The Licensure Section is responsible for examining credentials and issuing professional educator's licenses that qualify individuals to seek employment as teachers, administrators and other special service personnel in North Carolina public schools. All professional employees of public schools must hold a professional educator's license for the subject or grade level they teach or for the professional education assignment that they hold.

Whether you are looking forward to your first educator position or are re-entering education after an absence, your steps to obtaining a professional educator's license are easy and convenient.

Depending on the time of year, the professional educator's licensure process may be approximately six weeks. Late spring and early summer are typically when the most professional educator's license applications are submitted.



Online System

Professional educators are able to apply for and update their North Carolina licenses online. Instructions and more information are available within the online licensure system.

Go to the NCDPI Online Licensure System.



Two phone numbers are available for inquiries Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm Eastern Standard Time:

800.577.7994 within North Carolina and

919.807.3310 outside of North Carolina.



Please note when emailing us to include your full name in the email, as well as the last 4 numbers of your SSN and your license or application number. Failure to provide this information may create delays in our ability to respond.



  • Professional Educator's Initial Licenses are non-renewable and intended for teachers with 0-2 years of teaching experience, and are valid for three years. To be issued a Professional Educator's Initial License, an individual must have:
    • completed a state approved teacher education program from a regionally accredited college or university, or
    • completed another state's approved alternative route to licensure and earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college.
      1. Praxis II Testing - for middle grades (6-9), secondary (9-12), and K-12 (including Exceptional Children: General Curriculum) license areas.
      2. Pearson Testing for North Carolina: Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum - for Elementary Education and Exceptional Children: General Curriculum licenses only.
        • Out-of-state individuals with three or more years of experience who are applying for a NC Elementary Educator or Exceptional Children: General Curriculum teaching license and who have passed another state's licensure exam without mathematics and reading subtests may be issued an initial license. To convert to a NC Continuing license, the individual may enroll in NCDPI's Reading Research to Classroom Practice and Foundations of Mathematics courses. Candidates who successfully complete these courses along with the associated learning tasks and assessments may be eligible for a Continuing License. Visit the Events tab at for more information about when these DPI courses are offered: Reading Research to Classroom Practice (formerly called Reading Foundations) and Foundations of Mathematics.
          • For registration information, follow these steps at
            1. Change the calendar to the month the participant would like to attend the course.
            2. Locate a "Day 1" session.
            3. Click on the Day (it is a link to a PDF which will open with additional information).
            4. Contact the individual listed as lead facilitator via the email listed to find if there are "non-LEA seats" available and to register.
            5. For additional information to address questions or concerns visit


  • Professional Educator's Continuing Licenses are intended for teachers with 3 or more years of teaching experience, and are valid for five years. The Professional Educator's Continuing License is issued to out-of-state teachers who:
    • Are fully licensed in another state
    • Have three or more years of teaching experience
    • Demonstrate evidence of effectiveness by providing evaluation data, including student growth (where applicable) from the state in which the current license is held
    • Meet NC State Board of Education approved licensure exam requirements OR have National Board Certification
  • Lateral Entry Teachers in North Carolina
    (pdf, 37kb)   LAST UPDATED: APRIL 23, 2019
  • Career and Technical Education
    • Career and Technical Education (CTE) Licensure Policies and Procedures Manual - effective 2019-2020
      (pdf, 815kb)   POSTED 5/7/19
    • Career and Technical Education (CTE) Licensure Policies and Procedures Manual - effective 2018-2019
      (pdf, 815kb)   POSTED 6/19/18
    • Career and Technical Education Licensure Manual - effective 2017-2018
      (pdf, 557kb)   POSTED 6/20/17



Access the NCDPI Online Licensure System to print a copy of your license free of charge. Instructions and more information are available within the online licensure system.



Access the NCDPI Online Licensure System to change your name on your Professional Educator's License. Instructions and more information are available within the online licensure system. You must upload into the new online system copies of official documentation to verify the change, such as the following:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Driver's license
  • Other court documents showing that the educator's name has been changed officially.



Professional Associations and Organizations

Educational Partners International, LLC (EPI): Designated by the US Dept. of State as a J-1 exchange visitor program sponsor, EPI provides highly-qualified international teachers with the visa sponsorship and support needed to teach critical needs subjects in NC. EPI assists teachers and schools with visa processing, licensure, professional and cultural development, and more. They provide a unique cultural exchange program with emphasis on support.

Participate: Since 1989, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction has worked with Participate (formerly VIF) to welcome teachers from around the world to our state. Today, hundreds of North Carolina schools host about one thousand Participate international teachers from 48 different countries.

International Teacher Exchange Services: Designated by the U.S. Dept of State (Exchange Visitor Program), ITES sponsors and supports highly-qualified international teachers for critical needs subjects in North Carolina. In addition to being highly effective in their professional field, ITES teachers bring the world directly into our classrooms by sharing their knowledge and cultures with our students.

North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE): NCAE's mission is to advocate for members and students, to enhance the education profession and to advance public education.

Professional Educators of NC (PENC): Their mission is to promote education reform for the benefit of all NC children while ensuring the recruitment, development and retention of qualified educators.

Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) State Teacher Center: The SREB - State Teacher Center is an online resource designed to help you find information relevant to the teaching profession.

State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC): SEANC is committed to protecting and enhancing the rights and benefits of current, retired and future state employees.