How Does Teaching License Reciprocity Work?

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
Elementary School Principal; M.A. in K-12 Educational Leadership

What is Teaching License Reciprocity?

When a person makes the wonderful life decision to become a teacher, he or she must become aware of the teaching certification requirements from the onset of their collegiate studies. Requirements can vary from state to state, so it is important to become knowledgeable about the state’s requirements where one hopes to teach. College programs must be certified teaching training programs. States require a certain number of teaching tests. There are certain grade point averages that must be maintained. It is up to the teacher to know all of these to make the teaching license process go as smoothly as possible.

Once a person has completed all of the requirements and has obtained a teaching license for their subject area, grade level, or specialization, there may come a time in that person’s life that will have them moving to another state. After years of studying, passing certification tests, and paying fees, a teacher most likely will want to continue his/her career in a new state. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as just applying for the job. The teacher will now have to research the new state’s department of education and license reciprocity regulations.

Teaching license reciprocity is when a state allows a person who has already completed a teacher-training program and has a valid teaching license in one state to then be able to teach in their state. Typically, finding a state with full-reciprocity is challenging on account that most states will require you to complete their teaching tests before being given a teaching license in their state. Furthermore, some states may require a certain license candidate to have had a certain GPA in his/her teacher training program. States may also require a teacher seeking a license in their state to take additional courses to satisfy their state’s requirements.

Which States have Teaching License Reciprocity?

The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Training (NASDTEC) has created agreements between the fifty states, Canada, and US territories to have teaching reciprocities. However, teachers have to be careful and do due diligence on their research because state reciprocities are not all equal. For example, according to NASDTEC, Georgia gives reciprocity to those who have Connecticut teaching licenses. However, Connecticut does not give full reciprocity to those who have a Georgia teaching license.

JSRs are Jurisdiction Specific Requirements. These are the additional requirements that certain states require for a person to be given a teaching license in that state when the teacher has been trained in another state. JSRs can range from a required number of teaching years in the other state, additional teacher training tests, or new college-level courses. Pennsylvania even requires teachers to have taken six credits of math and six credits of English for their state teaching license.

More Areas to Keep in Mind

There are other areas for teachers to keep in mind when moving to a new state. Teachers work very hard and deserve all the compensation that they are given. Therefore, teachers should not forget about their hard-earned pensions. Each state has their own retirement system. It is vital that teachers learn about how to purchase years of service and add those to their new state’s retirement system. Although this is not a requirement, it could be very helpful when a person is approaching retirement age to have those years in their current state’s system. Like so many areas in life, this could be a tedious process. However, the end result can be very beneficial.

Furthermore, having subject area knowledge is not enough. Make sure that you are informed about the new state’s standards and tests. Moving to a new state can cause a teacher to alter his/her teaching style to meet the new standards. Being familiar with the new state standards will not only help the teacher pass the new state’s teaching assessments, but it will greatly help during the interview process at a new school. As all educators know, state standards are the guiding tools for educating youth. Therefore, a teacher must be knowledgeable about the new state’s standards, procedures, and assessments.

Another important detail that teachers should be aware of when thinking about moving to a new state is whether or not that state has a teaching shortage. If the new state does have a teaching shortage, a teacher may find that the teaching license reciprocity process is easier than for a state that does not have a shortage of teachers. Additionally, there may be state departments of education who are willing to pay for the extra courses that a teacher might have to take to qualify for the new teaching license if they are in desperate need of teachers.

The most important piece that a teacher can do when considering moving to another state is to do research. As with every aspect of education, there are always new rules and regulations. A teacher does not want to be held up from taking a new job because she does not have her teaching license for the new state.

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