The Licensure Section of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is pleased to assist candidates for lateral entry with information on how to enter the teaching profession. Lateral entry is an "alternate" route to teaching for qualified individuals outside of the public education system. Lateral entry allows qualified individuals to obtain a teaching position and begin teaching right away, while obtaining a professional educator's license as they teach. The NC Dept of Public Instruction authorizes 3-year lateral entry professional educator's licenses on a provisional basis in licensure areas that correspond to the individual's academic study. Please review the following information and remember that only the hiring school system can initiate the process for lateral entry status.



What are the steps for becoming a lateral entry teacher and pursuing a professional educator's license?

Step 1: Qualify

The individual must first qualify as a lateral entry teacher to be able to seek a position with a school system.

Step 2: Employment

The individual is hired by a school system, which recommends the individual to the NC Department of Public Instruction for a lateral entry professional educator's license. All lateral entry license applications must be submitted into the NCDPI Online Licensure System by an NC employing school system. The individual is issued a three year lateral entry provisional professional educator's license.

Step 3: Plan of Study

Upon being issued the initial provisional lateral entry professional educator's license, the individual affiliates with a college or university with an approved teacher education program in the license area, or with one of the Regional Alternative Licensing Centers (RALC) in North Carolina. An individual plan of study is prescribed for the lateral entry teacher.

Regional Alternative Licensing Centers (RALC)

Teaching candidates with a lateral entry license have another option for pursuing full professional educator's licensure and that is to utilize one of the states' four Regional Alternative Licensing Centers located in the Charlotte, Fayetteville, Nash, and Catawba regions.

The Regional Alternative Licensing Centers were created by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) specifically to help lateral entry teachers in North Carolina achieve full professional educator's licensure. The centers assist teaching candidates by evaluating their applications, prescribing a course of study, recommending requirements they need in order to receive full professional educator's licensure, and clearing the license so that they become fully licensed. Candidates can take the necessary coursework at any of the state's colleges or universities.

The RALC complements what local universities and colleges provide teaching candidates - not replace it. The centers provide a number of benefits for lateral entry teachers including more consistent evaluations, evaluations targeted to the requirements the teacher needs to attain full professional educator's licensure, flexibility as to where candidates can take their coursework, and training opportunities through local school systems to meet some of the professional educator's licensing requirements.

Step 4: Coursework and Testing

The individual follows their plan of study prescribed by the college or university or the RALC. All coursework must be completed within three years. NCSBE approved licensure exam(s) must be passed during the first three school years of holding the lateral entry license if the exam(s) was/were not the basis of qualifying for the license.

Step 5: Recommendation for Professional Educator's Continuing License

When the individual completes the required coursework prescribed by the college, university or RALC and satisfies professional educator's licensure testing requirements, he/she is recommended for professional educator's licensure by the institution or RALC. This recommendation is sent to the NC Department of Public Instruction where it is evaluated and if the individual has met all their requirements, they are issued a Professional Educator's Continuing License.