Learning More About Alternative Licensure

September 13, 2007 1 min read

Question: I am currently looking into alternative licensing for teaching. I am looking at trying to find a teaching position in January of 2008. Do you know who I need to contact to check into what exactly needs to be done to try and get an alternative license?

Answer: The first step for a person interested in an alternative pathway to teaching licensure (alternative licensure is actually a misnomer—same license, different route) is to contact a four-year institution that houses a state-approved school of education. Most likely, that institution will have a staff person who works with folks who already possess a bachelor’s degree looking to be licensed or certified as a teacher. A transcript evaluation will be performed in an effort to develop a plan of study. This will give the person inquiring a road map for earning their teaching credential. In most instances, a program can be completed within two years as a full-time student. This time will include a student-teaching semester.

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If a person who has a four-year degree is trying to secure a teaching position before they are licensed, termed lateral entry, he or she will need to contact the school system of interest for the application process. Please note that in my state (North Carolina) the school system only has permission to hire someone without licensure in the event that a licensed teacher is not available, and only after that person has met course and testing requirements required by the state for lateral entry hiring. If a person is hired as a lateral entry teacher, the state will grant that person a provisional teaching license with the requirement that a plan of study for clear licensing must be completed within three years, the length of the provisional license. One year of lateral-entry teaching in the field related to one’s plan of study will waive the student teaching requirement for that person.

—Sam Black, Alternative Licensure Coordinator at the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Watson School of Education.

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