Becoming a Teacher in North Carolina

Explore Program, Licensing and Job Outlook Data for 2017

Guide to Becoming a Teacher in North Carolina

North Carolina currently has a high demand for teachers statewide. To help prospective North Carolina teachers explore their options, has compiled all the information and insights needed to get started.

1. Choosing a Program: The first step is finding an education program that supports your budget and career goals now and in the future.

  • Finding an appropriate program that fits your needs is never easy. What matters to you as a student? Is cost a major concern? Are you concerned about the program’s graduation rate or job placement rate? Asking the right questions upfront will ensure you end up in the program that is best suited to your needs and budget.

2. Planning for Licensure in North Carolina: To become a teacher in North Carolina, you’ll need to complete at least a bachelor’s degree and a teacher preparation program and to write and pass the state’s required teacher licensure exams.

3. Entering the Workforce: Once you’ve completed an education program and passed the state’s teacher licensure exams, you will be ready to launch your job search in North Carolina.

  • It is always best to start by asking the right questions. Are you interested in working in a rural or urban school? Where do you think you would be most comfortable working and living? What are your lifestyle priorities and which region of the state can best meet these priorities? What are your salary expectations? Throughout this process, keep building your resume, expanding your education and gaining additional teaching experience. By remaining current, you will ensure you have the best possible chance of gaining a full-time teaching position in North Carolina shortly after graduation.

Choosing an Education Program in North Carolina understands that choosing the right program is never easy. For this reason, we have streamlined the process. With the aid of a complex algorithmic tool, we have reviewed, tested and documented the top education programs in North Carolina for 2015. Notably, our criteria reflects prospective teachers’ top priorities. For this reason, our rankings focus on total expense, student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates, potential earnings, and over all return on investment.

All the schools on’s list below are committed to excellence and have proven themselves to be among the very best places to pursue an education degree in North Carolina. Find out which schools rank best at the bachelor’s and master’s levels in education.

Ranking Factors Explained

Our ranking data is based upon, IPEDS, and the Carnegie Foundation data sets.

How to Become a Teacher in North Carolina

There are multiple pathways to teacher lincensure in North Carolina, including the following:

  • Pathway 1: The first option is to complete a bachelor’s degree in education at one of the state’s many approved teacher preparation programs and to write and pass the state’s required teacher licensure exams, which include the Pearson Test for North Carolina: Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum and the applicable Praxis II exams.
  • Pathway 2: For candidates who already hold a bachelor’s degree, the most common pathway to teaching is to complete a master’s degree in teacher licensure leading to certification and to write and pass the state’s required exams for teachers.
  • Pathway 3: Another common option in North Carolina is the state’s Lateral Entry program. In this case, candidates who already hold a bachelor’s degree or higher enter the classroom on a provisional license and acquire the coursework needed to complete an education degree and write and pass the state’s required exams over the course of their first three years of teaching.

What is the job outlook for teaching careers in the State of North Carolina?

Over the past decade, North Carolina has hired over 10,000 new teachers. Some teachers are in especially high demand. The North Carolina Career Outlook Handbook lists elementary school teachers among the fastest growing occupations in the state between 2006 and 2016.  In 2015, there were widespread reports that North Carolina may soon face a teacher shortage. Indeed, the state estimates the need to hire more than 100,000 new teachers in public and charter schools over the coming decade. The reasons for the shortage are only partly due to retirements and population increases. Lower than average teacher salaries, especially for starting teachers, are being blamed for the state’s declining graduation rates from teacher preparation programs and declining interest in the state’s approved alternative teacher licensure pathways. Between 1999 and 2013, the state’s teachers experienced a 15 percent decline in average annual salaries, placing them below the national average and among the more poorly paid teachers in America. Notably, at $30,780, new teachers in North Carolina have one of the lowest starting salaries for teachers nationwide.

What resources do teachers have to help them during their careers in North Carolina?

What online programs are available to potential teachers in the State of North Carolina?

For teachers who hold a bachelor’s degree and are already teaching in a North Carolina school through their lateral entry option, East Carolina University offers both on-site and distance education programs. Lateral entry programs are also offered through North Carolina State University’s Distance Education Program. Guildford College is another top destination for students hoping to complete an education degree online. For licensed teachers hoping to move into higher education administration, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro offers a post master’s certificate in school administration through its online program.

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