Lateral Entry

  • What is lateral entry?

    Lateral entry is an "alternate" route to teaching for qualified individuals outside the public education system. Lateral entry allows qualified individuals to obtain a teaching position and begin teaching right away while obtaining a license as they teach. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's Licensure Section authorizes lateral entry licenses on a provisional basis in licensure areas that correspond to the individual's academic study.

    Lateral entry license holders are subject to the regulations that apply to other beginning teachers in North Carolina. Lateral entry teachers must meet testing requirements within the first two years of employment and have a maximum of three years to complete all course requirements, which must be completed at the rate of six semester hours each year. (Back to Top)

    What are the eligibility requirements for lateral entry?To be eligible for lateral entry, individuals must:
    • Be selected for employment by a NC school system;
    • Hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the subject area in which they are employed to teach; and
    • Have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale)


    Have passed the Praxis I tests plus one of the following:

    • GPA of 3.0 in the major field of study
    • GPA of 3.0 in all courses during senior year
    • GPA of 3.0 on a minimum of 15 semester hours of courses (relating to teaching subject/area of licensure) completed over the last five years (Back to Top)

    What are the lateral entry licensure requirements?

    Individuals licensed through lateral entry must meet the following requirements:

    • Education: Complete an approved education program in their area of licensure at a college or university through a Regional Alternative Licensing Center with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or greater. Successful teaching experience (demonstrated by the completion of the Initial Licensure Program) can substitute for the student teaching requirement.
    • Programs: Complete three years of teaching and the Initial Licensure Program before their licenses can be issued at "clear and continuing" status.
    • Scores: Earn the required score on the designated Praxis II specialty area test or subject assessment during their first two years of licensure.
    • Training: Complete required school district training 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 the local schools' policies and procedures. (Back to Top)

    What are the steps for becoming a lateral entry teacher and pursuing a "full" teaching license?
    1. The individual is hired by a school system that recommends him/her for a lateral entry license.
    2. The individual is issued a two-year lateral entry license. The license may be extended annually for one additional year beyond the two years.
    3. Upon being issued the initial lateral entry license, the individual affiliates with a college or university with an approved teacher education program in the license area or with a Regional Alternative Licensing Center (RALC). An individual plan of study is prescribed for the lateral entry teacher.
    4. The individual completes the courses prescribed by the college or university or the RALC. A minimum of six semester hours per year of relevant coursework must be taken until the plan of study has been completed. All coursework must be completed within three years.
    5. Extension of the initial two-year lateral entry license is dependent upon the individual satisfying the Praxis specialty area examination requirements; achieving satisfactory performance in the classroom; and completing a minimum of 12 semester hours of relevant coursework as prescribed by the college or university.
    6. When the individual completes the required coursework prescribed by the college/university or RALC and satisfies licensure testing requirements, he/she is recommended for licensure by the institution or RALC. (Back to Top)

    How does an individual acquire a lateral entry license?

    The lateral entry license applicant and the employing school system submit a joint application, including the required $85 processing fee, to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction's Licensure Section. (Back to Top)


    How do the employing school systems support lateral entry teachers?

    School systems using lateral entry policy to employ teachers are required to formally commit to supporting the individual by:

    • Providing a two-week orientation that includes lesson planning, classroom organization, classroom management, and an overview of the NC ABC Plan that includes the Standard Course of Study and End-of-Grade and End-of-Course testing;
    • Assigning a mentor on or before the first day on the job;
    • Providing working conditions as appropriate for all beginning teachers;
    • Providing regular focused feedback for improving instruction; and
    • Assisting in accessing prescribed coursework and professional development opportunities. (Back to Top)