What is Teaching Licensure?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen
Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Teaching licensure is the process by which a teacher is licensed to legally teach in a particular country or region. The requirements of this licensing, as well as the actual licensing process, can vary from country to country, and may even vary depending on the state or province within a country. Common requirements for licensure can include completion of certain educational requirements, passing of required tests, and passing of a background check. Teaching licensure is different from professional certification in that it indicates a person is legally allowed to teach in a particular area.

There are a number of different forms of teaching licensure, though in general they are all controlled by the governing body of a country or region. In the US, for example, licenses are typically granted by the Department of Education for a particular state, and each state has specific requirements. While this can be somewhat complicated for a potential teacher who has completed his or her education in one state and wishes to teach in another, there is often reciprocity between states. This means that someone who has completed the necessary process for teaching licensure in one state is often recognized as a licensed teacher by another state.

The requirements for teaching licensure will depend a great deal on where someone wishes to teach. There are also different types of licenses that can be granted by a state or country to a potential teacher, which can include standard licensure and temporary licensure, granted to people in emergency situations where teacher need is great. Common requirements for basic teaching licensure can include completion of an appropriate educational program at a degree-granting institution, approved test scores on teaching certification tests, and passing a background test. Emergency certification may forgo or augment some of these requirements to allow a wider range of applicants an opportunity to teach.

While teaching licensure is somewhat similar to certification, these are not necessarily interchangeable concepts. A teaching certificate is typically granted by a school or other institution to someone who wishes to teach, and indicates that he or she has completed necessary training to qualify him or her as a teacher. This is a professional indicator that a person has the knowledge and skills needed to teach in a classroom. Teaching licensure, however, is granted by a regional or federal government and indicates that a person has been considered by a government agency and is legally approved to work as a teacher.

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