Alternative Preparation Pathways

The North Carolina State Board of Education (NCSBE) seeks to provide alternative pathways to licensure for roles within 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 NC General Statute § 115C.270.20 as well as in NCSBE licensure policy LICN-001

Lateral Entry License (LE)

Lateral entry is an alternate pathway to teaching that is being replaced by the Residency pathway and is no longer being issued by NCDPI — effective June 30, 2019. 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 (NCDPI) authorizes lateral entry professional educator's licenses in areas that correspond to the individual's academic study.

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. All candidates employed under this license option must complete all requirements by June 20, 2022. Current license holders may work with a North Carolina Regional Alternative Licensing Center (RALC) for more assistance with the Lateral Entry license pathway.

Residency License (RL)

According to § 115C.270.20.a.5, the Residency License is a one-year license that is renewable twice and has replaced the Lateral Entry License. This is the current alternative pathway to be issued a teaching license in North Carolina.

In order to be issued an RL, an individual must meet these 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.

Licenses Leading to an RL

As stated in SBE policy LICN-001, the two licenses listed below can be requested by an LEA for an individual they are hiring for a teaching assignment and meets the requirements listed for each type of license. Both license options allow the individual to qualify for a one-year RL in a teaching area with the option to renew twice, within no longer than a three-year period. 

  • Emergency License - A one-year non-renewable license issued to an individual with a baccalaureate degree with 18 hours of coursework relevant to the requested licensure area, but has not completed a recognized educator preparation program and does not qualify for an RL.
  • Permit to Teach - A one-year non-renewable license issued to an individual with a baccalaureate degree and cannot qualify for a license under any other approach. 

Key dates:

  • June 30, 2019 = Last date to be issued a Lateral Entry License
  • June 30, 2022 = Last date to fulfill all requirements if issued a Lateral Entry License by June 30, 2019, or earlier