College Graduates and Professionals

Are you interested in changing careers and are thinking about teaching?

If you’ve thought about trading your current job for a career that’s rich with challenges and personal rewards, consider becoming a teacher.

North Carolina's public school teachers have traditionally come from formal teacher education programs. However, today’s demand for teachers far exceeds the supply of new graduates from these programs. "Alternate" routes to teaching were established by the North Carolina State Board of Education to help alleviate this shortage. These "non-traditional" routes to teaching were established for qualified individuals with college degrees outside the field of education.

Here’s some information that might be of interest to you.

You may become licensed to teach even if you did not complete a teacher education degree program.  If you hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and graduated with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale, you may qualify for acceptance into an alternative licensure program.

Several alternative licensure programs exist.  If you wish to complete your coursework before you begin teaching, you may pursue a licensure-only program of a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) with a relevant degree.  (See the UNCP Graduate Studies Office website for additional information.) The Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) is an interdisciplinary degree option within the Teacher Education degree program. The M.A.T. is intended for graduates from accredited colleges or universities with an undergraduate major in humanities, sciences, or social sciences that have few, if any, formal courses in education. The program is available only to those individuals who have not earned a clear license and who are seeking licensure in the teaching field in which they wish to earn the degree.

If you wish to teach while you complete your coursework, you may pursue lateral entry programs, such as NC TEACH. Lateral entry is an alternative licensure program.  Here is some additional information.

Lateral Entry Information – Lateral qualified individuals can enter the field of education while completing North Carolina licensure requirements.  This process involves four “academic partners”; the individual, the Regional Alternative Licensing Center (RALC) or UNCP’s School of Education, the local education agency (LEA), and the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

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.


Must have a Bachelors Degree or higher from a regionally accredited college or university and a combination of one (1) from each side of the below grid to qualify for Lateral Entry.


Relevant Degree
(except for Elementary and EC**)

2.5 GPA or above

24 Semester Hours of coursework in core area with “C” or higher grades
(except for Elementary and EC**) 

Five years of relevant experience that occurred after Bachelor’s degree

Passing score on the Praxis II Subject Assessment test(s) for NC for the area of license 
**Must have passed the NC Praxis II
prior to employment for
 Elementary, Exceptional Children,
B-K (if teaching K),
and ESL (if teacher of record)

Passed the Praxis I tests (score 522) or a total SAT score of 1100, or a total ACT score of 24 plus one of the following: 
GPA of 3.0 in the major field of study
GPA of 3.0 in all courses in senior year
GPA of 3.0 on a minimum of 15 semester hours of coursework completed after the bachelor’s degree and within the last five years


Note:  English as a Second Language (ESL) requires a degree in English, or 24 semester hours in English or Linguistics, or a passing score for the Praxis II subject assessment.

Please visit the North Carolina Model Teacher Education Consortium for information on your eligibility for extraordinary benefits, including tuition reimbursement.