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Earn Your Teaching License in North Carolina
Everything you need to know about getting licensed to teach in North Carolina.
Everything you need to know about getting licensed to teach in North Carolina.

To get licensed to teach in North Carolina:

Note: We do our best to keep all information updated, but because licensure requirements are regularly reviewed and revised, it is best to confirm requirements with your educator preparation program and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NC DPI) before applying.

Which statement fits you best?

In North Carolina, teachers earn a license to teach a specific set of grades and subjects. Whether you want to focus on a specific subject, like math, or a particular student population, like second-language learners, you’ll find a teaching area that fits.

Consider a Critical Needs Subject or Shortage Area

You’ll have more job opportunities—and make a bigger impact—teaching in a high-needs area. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, you may also be able to start teaching (and start getting paid) sooner through a school district’s residency program. 

The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority lists the following areas as shortage areas that qualify for teacher loan forgiveness:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Comprehensive Science
  • English as a Second Language
  • Foreign Language
  • Math 
  • Middle Grades
  • Physics
  • Exceptional Children (K-12)

Several programs offer forgivable loans to pay for your education preparation program if you commit to teaching in a state-designated shortage area:

  • The state offers Forgivable Education Loans for Service of up to $3,500 a semester ($7,000 a year) for bachelor’s degree programs and $5,000 a semester ($10,000 a year) for master’s degree programs leading to licensure in one of the shortage areas listed above. Generally, a loan for one academic year will be forgiven for one year of full-time employment.
  • The North Carolina Teaching Fellows program offers forgivable loans of up to $4,125 a semester ($8,250 a year) for up to four years to highly-qualified students committed to teaching special education or a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) field in a North Carolina public schools.
  • You may also be eligible for student loan relief from Uncle Sam if you’re willing to commit to teaching for several years in high-need areas, thanks to the federal Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.

Choosing a Licensure Area

Once you know your grade and subject preferences, you can select a licensure area.

Pro Tip: You can add licenses in different grade levels and subject areas throughout your teaching career. You don’t have to get all your licenses at once. 😌

Your Pathway to Teaching

Once you know what you want to teach, you're ready to start your journey to become a licensed teacher! Most North Carolina teachers begin with a Professional Educator's Initial License for educators with less than two years of experience.

Adding it Up

Teaching is the greatest opportunity to shape the trajectories of young people’s lives—and the future of our world. While the experiences you’ll have are priceless, you may be wondering what it costs to get licensed to teach in North Carolina. 

The total costs will vary depending on the educator preparation program you attend and the tests required for your licensure area. Below are some of the costs you can expect while earning and obtaining your license: 

  • Initial educator license: $70
  • Out-of-state initial educator license: $100
  • edTPA Portfolio assessment: $300
  • Content-specific exams: Starting at $120

Pro Tip: It's understandable to have your eye on the cost of educator preparation programs, but there are lots of scholarships, loan forgiveness and other funding opportunities that may lower program costs for North Carolina’s future teachers, including the We Promise program, where you can earn a bachelor’s degree for $1,000 per year in tuition at certain UNC system schools. Check out Financial Aid & Scholarships to learn more.

Additional Resources

Looking to dive a little deeper? 📖

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