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Teacher Licensure

Before becoming a teacher-of-record, teacher candidates must demonstrate the skills and knowledge needed for effective classroom practice. Licensure provides the professional and public assurance that educators have met state teaching standards and have demonstrated their readiness to teach and improve student learning.

NEA believes that all teachers should be “profession-ready” from their first day of responsibility for student learning. This means that before becoming a teacher-of-record, teacher candidates must demonstrate the skills and knowledge needed for effective classroom practice. While teachers continue to learn and grow after entering the profession, no candidate should ever be called a “teacher” without demonstrating the ability to improve student learning. Candidates who are placed in classrooms and expected to learn how to teach on the job are not profession-ready.  

All persons entering the teaching profession must have had enough opportunities to witness, implement, and reflect on quality teaching and learning and demonstrate classroom readiness by successfully completing a pre-service, classroom-based performance assessment prior to receiving full state licensure. 

Once a candidate is ready to pursue licensure, here are a few important assessments and processes to be aware of:

edTPA is an assessment and support system used by teacher preparation programs throughout the United States to emphasize, measure and support the skills and knowledge that all teachers need to start their career. Learn more and download our resources about the edTPA process.

The Praxis® tests measure the academic skills and subject-specific content knowledge needed for teaching, and are part of the certification process required by many states and professional licensing organizations. However, we acknowledge that  the Praxis and other licensure tests can create barriers to entering the profession, particularly for candidates of color. Learn more about Praxis and our position on diversity in the teaching profession.

If you already have experience in the classroom, but are ready to take your teaching to the next level, consider becoming a National Board Certified Teacher. National Board Certification identifies teachers who meet standards of excellence through a performance-based, peer-reviewed series of assessment components.

National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.