Before you can teach you’ll need to meet some certification and licensing requirements:

Obtaining a bachelor’s degree

Completing a teacher preparation program, which includes either an undergraduate, master’s, or alternative program.

Getting state or national certification to teach by completing all requirements


National Board Certification is an advanced teaching credential offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. It complements, but does not replace, a state’s teacher license. You can get National Board Certification by successfully completing a voluntary assessment program designed to recognize effective and accomplished teachers. National Board Certification is available nationwide for most pre- K-12 teachers. Before applying for National Board Certification you need to meet the following requirements:

Hold a bachelor’s degree. Have completed three full years of teaching/counseling experience. Have a valid state teaching/counseling license for that period of time, or, if teaching where a license is not required, have taught in schools recognized and approved to operate by the state.


The American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) is dedicated to recruiting, preparing, certifying, and supporting teachers. The ABCTE certification program is designed to inspire people who are changing careers to become teachers. It offers a way to earn teaching certification using an online, independent study program with a rigorous and efficient process and a study plan customized for each candidate. Certification is offered in a variety of subject areas and is currently accepted in nine states as a route to full certification to teach in that state. To earn the ABCTE certification, candidates must:

Hold a Bachelor’s degree in any subject area from an approved college or university. Pass a background check. Pass the ABCTE Professional Teaching Knowledge exam. Pass the ABCTE subject area exam (in the candidate’s chosen subject area).


Many states require student teaching experience and/or first year mentoring of new teachers.


States conduct criminal background checks and may also confirm citizenship status. The candidate must pay a fee to the Board of Education to be fingerprinted as well.


States require that you complete a general teaching certification exam, such as a Praxis test, as well as a content-specific test for the subject(s) that you want to teach.

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