Teaching Licensing by State

Teaching license requirements can vary by state. Learn more about your state teaching requirements here.

March 25, 2022 • 6 Min Read

edited by Veronica Freeman

Teaching Licensing by State

Teachers in K-12 public schools need a state-issued teaching credential. The requirements vary for a teaching license by state.

In every state, educators need a bachelor's degree to receive a state teaching license. The traditional licensure pathway requires an educator preparation program and examinations. After meeting these requirements, candidates apply for state teaching certification.

This guide explores the requirements for teaching certification by state. Prospective teachers can contact their state's licensure board for more information.

Questions About Earning a Teaching License

What certifications do I need to be a teacher?

In every state, public school teachers need a state-issued credential. Typically, the state's board of education licenses teachers. Licensure requirements generally include a bachelor's degree, a completed educator preparation program, and test scores.

Can you get a teaching certificate without a degree?

Individuals need a bachelor's degree to receive a state teaching certification. Most states offer alternative pathways, but these generally require a college degree. Check the teaching license by state requirements for more.

What is the difference between a teaching certificate and a teaching degree?

Learners pursuing a teaching degree develop pedagogical skills and content area knowledge. A teaching certificate qualifies holders to teach at public schools. Although requirements vary for a teaching certification by state, candidates in all states need a teaching degree.

How do I get teacher certification?

Although requirements vary by state, certification candidates in every state need a bachelor's degree. Certification also requires completion of an educator preparation program and passing exam scores.

Teaching License Requirements by State

A C D F G H I K L M N O P R S T U V W

Alabama Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Prospective Alabama teachers need a bachelor's degree and a completed educator preparation program. The state offers an alternative certification program for candidates with a bachelor's degree and a minimum 2.75 GPA. Educators must also pass Praxis exams and undergo a background check.

State Certification: https://www.alabamaachieves.org/

Alaska Teaching Certification

State Requirements: In Alaska, educators must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Candidates must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program and pass a basic competency exam and a content area exam. Initial teaching certification in Alaska requires four mandatory training sessions.

State Certification: https://education.alaska.gov/teachercertification

Arizona Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Arizona teachers must have completed a bachelor's program featuring teacher preparation training. Their education must cover specific topics and include 12 weeks of student teaching. Arizona also requires passing scores on Pearson's professional and subject knowledge exams.

State Certification: https://www.azed.gov/educator-certification

Arkansas Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Arkansas teachers must hold a bachelor's degree and complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. Candidates must pass Praxis tests, including a basic skills test and content area tests. The teacher residency pathway allows educators to teach while meeting certification requirements.

State Certification: https://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/Offices/educator-effectiveness/educator-licensure

California Teaching Certification

State Requirements: California teachers must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. They must have completed a teacher training program and possess a positive recommendation from the program sponsor. California requires passing scores on subject matter exams. Private school teachers can use teaching experience in lieu of student teaching hours.

State Certification: https://www.ctc.ca.gov/

Colorado Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Colorado teachers need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. The state also requires completion of an educator preparation program that includes student teaching experience. Depending on the content area, candidates qualify to add endorsements through 24 credits of coursework, a major, or exams.

State Certification: https://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeprof

Connecticut Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Connecticut requires teachers to hold a bachelor's degree and complete a state-approved educator preparation program. Candidates complete their training at an accredited institution and receive a formal certification recommendation from their school. Connecticut also sets subject-specific testing requirements for endorsements.

State Certification: https://portal.ct.gov/sde/certification/bureau-of-certification

Delaware Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Delaware teachers must hold a bachelor's degree and submit official transcripts with proof of student teaching experience. Delaware requires passing scores on content exams. The state requires Praxis II exams for most endorsement areas. In addition to initial licensure, educators apply for a standard certificate in their teaching field.

State Certification: https://www.doe.k12.de.us/certification

Florida Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Florida educators need a bachelor's degree and must complete an educator preparation program. Candidates take Florida's three certification exams covering general knowledge, professional education, and a subject area. Florida issues temporary credentials to candidates in the process of meeting certification requirements.

State Certification: https://www.fldoe.org/teaching/certification/

Georgia Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Georgia teachers need a bachelor's degree to qualify for an initial educator certification. After completing an educator preparation program, teachers receive a provisional certificate. Educators can work in public schools for up to three years while completing additional requirements, which include passing content knowledge tests and an educator ethics assessment.

