content Knowledge* 61 133 153 Pedagogy** 65 135 155 Required Total Passing Score 308 Physical Education (K-12) Content Knowledge* 91 155 167 Movement, Forms, Analysis, & Design** 92 144 157 Required Total Passing Score 324 Science (6-8) General Science: Content Essays** 433 130 155 Physical Science: Pedagogy** 483 139 156 Required Total Passing Score 311 Science (9-12) General Science: Content Essays** 433 130 155 Gen. Sci. Content Knowledge, Part 1* 431 143 162 Gen. Sci. Content Knowledge, Part 2* 432 145 164 Required Total Passing Score 481 Social Studies (6-8) Content Knowledge* 81 158 169 Analytical Essays** 82 135 150 Required Total Passing Score 319 Social Studies (9-12) Content Knowledge* 81 158 169 Interpretation of Materials** 83 167 180 Analytical Essays** 82 145 160 Required Total Passing Score 509 Spanish (K-12) Content Knowledge* 191 148 159 Productive Language Skills** 192 156 171 Required Total Passing Score 330
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