Traditional Student

Education Related Programs

Explore the alternative licensure programs available across the state and choose the one best suited for you to achieve your goal of becoming a teacher in North Carolina.

Alternative licensure programs


Program Overview

NC TEACH is a rigorous alternative teacher preparation program designed to recruit, train, support, and retain mid-career professionals as they become licensed teachers in North Carolina. The program is administered by the UNC Office of the President, in collaboration with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. Established in 2000, more than 1,300 people have become licensed teachers through the NC TEACH program. NC TEACHers currently serve in more than 85 counties and school districts in all regions of the state.

The NC TEACH program begins with an orientation and Summer Institute designed to prepare teachers for classroom entrance. After successful participation in this phase of the program, participants will qualify for a provisional teaching license when they enter a teaching position in a North Carolina public school. While teaching, participants complete requirements for full licensure through NC TEACH. It takes a minimum of 12 months to complete the program and be recommended for a clear initial license.

Following an orientation period, the NC TEACH program commences with a Summer Institute. This period is completed during a five-week, full time summer course. (See note.) Students must begin the program with the Summer Institute and can not opt to begin with any other phase of the program. The host sites have strict attendance policies. Applicants who can not participate in all classes and activities during Summer Institute are not eligible for the program.

Please note: FSU, NCSU, UNCW and UNC-CH will offer the Summer Institute classes during the evening. Please see host sites' information pages for specific dates and times.

The Summer Institute is designed to orient participants to the profession, build a strong sense of shared purpose, and provide the knowledge and skills critical to effectively performing the duties of a teacher.

Six key areas of teaching are addressed during the Summer Institute:

  • Lesson planning and classroom management
  • The professional role of a teacher within the state and local school system
  • Understanding children and young adults as learners
  • The chosen content area as presented in the NC Standard Course of Study
  • Instructional technology
  • Teaching diverse learners

Various methods of instruction are used during the Summer Institute, including interactive multimedia, case studies, peer coaching and teaching, and other small group activities. Instructors assess the academic performance of each participant, and university credit is awarded for successfully completed courses.

The Summer Institute usually includes five full days of classes per week for five weeks and, on occasion, weekend or evening classes. Class instructors are either master teachers or university faculty members with expertise in all topics covered in the NC TEACH curriculum. Please note that each host site constructs its own unique schedule for NC TEACH class offerings. Contact the NC TEACH coordinator at your host site for specific information about course schedules.

After successful completion of the Summer Institute, participants begin teaching full-time in a North Carolina public school (includes charter schools). During the first year of teaching, participants continue to attend NC TEACH classes and seminars.

Each program participant is provided a mentor, assigned by the local education agency (LEA) or employing school system. NC TEACH instructors may also be available to provide additional guidance if requested by the participant, the school, or the LEA. Participants may also request to be assigned an online mentor, who may be available throughout the year to provide assistance, suggestions, coaching, and other forms of support. During the first year of teaching, licensure coursework continues through seminars, which provide continued professional development. These seminars cover topics such as educational philosophy and pedagogy. The seminars also serve as a forum for teachers to share ideas and to discuss the challenges they have encountered in their classrooms. University credit is awarded for successfully completed seminars.

Licensure Process

North Carolina teaching licenses are issued by the Department of Public Instruction, based on the policies and procedures adopted by the State Board of Education. Once offered a teaching position, NC TEACH participants will receive a provisional license to teach in a public school in North Carolina. The provisional license will be converted to a clear initial license after successful completion of the Summer Institute, fall and spring semesters, any additional content courses as deemed necessary by the host site university, a passing score on the PRAXIS II, and approval by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction licensure officer. Read more about North Carolina's Initial Licensure Program.

When your NC TEACH host site coordinator receives your application, he or she will review your transcripts and formulate a plan of study that will satisfy all requirements for a clear initial license. Depending on your academic background in your chosen content area, you may be required to take courses in addition to those offered by NC TEACH. Such courses may not necessarily have to be taken at your host site. Most applicants who have a degree in their desired subject area will not be required to take additional courses.

The final step to licensure is satisfactory performance on the NTE/Praxis II exam. NC TEACHers are encouraged to take the exam in the spring of their first year of teaching; however, completion of the exam is not required until the end of the second year.

The teacher licensure process in North Carolina can sometimes be confusing. NC TEACH host site coordinators and university licensure experts will assist you in meeting all requirements for licensure. Never hesitate to contact the NC Department of Public Instruction for answers to your questions.

North Carolina's Initial Licensure Program

In 1985, North Carolina implemented an Initial Certification Program (now Initial Licensure Program) to provide the necessary support for and assessment of beginning professionals. Each Local Education Agency (LEA) was required to develop, in collaboration with Institutions of Higher Education, a comprehensive plan to assure the establishment of a support and performance review system for initially licensed personnel. Each initially licensed employee entering the profession for the first time was required to participate in the Initial Licensure Program for two years. At the end of the two-year period, a decision was made to grant or deny continuing licensure to the beginning professional.

On June 24, 1997, Senate Bill 272, known as the Excellent Schools Act, was ratified by the General Assembly and signed by Governor James B. Hunt. A comprehensive plan for improving student academic achievement, reducing teacher attrition, and rewarding teacher knowledge and skills, this Act included a number of directives designed to provide support for beginning teachers and strengthen the profession. These included the expansion of the initial licensure program from two years to three years and the extension of the probationary period for beginning teachers from three years to four years (i.e., moving the career status decision to the fourth consecutive year of teaching).

The Initial Licensure Program (1998 Revision) is a three-year period of support and assessment for beginning teachers. The initial license, which is valid for three years, allows the teacher to begin practicing the profession on an independent basis. At the end of the three-year period, the teacher is either granted or denied a continuing license. Initially licensed teachers currently eligible for a continuing license, on the recommendation of the employing Local Education Agency, based on three years successful teaching, as evidenced by the current State Board of Education approved evaluation instrument/processes.

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Alternative Licensure Programs

If you find that NC TEACH isn't for you, there are other excellent NC TEACH affiliated licensure programs across the state. Click on the links below for more information about how to become a licensed teacher in North Carolina!

East Carolina University Alternative Licensure
Fayetteville State University School of Education
Lenoir-Rhyne School of Education
NC Central University Licensure Office
NC State University Teacher Education Program
UNC Greensboro Teacher Academy
UNC Chapel Hill School of Education
UNC Charlotte Masters in Teaching and Fast-Track Licensure Programs
UNC Pembroke School of Education
UNC Wilmington Coalition for Transition to Teaching (CT3)
Western Carolina University MAT Program
Western Carolina University Middle Grade MAT
Western Carolina University Secondary Education MAT
Special Education
Winston-Salem State University School of Education

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