State Certification: https://www.gadoe.org/Pages/Teachers.aspx

Hawaii Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Teachers educated at Hawaii-approved educator training programs can qualify for certification after earning a bachelor's degree. Candidates submit information to the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board. Candidates who studied in another state must also pass Praxis exams covering core academic skills, principles of learning and teaching, and content-area knowledge.

State Certification: https://hawaiiteacherstandardsboard.org/

Idaho Teaching Certification

State Requirements: To receive a teaching certification in Idaho, applicants must submit official bachelor's transcripts. The state requires a teacher training program and an institutional recommendation form. Candidates take Praxis II assessments and complete a background check.

State Certification: https://www.sde.idaho.gov/cert-psc/cert/

Illinois Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Illinois teachers complete an educator preparation program and a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. The state requires student teaching experience and coursework in reading methods, teaching exceptional children, and teaching English learners. Candidates must also pass a teacher performance assessment and content tests.

State Certification: https://www.isbe.net/licensure

Indiana Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Indiana teachers must hold a bachelor's degree and complete an approved educator preparation program. Certification candidates must pass examinations in their content areas. The state requires CPR certification and a suicide prevention training certificate. After completing an Indiana teacher preparation program, candidates work with their school to file licensure paperwork.

State Certification: https://www.in.gov/doe/educators/educator-licensing/

Iowa Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Iowa educators need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Candidates complete an approved teacher preparation program that includes student teaching. Candidates pass Praxis pedagogy and content knowledge examinations. Iowa waives the assessment requirement for licensed out-of-state teachers with three years of teaching experience.

State Certification: https://boee.iowa.gov/

Kansas Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Kansas teachers need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution to qualify for initial teaching certification. They must have completed a state-approved teacher preparation program. Kansas teachers complete content assessments to add endorsement areas to their certificate. Certification candidates must also pass a pedagogy assessment.

State Certification: https://www.ksde.org/Agency/Division-of-Learning-Services/Teacher-Licensure-and-Accreditation

Kentucky Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Educators with a bachelor's degree who complete a teacher preparation program can qualify for Kentucky state teaching certification. The state requires full-time classroom teaching experience at the certification grade level. Candidates must pass Praxis exams for each certification area, along with the principles of learning and teaching test.

State Certification: https://education.ky.gov/teachers/NxGenProf/pages/certification.aspx

Louisiana Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Louisiana teachers need a bachelor's degree from an accredited school. The state requires satisfactory completion of an educator preparation program that includes student teaching experience. Candidates for a Louisiana state teaching certification must pass Praxis certification examinations. The state accepts ACT or SAT scores in lieu of the Praxis test.

State Certification: https://www.teachlouisiana.net/

Maine Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Maine educators can qualify for a teaching certificate after completing a bachelor's program and an approved teacher preparation program. The state requires passing Praxis exam scores, including content area assessments in their endorsement areas. The state offers conditional certification for bachelor's degree-holders who have not yet completed an educator preparation program.

State Certification: https://www.maine.gov/doe/cert

Maryland Teaching Certification

State Requirements: In Maryland, candidates for state teaching certification need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Candidates must complete an educator preparation program and demonstrate competency through a basic skills test or a minimum 3.0 GPA. Maryland also requires passing scores on content and pedagogy assessments.

State Certification: https://teach.in.maryland.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Massachusetts Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Massachusetts teachers must hold a bachelor's degree. Certification candidates must have completed an approved educator preparation program in their teaching subject and grade level. Depending on the type of credential they are pursuing, candidates take different licensure exams.

State Certification: https://www.doe.mass.edu/licensure/

Michigan Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Michigan teacher certification candidates must complete a bachelor's program and an approved teacher preparation program. Their studies must include reading courses. Michigan also requires certification in first aid and CPR. Educators take state content examinations.

State Certification: https://www.michigan.gov/mde/0,4615,7-140-5683_14795---,00.html

Minnesota Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Minnesota's teaching certification process uses a tiered system. Educators can receive a license before completing an educator preparation program. Licensed teachers must hold a bachelor's degree. Educators move from the first tier to the second tier by enrolling in an educator preparation program. The third tier recognizes educators who have completed an educator preparation program and passed content and pedagogy tests.

State Certification: https://mn.gov/pelsb/aspiring-educators/requirements/

Mississippi Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Educators with a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution can qualify for Mississippi teacher certification. Licensure-track education programs with student teaching components fulfill the education requirement. Candidates must pass certification assessments, including a basic skills assessment. Candidates need a minimum 3.0 GPA, minimum SAT or ACT scores, or passing scores on the Praxis core academic skills test. Candidates must also pass Praxis content area assessments.

