How Do I Become a Teacher in NC: Education Requirements

Learn how to become a teacher in North Carolina. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements and find out how to start a career as a teacher in North Carolina. View article »

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  • 0:00 Become a Teacher in…
  • 0:59 Career Requirements
  • 1:50 Step 1: Earn a…
  • 2:53 Step 2: Attain SP1 License
  • 3:32 Step 3: Attain SP2 License
  • 4:24 Step 4: Earn a Master's Degree

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Video Transcript

Become a Teacher in North Carolina

Teaching involves instructing students through presentations, demonstrations, and discussions. Public school teachers work with young people in preschool through high school, guiding them academically and socially. Working with active children who are sometimes unruly or disrespectful can be tiring and stressful. These educators can often feel quite rewarded, however, when they see the great strides toward progress that their students make during a school year.

Becoming a public school educator in North Carolina requires earning a bachelor's degree from an approved program and getting certified. After completing an appropriate undergraduate degree program, finishing teacher preparation coursework, and passing the required portions of the Praxis exam, one can apply for a North Carolina teaching certificate. In some cases, individuals can follow alternative routes to certification if they meet certain qualifications.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree is required; some teachers have a master's degree
Degree Field Education; an aspiring high school teacher may also major in a subject area such as English/language arts, mathematics, or biology
Experience Student teaching experience required for certification
Licensure and/or Certification State certification required
Key Skills Ability to instruct, speaking and listening skills, social perceptiveness, and knowledge of classroom management
Salary (2015) $41,470 (Median annual salary for secondary teachers in North Carolina)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net Online

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Would-be public education teachers in North Carolina must earn a bachelor's degree and complete an approved teacher education program. The curriculum can differ based on grade and subject level. For instance, kindergarten and elementary school teachers commonly obtain degrees in elementary education. Middle school teachers may major in secondary education and are expected to teach in two of the four following areas: language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics. High school teachers normally major in a particular discipline in conjunction with completing a teacher training curriculum. Aspiring teachers must also complete a student teaching experience, where they teach classes under the supervision of a certified educator.

One way for college students to prepare for a career as a teacher is to find opportunities to work with children. Future teachers can tutor or mentor school-aged children to gain experience. This also gives the prospective teacher an opportunity to practice working with the same age group as those they would like to teach.

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Step 2: Attain SP1 License

After graduating from a teacher education program approved by the state board, the next step is to apply for North Carolina teacher certification. The Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Professional Educator's License is intended for North Carolina educators with two or fewer years of work experience. This certificate is valid for three years. Those who fulfilled licensure requirements in a state other than North Carolina can submit an application for the SP1 license if they have been defined as Highly Qualified, meaning they are a licensed educator, have a bachelor's degree, and are proficient in the subject matter they teach.

Step 3: Attain SP2 Licensure

The Standard Professional 2 (SP2) Professional Educator's License is for teachers with three or more years of experience. Teachers from a different state who are determined to be Highly Qualified with a minimum of three years of experience may enter an application for the SP2 if they have either a National Board Certification or meet North Carolina's Praxis Testing requirements, which include a pre-professional and subject-based examination.

An SP2 license needs to be renewed every five years for a teacher to maintain his or her eligibility for employment. Licenses can be renewed by achieving continuing education credits, which include teaching experience, university coursework, and approved workshops. Teachers instructing grades K-12 need to complete a minimum of 7.5 credits to renew their license.

Step 4: Earn a Master's Degree

To advance as a teacher in NC, earn a master's degree in education or a related area. Master's degree options are also available for those who already have a bachelor's degree in a subject other than education. Aspiring teachers in North Carolina can make up for their lack of education training in other bachelor's degree programs by enrolling in a master's degree program that includes teaching courses and supervised student teaching experiences.

In summary, in order to have a career as a public school teacher in the state of North Carolina, one must decide the grade level he or she is interested in working with and then earn the appropriate bachelor's degree. In addition to a degree, prospective teachers need to complete a student teaching program and then meet the state certification requirements in order to instruct and assess student learning while managing a classroom environment.

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