We live in an increasingly mobile world. People don’t tend to lay down roots like they once did, but rather move from city to city and even state to state. With some career paths, however, this can be a difficult prospect. In a career like teaching, your licensure is going to be in the state in which you were certified, and it may not be valid in other states. It’s important to understand how teacher certification reciprocity works in the teaching profession, and what you’ll need to do, if you want to teach in a new state.
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Understanding Teacher Certification Reciprocity
The first thing you need to understand is that there is no universal teacher certification reciprocity, meaning there’s no state in which you can be certified, and simply move to another state to get a job as a teacher. Most states have guidelines that will provide an expedited path to licensure for a previously-licensed teacher, but this is by no means automatic.
Exploring teaching reciprocity in your new state means that you’ll be looking into the guidelines to apply for licensure in your new state. Fortunately, in most states you’ll likely have plenty of time to walk the path while you continue to teach on a provisional certification or temporary teaching license.
There are interstate agreements, but these can be confusing because each state might recognize that your testing and education from another state is equivalent, but still impose additional requirements specific to the new state, to transfer your license.
The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, or NASDTEC, has an interstate agreement which is designed to expedite the process. It allows agencies to check up on your credentials from another state and to facilitate agreements between states.
International Teachers and Reciprocity
The process gets more complex with foreign teachers. You’ll need to check your individual state guidelines to discover the steps you’ll have to take.
Some states offer reciprocity from specific countries. Canadian teachers, specifically, may benefit from NASDTEC agreements as some provinces in Canada have signed onto that agreement. Many are willing to offer temporary certificates or provisional licensing for foreign-educated teachers, so long as they can demonstrate their education and skills match the state’s requirements.
Proving these qualifications usually means getting evaluation from a service like NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) or AICE (Association of International Credential Evaluators). These organizations have the sole purpose of evaluating foreign credentials and comparing them to U.S. requirements.
Reciprocity among teachers across state lines is becoming more important, as we seek to fill a critical shortage of teachers. We need to allow our educators maximum mobility from place to place, and the more accepting a given state is of other states’ requirements, the more likely it is that teachers will migrate to areas of serious need.
The first step, however, is to get certified and become a teacher in your home state! Check out the requirements for teaching licensure in your state, and get started on the path to a very rewarding and important career today.