To teach in North Carolina, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree and a teaching license. At least, that’s the short version.
On this page, we’ll go over all the steps to get licensed to teach in North Carolina, plus answer some commonly asked questions about licensure. Let’s dive in!
Are you licensed to teach outside of North Carolina? Head to our FAQs for more information about your next steps.
How to earn your North Carolina teaching license
Earn a bachelor’s degree
North Carolina accepts degrees from many colleges and universities, but you should confirm that yours is regionally accredited. Ideally, your bachelor’s degree will be in a field closely related to the subject you want to teach.
Keep in mind that you can earn your bachelor’s degree and teaching license at the same time — so if you're an undergraduate, skip to Step 2.
Decide what you want to teach, and choose the teaching license you want to earn
Apply to teaching programs and enroll
Make sure to find a program that offers your chosen licensure area. You can look for teaching programs with the TeachNC Program Explorer.
I don’t have a bachelor’s degree
Many programs combine a teaching license with a bachelor’s degree, so you can get licensed while you finish your undergraduate coursework.
If you have vocational experience, you may also be able to teach a Career & Technical Education subject without a degree. Check out the FAQs on this page to learn more.
I already have a bachelor’s degree
If you have a bachelor's degree, you can consider a few different types of programs. You can look into:
- Licensure-only programs.
- Master's degree and licensure programs.
- Residency licensure programs. (To learn more about this pathway, visit our Alternative Licensure page and download the Residency Licensure guide!)
To be accepted into a North Carolina teaching program, you’ll generally need an undergraduate GPA of at least 2.7. (2)
The TeachNC Application Guide has all the info you need to complete your program application! Find out how to order your transcripts, ask for a recommendation letter, win over your interviewer and more. Visit our Fee Reimbursement page to find out how you can get $100 back for your application costs.
Wondering how to pay for your program? TeachNC offers scholarships up to $10,000 for future educators! Visit our Scholarship page to learn more. You can also find scholarships and financial resources through our Financial Aid Guide and Financial Aid Explorer.
Meet North Carolina teacher testing requirements
As a future teacher, you’ll need to pass a few assessments to show you’re ready to teach your own classroom. These include the content exam and the teaching portfolio.
When do I need to take the required tests?
The timing of your tests will depend on your teaching program. For some programs, you’ll take the content exam before you enroll. Others have you take the test shortly after you begin or during your program. Check with your program to confirm when you’ll need to take your content exam.
In general, you'll complete your teaching portfolio toward the end of your program.
Submit your teaching license application to the state
Almost there! Once you’ve completed your teaching program and passed your exams, it’s time to formally apply for your teaching license.
How do I apply for my North Carolina teaching license?
First, your teaching program will need to confirm that you’re eligible to apply for your license. Once you get confirmation, you’ll create an account through the Department of Public Instruction’s online licensure system. (3)
You’ll need to submit the teaching license application fee, as well as documentation of your education and test scores. This could include:
- Official transcripts from all degree programs you’ve completed (bachelor’s, master’s and other post-high school programs).
- Official test scores from your licensure exams.
- Verification from your teaching program that you’re eligible to apply for licensure.
Frequently Asked Questions
Get more from TeachNC
- Learn more
Get info on NC teaching licensure pathways, understand the types of programs available and learn how to decide if a program is right for you.
- Learn more
Need help choosing a program or licensure pathway? A TeachNC coach can help! Set up your free advising session today.
- Learn more
Not sure which licensure area to pick? Get a full list of your options, and find tips for choosing the right one for you.
Create an Account
Sign up for your free, all-access pass to TeachNC tools and services.
- Create a career roadmap.
- Get 1-on-1 expert advice from a North Carolina teacher.
- Follow how-to guides for getting licensed.
- Access prep program application checklists.
- Be in the know for the next scholarship opportunity.
- Claim fee reimbursements towards application and testing expenses.
We’re always working on something new to help the next generation of great teachers. With an account, you get first dibs!
- Report to the North Carolina General Assembly: 2019-2020 State of the Teaching Profession in North Carolina, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. https://files.nc.gov/dpi/report-state-of-the-teaching-profession-12.15.20.pdf
- Pathways to Teaching, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. https://www.dpi.nc.gov/educators/troops-to-teachers/pathways-to-teaching
- Educator’s Licensure, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. https://www.dpi.nc.gov/educators/educators-licensure
- Approved Programs, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. https://www.dpi.nc.gov/educators/educator-preparation/approved-programs
- Licensure Fees, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. https://www.dpi.nc.gov/media/1621/download
- Average Local Salary Supplement for K-12 Teachers in North Carolina Traditional Public Schools, by LEA (2019-20), Best NC, Tableau Public. https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/bestnc#!/vizhome/AverageLocalSalarySupplementforK-12TeachersinNorthCarolinaTraditionalPublicSchoolsbyLEA2019-20/LEAAttrition
- National Board Certification, North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. https://www.dpi.nc.gov/educators/national-board-certification