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Start Teaching Before You Earn Your License

With a residency license, you can start teaching right away, earn a salary and complete your teaching program — at the same time.

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More than ever, districts are working hard to find high quality teachers. If you’ve already earned your bachelors degree, you may be able to start your teaching career sooner than you think.

The residency license pathway allows you to get on-the-job experience (and a paycheck) while you get licensed to teach. Here, we’ll go over the steps to get started on this pathway.

Download the Residency Licensure Guide

What is a residency license?

A residency license is a North Carolina-specific pathway to becoming a teacher. This innovative pathway allows you to get a license, start teaching and earn your professional teaching license at the same time.

By taking the residency route, you can earn a salary, take classes that accommodate your work schedule as a first-year teacher, and complete your licensure coursework in under 3 years. 

How is this different from standard licensure?

In a standard teaching program, you typically complete your teaching program coursework, followed by an unpaid student teaching experience. This pathway can take longer and often costs more than a residency licensure program.

Who should consider a residency license? 

Residency licensure is a great option for anyone with a bachelor's degree who is looking to transition into teaching, without having to start over from scratch. This includes career changers and paraprofessionals.

Are you a school staff member? Our School Staff page has more information and resources just for you! 

How to get your residency license

There are a few steps to getting a residency license — and lots of resources to help! Let’s take a look.
  1. 1

    Make sure you're eligible

    To qualify for a residency license, you’ll need to:

    • Have a bachelor's degree with at least a 2.7 GPA. 
    • Have at least 24 credit hours (about six classes) of coursework in the subject area that you plan to teach. Note: If you haven’t completed the required coursework, you may still be able to get your residency license! You’ll need to pass the content test for your desired subject area, before starting your teacher training. 

    If testing stresses you out, you’re definitely not alone. Our Praxis Guide and TeachNC Testing Guide have tips on registering, finding study materials and more! 

  2. 2

    Decide what you want to teach and choose the teaching license you want to earn

    The teaching license you earn will depend on the subject and grade level you want to teach. The TeachNC Licensure Guide has a full list of your options! 

  3. 3

    Apply for teaching jobs in a North Carolina school district

    To receive your residency license, you’ll need a job with a North Carolina school district. You can accept a role with the school district before or after you’ve been accepted into a teaching program. 

    You can look for open positions with the TeachNC job board. Visit our Resume Guide for tips to craft your resume, plus a free downloadable template!

  4. 4

    Apply to teaching programs and enroll

    North Carolina has a great selection of high-quality licensure programs. Look for approved programs in the TeachNC Program Explorer.

    Some licensure-only programs may not offer traditional college credit. Not to worry! Non-credit programs still allow you to become a licensed teacher.

  5. 5

    Apply for your residency license

    Your school district will request a residency license on your behalf from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

  6. 6

    The Department of Public Instruction will review your application

    Your school district will let you know once your application has been approved.

  7. 7

    Start teaching!

    Once you have your residency license, you’re ready to step into the classroom and start your new career.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to more questions about residency licensure and teaching in North Carolina.

Talk to a coach

Have more questions? A TeachNC coach can help you decide if residency licensure is right for you. Set up a 1:1 coaching session for free!