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How to Become a Teacher in North Carolina

Are you ready to make a difference? If you have a passion for learning and want to see others succeed in the classroom, Western Carolina Univerisity has award-winning education programs that offer opportunities to observe and work with public school master teachers.

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I Want to be a Teacher......

Western Carolina University offers ten undergraduate programs in education on our campus in Cullowhee, NC including:

The College of Education and Allied Professions is also home to WCU’s Bachelor of Science in Birth-Kindergarten (BK).  The BK program is offered completely online.

WCU students pursuing education degrees that lead to licensure are required to be admitted to the Teacher Education Program.  The Teacher Education application and admissions process typically takes place in the student’s sophomore year.

Western Carolina University's alternative licensure programs open the door for those who already have degrees and are ready for the challenge of teaching. Our programs are designed to train and support recent college graduates, mid-career professionals, and/or retirees as they enter the teaching profession. 

WCU’s alternative licensure programs offer two paths -- one for Residency License teachers and one for those who choose to earn a teaching license prior to seeking employment in the classroom.

If you have been hired as a Residency License teacher, you have obtained a teaching position without any prior teacher training or experience.  Residency License candidates are employed in a school setting and must meet all of the following:

  • Hold a bachelor's degree

  • Have either completed coursework relevant to the requested licensure area or passed the content area examination relevant to the requested licensure area that has been approved by the State Board

  • Are enrolled in a recognized educator preparation program

  • Meet all other requirements established by the State Board, including completing preservice requirements prior to teaching

The licensure-only path is for students who prefer to complete their coursework before securing a teaching position.  Please visit our Alternative Licensure Programs webpage for details.

Detailed instructions to complete the NCDPI application for licensure can be found by clicking here. Be sure to route your application to Western Carolina University for recommendation.

To expand your licensure areas or explore advanced licensure and a graduate degree, please see:

Birth-Kindergarten add-on (online)

Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) (online)

Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) in Special Education (online)

Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) in Elementary or Middle School Education (online)

Master in Arts in Education (MAEd) in English

School Executive Leadership - Master of School Administration or Post-Master's Certificate toward Principal Licensure (add-on) (hybrid)

EdD in Education Leadership (hybrid)

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