Pathways to Teaching

Licensure — Only Student

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.

Residency License

Students who have earned at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.7 may be offered employment to teach if certain additional criteria are met. Prospects must 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 order here does not matter to the state). 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.

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program

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.

Undergraduate Student

Students 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

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).

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) — Accredits educational institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Latin America
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) — Accredits educational institutions in California, Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Micronesia, Palau, and Northern Marianas Islands.
  • Northwest Accreditation Commission — Accredits educational institutions (colleges and universities) in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC) — Accredits educational institutions in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE) — Accredits educational institutions in the six New England states Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont.
  • Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSCHE) — Accredits educational institutions in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands.