Teachers Professional Learning Unit Resources

General Certification Requirements

Each state has unique requirements for teacher licensure or certification. For information about the requirements in your state, be sure to check with your state Department of Education. Even though most states have unique requirements, teachers are typically required to fulfill the following basic requirements:

  1. A bachelor's degree, and in some states, a post-baccalaureate or master's degree. For elementary education, either a major or minor in education (for B.A.) or a Masters in Education will be required. 

  2. For secondary subjects, a degree in the teaching area. An approved, accredited education program that fulfills student teaching and practicum requirements must be completed.

  3. In addition to the major, proof of a strong liberal arts foundation may be required. Most states require a passing grade on their state test or the PRAXIS exam. Some states require proof that you have taken a variety of college courses in basic subject areas (English, math, science, social studies, and language), particularly for obtaining licensure in elementary education.

Alternate Routes to Teaching

To recruit more teachers, especially in areas with a shortage of teachers, a number of states have programs that offer nontraditional routes to teaching. Several have special licensing procedures for non-traditional applicants. The requirements for an alternative teaching licenses can differ by state. See the your state's Department of Education website for further information or search for alternate routes to teaching on the National Center for Alternative Certification website. Typically, applicants must hold a bachelor's degree in the subject to be taught, receive a passing score on state-required examinations, complete a state approved teacher preparation program, and may be required to fulfill a supervised teaching internship. After successful completion of these requirements, the applicant will be issued a teaching credential.


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