Lateral Entry License

An individual who has not completed an approved teacher education program may be licensed under the following lateral entry provisions:

1) Be selected for employment by a North Carolina school system.

2) Hold at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the subject area in which they are employed to teach or hold at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and have satisfied Praxis II testing requirements for the license area.

3) Have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or have passed the Praxis I exams and have attained one of the following:

a) GPA of at least 3.0 on all work completed in the senior year;

b) GPA of at least 3.0 in the major; or

c) GPA of at least 3.0 in a minimum of 15 semester hours of course work completed within the last 5 years.


Effective July 1,2006, to be issued a lateral entry license to teach at the elementary grades level, an individual must have satisfied Praxis II testing requirements for elementary education.

A person who holds a lateral entry license shall complete a program that includes the following components:

1) completion of an approved education program in the area of licensure at a college or university or teacher education consortium which has evaluated the person's transcripts and outlined required course work or completion of a program of study outlined by the Regional Alternative Licensing Centers;

2) attaining passing score on appropriate PRAXIS subject exam(s) during the first two school years of holding the lateral entry license if the exam(s) was/were not the basis of qualifying for the license;

3) completion of a staff development program that includes a two-week training course prior to beginning the work assignment;

4) completion of six semester hours of course work in the approved program each school year;

5) successful completion of at least a three-year initial licensure program in the lateral entry license area;

6) completion of all above requirements within 5 years of becoming eligible for a lateral entry license and recommendation of the college/university for clear licensure. Effective July 1, 2003, requirements to be fully licensed must be completed within 3 years.


The employing school system shall formally commit to supporting the lateral entry teacher by:

1) providing a two-week orientation that includes lesson planning, classroom organization, classroom management, and an overview of the ABCs Program including the standard course of study and end-of-grade and end-of-course testing;

2) assignment of a mentor on or before the first day on the job;

3) providing working conditions that are appropriate for all novice teachers;

4) giving regular focused feedback to the teacher for improving instruction; and

5) assisting the individual in accessing prescribed course work and professional development opportunities.

Lateral Entry: Criteria and Conditions

A lateral entry license entitles the holder to be employed by and serve as a teacher in North Carolina schools. Lateral entry licenses are authorized on a provisional basis in major areas of academic study for which the state has established licensure.


  • Applicants for a lateral entry license must be employed by a North Carolina school system and hold at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution in the subject area they are employed to teach.
  • Graduates of approved education programs who are not recommended for licensure by their college or university are not eligible for a lateral entry license. However, a person who has satisfied all major degree requirements but has a minor deficiency or technical requirement can apply for a lateral entry license if employed by a school system. Such a deficiency cannot exceed six semester hours and must be corrected during the first year of licensure. Individuals who have completed all education program requirements except the Praxis Series tests are not eligible for lateral entry licensing.



  • The applicant and the employing school system submit a joint application to the Licensure Section.
  • Individuals licensed through lateral entry must complete an approved education program in their area of licensure at a college or university. The college evaluates the individual's credentials and outlines the course work necessary to earn a clear license. Successful teaching experience can substitute for the student teaching requirement.
  • An initial lateral entry license is valid for two school years. It can be extended on a yearly basis for up to three years if the holder earns a minimum of six semester hours of the outlined course work per year. Lateral entry employees must meet all program requirements within three years.
  • Lateral entry employees must earn the required score on the designated Praxis Series specialty area test or subject assessment tests during their first two years of licensure. If they do not, the license cannot be extended.
  • Lateral entry license holders are subject to all regulations that apply to other beginning teachers in North Carolina. They must successfully complete three years of teaching in the Initial Licensure Program before their licenses can be converted from lateral entry to clear and continuing status. Lateral entry employees retain initial status throughout the entire period during which they complete academic and testing requirements.
  • Individuals entering public school service through lateral entry must complete a two-week training course prior to service in the schools or submit evidence of equivalent training. The required training may include the effective teacher training program, classroom management and discipline procedures, and an orientation to local school policies and procedures.
  • For a lateral entry license to remain valid, the holder must meet the testing and progressive credit requirements within the three-year limit whether or not he or she continues to be employed in a North Carolina school system.


This data was provided by:

Public Schools of North Carolina
State Board of Education - Department of Public Instruction
Division of Human Resource Management
Licensure Section
301 North Wilmington Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601-2825
July 2001