state with the easiest teaching licensing requirements
December 19, 2012 5:44 AM   Subscribe

In what state is it easiest to get an alternative teacher certificate? This is for somebody who has a BA in English and about 2 decades of teaching experience here and there (mostly overseas) but no certificate.

He's willing to relocate to any state, any city, as long as he can start working immediately.
posted by gnossie to Education (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It's pretty easy everywhere.

There are "Lateral Certificates" where-by the prospective teacher gets hired, based on experience and their BA. Once hired, the person is mentored by a tenured teacher and the Lateral Applicant goes to school, workshops, and takes the Praxis to fulfill the requirements of a permanant certificate.

I did this in Florida. My friend is doing this in North Carolina.

Here's a list of all the states that have this program.

Now, let's get realistic. We're half-way through the academic year, and schools have been trounced by budget cuts. You may be able to get some substitute teaching gigs, but getting hired on right now might prove difficult.

When I was interested, I just sent my resume to the school board with a letter that said, "I'm in corporate america but I want to teach. What steps would I need to take to accomplish this." My phone rang off the hook with job offers.

My recommendation is to apply for any openings anywhere where you're interested in teaching. It's pretty easy to get an emergency certificate once you've been hired.

Think about private/parochial schools as well. They may not require certification at all.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:55 AM on December 19, 2012

I agree with Ruthless Bunny's points.

I suggest your friend either:

(1) relocate to an area he wants to work in, start substitute teaching, and enroll in a teaching certificate program part time. This will provide him the connections, experience, and qualifications he needs to teach. (If he has several preferred locations, he should check which states offer reciprocity with teaching certificates.)

(2) Join Teach for America.
posted by emilynoa at 6:03 AM on December 19, 2012

I have a friend who did this in rural Texas (with no prior teaching experience). Two very small schools really wanted to hire her.
posted by neushoorn at 6:20 AM on December 19, 2012

It is very difficult in Wisconsin.
posted by sulaine at 7:45 AM on December 19, 2012

New York City's Teaching Fellows program is designed for people who don't have a typical career path, who want to become teachers. The catch is that you generally have to work in some pretty tough inner city schools.
posted by Citrus at 10:28 AM on December 19, 2012

This is less easy to do than it used to be; NCLB has eliminated a lot of the 'emergency' certifications (which most likely wouldn't have applied to someone wishing to teach English anyway, since there's no shortage of certified English teachers). Independent schools do not necessarily require certification; public schools do.

So if your friend wants to teach public school English, that leaves 'alternate route': getting certified while teaching, usually after applying for a preliminary-type certificate. Whether this is available and what you have to do depends on the state (here in MA, for example, you must have a BA and pass the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure [MTEL] in 'can you read and write English' plus a subject exam for what you want to teach; you then are certified to teach for up to five years, by the end of which you must complete an educator program to receive initial licensure: free feel to memail me about that). If your friend really has 20 years of teaching experience, s/he will be a more attractive candidate to school districts than someone without experience (super important in English, which is very competitive).

In the middle of the year, there are openings, but they're likely to be long-term sub things rather than regular appointments (these are not paid by the day like normal subbing; they're paid like a regular teacher, just not permanent). Here in MA, most public schools post jobs on SchoolSpring.
posted by lysimache at 12:50 PM on December 19, 2012

Charter schools sometimes do not require certification.
posted by kayram at 4:22 PM on December 19, 2012

For California, you can sometimes get a mid-year replacement job and be certified as an intern - so long as you start a program that moves towards certification. is the place to look for jobs in California. It's definitely your best bet on the West Coast.
posted by guster4lovers at 4:42 PM on December 19, 2012

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