Emergency Teaching Credential Information and Requirements

Emergency, or alternative, teaching permits are issued when a school district immediately needs teachers. Emergency teaching permits bypass the state licensing requirements for teachers. Read this article to learn more.

What Is an Emergency Teaching Credential?

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 required teachers to be highly qualified with the proper credentials and licenses. This can make it difficult for rural and urban areas to find qualified teachers that can fill vacant positions. Because a position cannot be left unfulfilled, states can issue emergency training certificates to teachers who can meet standards set by state boards. An emergency substitute certificate is also issued by some states that allow substitute teachers to work a specified number of hours per school year. Substitutes are only allowed to work in the school district that has declared a state of emergency due to a regular teacher being off-work.

As of January 2011, states generally cannot make a request for an emergency license until after July 1 of any school year. If there is a qualified teacher available to the district, administration must justify why that teacher is not acceptable. Budget constraints cannot be used to justify an emergency teacher. School districts are required to consider an applicant that is outside the district and must address salary concerns before an emergency teacher is considered. If the licensed applicant rejects a salary offer, only then can a school district consider an applicant who is not licensed in the subject area.

What Are the Requirements?

A teacher wishing to apply for an emergency teaching certificate must have a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited institution. An official transcript is required. Some school districts may require a valid teaching certificate from any state in the United States. States may require a valid certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Teachers must demonstrate proficiency in the subject that they wish to teach. The scores are derived from the subject knowledge portion of the educator proficiency assessment exam. Some states require fingerprinting and a background check.

Why Is There a Need for Emergency Teachers?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that school districts in inner cities and rural areas often have a hard time recruiting and retaining highly qualified teachers. Remote locations, poor salaries and budget constraints are common causes. There are also a high number of teacher retirees, which leaves vacancies at schools.

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