Dec 13

A Comprehensive List of North Carolina Certification Tests for 2024

To become a teacher, you must meet specific requirements. These requirements vary by state, with each state having its own set criteria for educator certification.

In North Carolina, the requirements to be certified as a teacher include earning a bachelor's degree in education and completing a state-approved teacher preparation program. 

In this guide, we’ll provide details of the process of becoming a teacher and various certification options available for educators in North Carolina. We’ll also shed light on the specific tests and assessments required to secure licensing in the state.

How to Become a Teacher in North Carolina

Becoming a teacher in North Carolina is a process. Every step of the process takes you further toward becoming an effective educator. Let’s look at the steps needed to be a certified teacher in North Carolina.

1. Get a bachelor’s degree in education.

To become a teacher in North Carolina, you need to earn a bachelor's degree in education from an accredited institution. 

The bachelor’s degree takes four years to complete. The specific coursework depends on the degree program, but most programs include coursework in:

  •    Content knowledge
  •    Curriculum development 
  •    Pedagogy
  •    Student assessment and evaluation
  •    Group behavior
  •    Child and human development
  •    Classroom management.

2. Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.

Once you have earned your bachelor's degree, you must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program. 

Teacher preparation programs provide instructional skills and classroom experience to aspiring educators. They also help in providing educators with professional development opportunities.

During the program, aspiring teachers instruct a real classroom under the guidance of an experienced mentor teacher. They gain experience in classroom management, tailoring instruction to different learners, and also build their confidence. 

You must apply to enroll in a teacher preparation program by providing your bachelor’s degree transcripts and meeting other requirements as required by the program. Duration and application procedures differ by the program.

Most programs take two years to complete. As you choose the program, select a program recognized by the state.

3. Meet North Carolina teacher testing requirements.

North Carolina has specific testing requirements for prospective teachers. 

Teachers must undertake the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators. Those who want to teach elementary and special education must take the Pearson test.

The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators, also commonly referred to as Core, is a set of exams designed to assess the basic academic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics.

These exams are mandatory as part of the teacher certification process in North Carolina.

They consist of three subtests:

  •    Praxis Core Reading (5713): Assesses the candidate's ability to comprehend, analyze, and evaluate written passages. The questions related to identifying main ideas, understanding supporting details, making inferences, and understanding the author's purpose.
  •    Praxis Core Writing (5723): Evaluates the candidate's ability to produce clear written communication. It includes multiple-choice questions that assess knowledge of language and research skills and a written response in which test takers are required to write an argumentative essay based on a given topic.
  •    Praxis Core Mathematics (5733): Measures the test taker's mathematical reasoning and quantitative skills. The questions are related to number and quantity, algebra and functions, geometry, statistics, and probability.

    Prospective elementary school educators must take the Pearson NC Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum (multi-subjects and mathematics subtests) exams.
  •    The Pearson Foundations of Reading Exam: It assesses the knowledge necessary for effective reading instruction. This exam covers Foundations of Reading Development, Phonological and Phonemic Awareness, Word Analysis and Fluency, Vocabulary Development, Reading Comprehension, Literacy Assessment and Instruction.

  •    Pearson General Curriculum Multi-Subjects Exam: This exam assesses the knowledge of candidates seeking licensure in multiple subjects for elementary school teaching. It includes subtests covering various subject areas, including mathematics, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. Each subtest measures a candidate's proficiency in the subject area and readiness to teach that subject at the elementary school level.

The Pearson General Curriculum Mathematics Subtest is part of the General Curriculum Multi-Subjects Exam. 

The subtest focuses specifically on assessing the candidate's mathematical knowledge, It covers content areas such as numbers and operations, algebra and functions, and geometry and measurements.

As a candidate, you should familiarize yourself with the tests to ensure you get certified. Be aware of the:

  •    Testing criteria
  •    Test structure and format
  •    Exam duration, 
  •    Application process. 

Adequate preparation for these tests is crucial to ensure successful completion. Explore the test preparation resources to help you confidently face the exam and pass.

4. Submit your teaching license application to the state.

Once you’ve fulfilled the educational and testing requirements, you must submit your teaching license application to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). 

To apply for a license, log in to your NCDPI account and apply for the license. Provide all documentation requested and pay the non-refundable licensure fee.

Complete and submit your application and wait for the state to review your application.

5. Pass the background check.

You must undergo a background check as part of the teacher certification process. 

Background checks help verify you are free of a criminal record for the safety and well-being of students. The background check involves criminal history and fingerprinting. 

6. Start teaching.

After completing all requirements and obtaining the teaching license, you can begin your teaching career in North Carolina. 

You can apply for jobs within North Carolina’s school districts. Check for openings on school district websites and job boards such as CraigsList and ZipRecruiter.

Some school districts have additional onboarding processes or orientations before you can teach.

List of North Carolina Certification Tests

In North Carolina, educator licenses come in two main types: 

  •    The Initial Professional License (IPL) 
  •    The Continuing Professional License (CPL).

Initial Professional License (IPL)

The Initial Professional License is the initial license designed for educators with less than three years of teaching experience. 

This certificate is valid for a period of three years, during which educators are expected to fulfill the necessary professional development requirements for advancing to the CPL. 

To obtain the IPL certificate, you must complete a state-approved educator preparation program, which includes specific coursework and practical teaching experiences.