State Certification: https://www.mdek12.org/OEL

Missouri Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Missouri educators with a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution can qualify for teacher certification. The state requires completion of an educator preparation program with a minimum 3.0 GPA in content area and professional education coursework. Candidates must also pass general education and content area assessments.

State Certification: https://dese.mo.gov/educator-quality/certification/routes-certification

Montana Teaching Certification

State Requirements: After completing an accredited or state-approved teacher preparation program and a bachelor's program, candidates can qualify for a class two Montana teaching license. Candidates must have completed student teaching. Teachers can submit Praxis test scores to earn an endorsement. Educators must complete an online course on Indian education.

State Certification: https://opi.mt.gov/Educators/Licensure/Educator-Licensure

Nebraska Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Nebraska teachers need a bachelor's degree to receive a teaching certification. They must also complete an approved educator preparation program. Nebraska uses Praxis exams to measure basic skills and content area knowledge. Applicants for an initial state teaching license also complete special education and human relations training.

State Certification: https://www.education.ne.gov/tcert/

Nevada Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Nevada teachers must hold a bachelor's degree. Certification candidates complete an educator preparation program that includes student teaching. Nevada offers alternative pathways to fulfill student teaching requirements. The state uses Praxis tests to measure content area knowledge.

State Certification: https://doe.nv.gov/Educator_Licensure/

New Hampshire Teaching Certification

State Requirements: New Hampshire teachers must have completed a bachelor's program and an educator preparation program. Teaching certification requirements vary by endorsement area. Candidates take a basic academic skills assessment and subject area tests. New Hampshire offers reciprocity for teachers licensed in other states.

State Certification: https://www.education.nh.gov/who-we-are/division-of-educator-support-and-higher-education/bureau-of-credentialing

New Jersey Teaching Certification

State Requirements: New Jersey offers teaching certification to bachelor's degree-holders who have not yet completed a teacher preparation program or the Praxis test. After meeting education and testing requirements and teaching full time for two years, educators receive a standard teaching certification.

State Certification: https://www.nj.gov/education/license/

New Mexico Teaching Certification

State Requirements: New Mexico educators need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. The state requires certain coursework depending on the candidate's teaching grade level and endorsement area. Candidates must pass Praxis exams covering core academic skills, teaching principles, and content area knowledge. New Mexico also conducts background checks.

State Certification: https://webnew.ped.state.nm.us/bureaus/licensure/

New York Teaching Certification

State Requirements: New York teachers complete an approved preparation program and earn a bachelor's degree to qualify for an initial state teaching license. Candidates need an institutional recommendation in their endorsement area and passing scores on the New York State Teacher Certification exam and content exams. Educators also complete a workshop on the Dignity for All Students Act.

State Certification: http://www.nysed.gov/content/teacher-certification

North Carolina Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Bachelor's degree-holders who complete an approved teacher preparation program can qualify for a teaching certification in North Carolina. Candidates submit forms listing their teaching experience. North Carolina also requires content area examinations, which teachers can take after receiving initial certification.

State Certification: https://www.dpi.nc.gov/educators/educators-licensure

North Dakota Teaching Certification

State Requirements: North Dakota educators with a bachelor's degree can qualify for teaching certification. Candidates complete a teacher preparation program. In-state programs meet the certification requirements, which include mental health competency training. North Dakota also requires passing scores on Praxis tests in the candidate's grade level and teaching area.

State Certification: https://www.nd.gov/espb/licensure

Ohio Teaching Certification

State Requirements: For initial teacher certification, Ohio educators need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Candidates must complete an approved teacher preparation program. The state uses the Ohio Assessments for Educators to measure pedagogical and content area knowledge. Through Ohio's tiered teaching certification system, educators with three years of experience upgrade to a professional educator license.

State Certification: https://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Teaching/Licensure

Oklahoma Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Oklahoma educators need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and must have completed an approved teacher education program. The state requires three competency examinations, which include assessments in the candidate's content area. Oklahoma conducts a criminal history record search.

State Certification: https://sde.ok.gov/teacher-certification

Oregon Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Oregon teachers need a bachelor's degree to qualify for certification. Candidates must complete an approved teacher preparation program. Oregon educators gain practicum experience in their endorsement area before applying for licensure. Candidates must pass certification exams in their endorsement area.

State Certification: https://www.oregon.gov/tspc/pages/index.aspx

Pennsylvania Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Pennsylvania educators must hold a bachelor's degree and complete a teacher preparation program to receive initial teaching certification. Candidates complete a basic skills assessment, student teaching experience, and content area testing. Pennsylvania determines the passing scores for content area tests based on the candidate's GPA.

