Home Teaching Programs in North Carolina

Teaching Programs in North Carolina

North Carolina is growing—and not only that, the state superintendent of schools has a stated goal to make its public schools the “best place to learn and teach by 2030.” Now is a great time to get a teaching degree in North Carolina, and the state offers several ways to acquire a teaching license: traditional, alternative, and technical.

How Can I Get a Teaching Degree in North Carolina?

Traditional Pathway to Becoming a Teacher in North Carolina

The traditional path to becoming a teacher is to decide what grade or subject you want to teach, get your bachelor’s degree in education (including completing a student teaching assignment), and then apply for a license and pass the required North Carolina State Board of Education (SBE) exams.

In North Carolina, if you’re beginning your teaching career and have fewer than three years of experience, you’ll first obtain an Initial Professional License (IPL).

Application for an IPL requires:

  1. An online account:  Set up an account for the NCDPI Online License System.
  2. Official transcripts: Upload official transcripts of all post-secondary studies.
  3. Verification by Institution: Upload all required Verification by Institution forms.
  4. Licensure fees: Pay the required non-refundable/non-transferrable licensure fee with a valid credit card.

More details are available on the “Educators” tab of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) website.

Becoming a Teacher Through Alternative Certification or as a Career Switcher

If you live in North Carolina and already have a degree, but it’s not in education, and you want to teach, there’s an alternative certification path to becoming licensed to teach. You can get a Residency License, a one-year provisional license that allows a resident to take a teaching position in their field. It may be renewed twice for a total of three years.

To obtain a Residency License, you must be employed by a North Carolina school system and enrolled in an approved educator preparation program (EPP). Only the EPP, along with the hiring school system, can initiate the licensing process.

A one-year non-renewable emergency license may be available to an individual who holds a bachelor’s degree with at least 18 hours of coursework relevant to the specific subject they want to teach.

Career and Technical Education Teacher Certification in North Carolina

North Carolina offers a Career and Technical Education (CTE) License for those with knowledge and experience in vocational areas, including skilled trades, applied sciences, modern technologies, and other subjects.

A CTE Restricted License allows a candidate to obtain an Initial Professional Educator License based on work experience in seven umbrella areas with dozens of sub-topics. Education requirements vary by license, such as a bachelor’s for agriculture education, an associate for information technology education, and a high school diploma for trade and industrial fields.

Teachers Moving to North Carolina from a Different State

With the Smoky Mountains, the Outer Banks, and affordable Southern charm, North Carolina has drawn teachers from other areas who want to live and work in this beautiful state. Teachers who hold national certification are automatically granted a North Carolina teaching license.

Those who don’t have national certification may apply for a teaching license in North Carolina through the NCDPI Online Licensure System. Teachers with fewer than three years of experience should apply for an Initial Professional License (IPL). Those who have more than three years of verified teaching experience in another state may be eligible for a Continuing Professional License (CPL).

All candidates must pass the required exams; however, other states’ tests may be acceptable if North Carolina has a comparable license area and the applicant received a score that meets or exceeds the passing score recommended by the test developer.

Average Salaries and Projected Job Growth for North Carolina Teachers

Carolina has committed to improving its schools, supporting educators, and retaining/attracting teachers. Those who hold a master’s degree or a doctorate earn higher salaries, and North Carolina offers a 12% salary supplement and eight continuing education credits (CEUs) to teachers who obtain national certification.

CareerAnnual Mean Wage 2018Projected Job Growth 2016–2026
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education$45,8608%
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education$47,0508%
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education$46,2908%
Postsecondary Teaching*$78,351Growth projections vary depending on the field.

*Averaged from all postsecondary salaries
Job growth information from O*Net.

Teacher Training Programs in North Carolina

We’ve highlighted a few universities whose teacher training programs have been approved by the state. You’ll find a complete list of approved programs on the

If you’re licensed in North Carolina and want to broaden your skills without getting a master’s degree, you might want to consider a certificate program.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The UNC at Chapel Hill is the flagship of 17 campuses that make up the University of North Carolina system. The institution offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees, as well as a variety of certificates, in B-12 education (“B” meaning “birth,” more commonly called “early childhood education“), with specializations including music education and science and teaching. The school of education also has programs for those interested in education, but not in traditional classroom work, providing a list of careers for which they can prepare you. UNC also includes a list of fully online programs, ranging from certifications through doctorates, though none of the programs are offered through the Chapel Hill campus itself. Tuition and fees for North Carolina residents are $9,018, while out-of-state residents pay $36,000.

Duke University

Duke is a private university that boasts of small class sizes. They offer undergraduate education degrees and a year-long Master of Arts in Teaching, with special attention paid to cultural responsiveness and education policy. After graduation from either program, students have the opportunity to apply to live at Duke TeachHouse, a fellowship program wherein full-time teachers live and work on professional development and early career reflection together. Annual tuition for 2020 is $58,198.

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University (WCU) is a public university in Cullowhee, North Carolina, that began as a teaching college. WCU’s School of Teaching and Learning offers undergraduate, graduate, and online programs for educators, with unique specializations like middle grades education and gifted education.  Tuition for full-time, in-state undergraduate students enrolled in at least 12 hours is $3,452. Tuition for out-of-state students is $5,452. Tuition and fees for graduate students are higher.

Winston-Salem State University

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is an historically black college (HCBU) that offers a liberal education. The school of education encompasses departments of education and health, physical education, and sport studies, as well as a Mathematics Science Education Network initiative. Tuition and fees are $1,700.50 for in-state residents, whereas out-of-state students pay $6,824.00.

North Carolina Teacher Resources

  • North Carolina Department of Public Instruction: The state of North Carolina provides information and resources for educators on the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction website. Teachers can review K-12 Standards or explore the site to find grade cards that indicate how schools in the state are performing. There’s information about professional development programs, a Teachers’ Corner, and more.
  • State Library of North Carolina: The State Library of North Carolina is the main library for the state. They offer a page that provides both real-world and online resources and tools for teachers. The library develops and supports access to specialized collections and it helps build the capacity of all libraries in the state.
  • Carolina Public Humanities: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides a resource page for K-12 teachers. It also offers a searchable database of K-12 resources that includes lesson plans and activities suitable for use in school, after school, or extra-curricular settings. Lessons align with North Carolina Essential Education Standards.
  • North Carolina Museum of History: The North Carolina Museum of History provides a page of recommended resources on North Carolina History and Culture for both teachers and students. Their BEYOND the Exhibits program offers interactive learning experiences that teachers can use in the classroom.
  • Professional Educators of North Carolina (PENC): PENC provides Internet resources for North Carolina educators on topics that include: education in the state, art education, foreign language resources, links to national resources, and a variety of links to resources on various topics collected under a heading titled General Resources.
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