Teacher licenses have so many forms, shapes, and avatars we couldn't begin to cover 'em all. So the point of this article?

You. Have. Options.

For now, we're going to give you the low-down on licensure in broad strokes (you'll have to hit up your individual state for all the dirty details).

1. Initial Licensure

Awww, just like your first pair of big girl/boy pants. Or first bike ride sans training wheels. Or first kiss.

Okay, maybe not that last one.

This is your first teaching license, and when you hold that certificate in your hands, you know all your hard-won work has finally gotten some serious (and stately) validation. Might be worth framing.

Once you've got that first license in hand, you'll notice it comes with what's called an endorsement.

Endorsements delineate which classes you can teach, and they can generally be added at any point throughout your career. Sometimes this requires simply taking the Praxis II for whichever subject you're gunning to add, or it could mean additional coursework (which is the case if you're aiming for an endorsement for special education or elementary education).

Once you have your initial license, you'll need to continue your education so that you can renew every so often—usually at five-year intervals. This process should be less intense than that for initial licensure, but it still requires keeping records, filling out paperwork, and paying an application fee.

Hey, if there weren't some bureaucracy involved, it just wouldn't be the U.S. education system.

2. Provisional Licensure

Not all states offer this one, but here's the deal: a provisional license allows someone to teach even if the teacher hasn't fulfilled the requirements for full licensure.

Oh, but only if the teacher agrees to reach full licensure within a certain amount of time. Usually two or five years, but, like we said, depends on the state. If the teacher doesn't fulfill this requirement, it's see-ya-lata-gata.

3. Administrator Licensure

You can probs figure this one out on your own: these licenses reflect that an administrator has taken the appropriate coursework (and has the necessary experience) to successfully provide administrative services to public schools.

Translation: they can be a principal…and some other stuff.

Bottom line with all these licensures? Be prepared to jump through hoops and write your social security number hundreds of times.

Yeah, you might want to get to memorizing that sucker.

 

Regardless of which licensure option you choose, remember to keep Shmoop in your glovebox! Check out our plans!