In addition to educational requirements, candidates for the IPL certificate must pass the Praxis Core tests and at least one Praxis Subject Area Exam, depending on their grade level and subject area. 

These tests assess their proficiency in the subject areas they intend to teach. The type of questions on these tests covers various topics relevant to the chosen teaching level.

The Praxis passing score for the certification tests is determined by the NCDPI and varies depending on the specific test and subject area. 

If you’re an aspiring educator pursuing the IPL certificate, thoroughly review the testing guidelines and content specifications provided by the NCDPI to adequately prepare for and pass the certification tests.

Continuing Professional License (CPL)

The Continuing Professional License (CPL) is an advanced educator license for teachers with three or more years of teaching experience in North Carolina. 

This certificate is valid for five years, and teachers must renew their credentials every five years.

To qualify for the CPL certificate, educators must:

  •    Complete three or more years of teaching experience.
  •    Pass the NCSBE teacher licensure exams. These are computer-based exams administered through either ETS or Pearson.
  •    Complete the online CPL application by submitting all documentation required. 
  •    Submit payment of the application fee via credit card.

Furthermore, candidates for the CPL certificate must demonstrate a continued dedication to professional development and excellence in teaching.

The CPL certificate acknowledges an educator's extended experience in the field by reflecting their proficiency and impact in the classroom.

How to Apply for a Teacher Certification Program in North Carolina

Earning a teacher's license in North Carolina involves completing a bachelor's degree and a state-accredited teacher preparation program. 

The teacher preparation program includes theoretical coursework, practical teaching experiences, and empirical components to ensure comprehensive preparation for the teaching profession.

Aspiring teachers are required to engage in two empirical components:

  •    Observe an experienced teacher: Candidates must observe an experienced teacher in a related grade level or subject area. They gain insights into effective instructional practices and classroom management.
  •    Teach in a classroom: To gain hands-on experience, aspiring educators must teach in a classroom setting, focusing on a related grade level or content area. It helps them to apply their knowledge in a real-world classroom setting.

Individuals with a relevant undergraduate degree but who have not completed a traditional teacher preparation program can still enter the teaching profession through an alternative route. 

This pathway allows career changers or those with expertise in a specific field to transition into teaching.

Alternative Route to Becoming a Teacher in North Carolina

Here's an overview of the alternative route to becoming a teacher in North Carolina:

  •    A bachelor's degree- Traditional teacher preparation programs usually include a bachelor's degree in education. However, alternative routes allow individuals with a bachelor's degree in a related field to become teachers. The specific subject of the degree may depend on the teaching area.
  •    Enrollment into a teacher preparation program- These programs are designed for individuals who did not undergo the traditional teacher preparation pathway but have a degree in a relevant field. They involve additional coursework, mentoring, and classroom experience.
  •    Pass teacher certification exams- In North Carolina, this includes the Praxis exams, such as the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core) and the Pearson Test.
  •    Licensing: Apply for an IPL teaching license through the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. The application process includes submitting transcripts, test scores, and payment of licensing fees. You will be issued with a temporary teaching certificate.
  •    Professional development and mentoring: Alternative route teachers must participate in professional development activities and mentoring programs. It helps support their transition into teaching and ensures they receive the necessary guidance and training.

Continuous professional development helps teachers work towards CPL teacher certification.

General Information about North Carolina Teaching Certificate

If you want to become a teacher in North Carolina, you need to apply for a teaching license. To apply:

  •    Go to the NCDPI website and create an account in their online licensure system. This is where you'll submit your application.
  •    You'll have to provide some official papers, like your college transcripts, proof that you finished a teacher education program, and your test scores from Pearson or Praxis.
  •    There's a $70 fee for processing your application.
  •    If you meet all the requirements, you'll get your IPL license. This one lasts for three years, after which you must meet the requirements for a CPL.

To qualify for a CPL, you'll need to pass the NCSBE exams and complete the application requirements as mentioned earlier.

Teacher Salaries and Job Outlook in North Carolina

If you're considering a teaching career in North Carolina, you'll be pleased to know that teachers in the state have good potential to earn a decent salary.

The average annual salary for public school teachers in North Carolina is $55,092. The salary ranges between $46,002 and $67,195.

According to, new teachers with 1 to 2 years of experience earn an average annual salary of $49,675. For those who stick with teaching and accumulate 10 years of experience, the average annual salary increases to $63,083.

Teachers in the following cities tend to earn more in North Carolina:

  •    Winston-Salem
  •    Fayetteville
  •    Raleigh
  •    Durham
  •    Charlotte.

The good news for aspiring teachers is that job opportunities in North Carolina look promising. The state's annual job growth rate for teachers is around 2.5%, indicating a positive outlook for those seeking teaching positions.

Become a Certified Teacher in North Carolina

If you aspire to teach in North Carolina, you must work diligently to obtain teacher certification. You must enroll in a teacher preparation program and pass the certification exams before you’re licensed.

The main exams in North Carolina are Praxis or Pearson assessments. These tests assess your readiness for the teaching profession.

You must prepare well for these tests to face them confidently and pass.

If you're gearing up for your certification journey and need assistance, contact The Learning Liaisons. We’ll provide support and test preparation resources to help you prepare for your certification exams.

Let us equip you for a successful teaching career in North Carolina.