North Carolina Alternative Teacher Certification

Jan 02, 2019

Not all teachers in North Carolina go through a four-year degree program and immediately emerge with a position as an educator. Discover how you can learn other subjects and use different exams to kick-start your career as a teacher in North Carolina!

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Without an initial bachelor's degree and teaching education experience, future educators in North Carolina can pursue a lateral license to begin their teaching career. Once this license expires, however, they must go through traditional licensing methods for access to continuing credentials.

Alternative Requirements for North Carolina Teacher Certification

Average Salary for Teachers in North Carolina (2017)* $44,650 (Kindergarten), $45,690 (Elementary and Middle), $46,370 (Secondary)
Required Degree 24 total semester hours
Degree Field Courses relevant to teaching area
Testing Requirements Satisfactory score on SAT/ACT with 3.0 GPA on college coursework, and Praxis/Pearson exams after obtaining lateral license

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Alternative Educational Requirements for North Carolina Teacher Certification

Along with earning a bachelor's degree through traditional means, North Carolina also allows lateral entry teachers to study a total of twenty-four semester hours in the area where they will teach. These hours must be earned at an accredited university and be specific to their intended area of instruction. For example, a future history teacher could pursue an Associate in Arts degree, which allows a wide variety of general education courses. Included among these courses could be world civilizations, American government, and American history. Similarly, a math teacher can take courses such as statistical methods, quantitative literacy, and precalculus algebra.

After obtaining employment with the state, teachers will receive a referral to either a traditional college or university to complete a four-year program that includes student teaching, or one of North Carolina's Regional Alternative Licensing Centers (RALC). The RALCs are designed to supplement existing colleges and universities, providing a different venue of learning for non-traditional students.

Alternative Testing Options for North Carolina Teacher Certification

When pursuing a lateral teaching license in North Carolina, educators have the option to initially bypass state-mandated Praxis and Pearson exams. The twenty-four hours mentioned in the above section can be applied to the lateral license as a substitution for licensing exams. A 3.0 GPA in college coursework, along with SAT scores of 1100 (before March 2016) or 1170 (after March 2016) or an ACT score of 24, can take the place of the Praxis Core Academic Skills test.

After obtaining the lateral license, however, teachers are required to pass exams in the three-year duration of the license. If teaching kindergarten through sixth grade, the Pearson North Carolina Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum tests must be taken; both of these exams contain multiple-choice and open-response questions. All teachers must take the Core Academic Skills for Educators tests in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Depending on grade level and subject, a number of different Praxis exams must be taken as well, which might include exams in Middle School Mathematics or Principles of Learning and Teaching: Grades 7-12.

North Carolina Teacher Alternative Certification Options

Professionals in North Carolina can initially qualify for a lateral teaching license by following the steps outlined for education and testing. Before any license can be recommended, teachers must first secure employment with a North Carolina public school. The employing school will request a lateral license on the teacher's behalf. The cost of a lateral license is $100, which can be submitted with the online application after receiving a recommendation from the school requesting the lateral license. Once obtained, teachers can follow the procedures for continuing the licensing process outlined on the Department of Public Instruction's website.

Additional Alternative Teaching Certification Resources for North Carolina

No matter your route through the education system in North Carolina, you will need to pass several Praxis exams. has the review guides you'll need to review before you take each test, which you can preview below:

*Praxis Exams

*Praxis Biology Study Guide

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