State Certification: https://www.education.pa.gov/Educators/Certification/Pages/default.aspx

Rhode Island Teaching Certification

State Requirements: In Rhode Island, educators must complete a bachelor's program that includes teacher preparation training. The state mandates at least 12 weeks of student teaching experience in the candidate's certification area. Certification requirements include content and pedagogical components. Candidates must pass the Rhode Island Certification Tests to receive the initial educator certificate.

State Certification: https://www.ride.ri.gov/teachersadministrators/educatorcertification.aspx

South Carolina Teaching Certification

State Requirements: South Carolina issues initial teaching certificates to educators who hold a bachelor's degree and complete an approved educator preparation program. Candidates must pass pedagogical and subject area assessments. South Carolina uses multiple assessments, including Praxis tests. Educators with three years of teaching experience can receive a professional certificate.

State Certification: https://ed.sc.gov/educators/certification/

South Dakota Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Educators in South Dakota can qualify for a teaching certification with a bachelor's degree and a completed educator preparation program. The state requires Praxis exams. Candidates must complete an approved Indian studies course with a minimum C grade, along with suicide awareness and prevention training.

State Certification: https://doe.sd.gov/certification/

Tennessee Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Tennessee issues practitioner teaching licenses to educators with a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Candidates must have completed or be currently enrolled in an educator preparation program. Tennessee candidates take Praxis pedagogical and content area assessments. All applicants must fulfill requirements for at least one endorsement area.

State Certification: https://www.tn.gov/education/licensing/educator-licensure.html

Texas Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Texas teachers must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Certification candidates must complete an approved educator preparation program. Texas requires certification exams based on the candidate's grade level and content area. First-time applicants undergo fingerprinting as part of a criminal background check.

State Certification: https://tea.texas.gov/texas-educators/certification

Utah Teaching Certification

State Requirements: To apply for an initial educator license, Utah candidates must hold a bachelor's degree and meet content prerequisites. Individuals need sufficient Praxis scores or a major in their content area. LIcensed teachers complete clinical experiences and a performance assessment to qualify for a professional educator license.

State Certification: https://www.schools.utah.gov/licensing

Vermont Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Bachelor's degree-holders can qualify for a Vermont teaching certification. Candidates must complete a state-approved educator preparation program and provide a licensure recommendation from their school. Vermont requires Praxis II exams in the candidate's content area. Candidates also submit Praxis I, SAT, ACT, or GRE scores.

State Certification: https://education.vermont.gov/educator-licensure/become-a-vermont-educator

Virginia Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Virginia educators must complete a state-approved preparation program and hold a bachelor's degree. Requirements for an initial Virginia teaching certification also include student teaching or clinical practicum hours. Initial certification candidates must pass the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment and Praxis subject assessments.

State Certification: https://www.doe.virginia.gov/teaching/licensure/

Washington Teaching Certification

State Requirements: In Washington State, educators must complete a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Teaching certification candidates must complete an approved teacher preparation program and submit fingerprints for a background check. Washington requires passing scores on the state's basic skills test and content area test.

State Certification: https://www.k12.wa.us/certification/teacher-certificate

Washington, D.C., Teaching Certification

State Requirements: The District of Columbia issues initial teacher certification to educators with a bachelor's degree who are currently enrolled in a teacher certification program. Educators must pass a basic skills test and content area exams. After completing an approved certification program, individuals can apply for a standard teacher credential.

State Certification: https://osse.dc.gov/page/teacher-certification

West Virginia Teaching Certification

State Requirements: West Virginia educators must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. To qualify for teacher certification, candidates must have completed teacher preparation training, which may include specialization area coursework. Candidates must pass Praxis exams covering pedagogical knowledge and a content area.

State Certification: https://wvde.state.wv.us/teachwv/certification.html

Wisconsin Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Wisconsin educators need a bachelor's degree to qualify for teaching certification. The traditional pathway includes completion of an approved educator preparation program. Candidates demonstrate subject area competency through Praxis test scores or a minimum 3.0 GPA. Wisconsin also conducts a background check.

State Certification: https://dpi.wi.gov/licensing/general

Wyoming Teaching Certification

State Requirements: Wyoming educators need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution to receive a teaching certification. Candidates must complete a teacher preparation program that includes student teaching. Wyoming uses Praxis exams to test basic academic skills and content area knowledge. The state also requires a background check.

State Certification: http://wyomingptsb.com/licensure/becoming-licensed/

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