How to Become a Teacher in North Carolina


Doing your homework is key to figuring out how to become a teacher in North Carolina.

North Carolina offers intriguing prospects for educators who enjoy scenery like mountain vistas and ocean sunrises and who like to experience all four seasons. The climate and terrain are widely varied, from icy winters in the Blue Ridge Mountains to steamy summers along the Atlantic Coast.

The job market is steady in North Carolina, especially for teachers. According to the latest statistics, teacher pay increases each year. The average annual salary for elementary school teachers is $43,200 while the average secondary teacher salary is $44,730. Incentive pay between $3,000 and $5,000 more with an advanced degree is available, depending on years of experience, as is financial aid in obtaining your master degree. In 2007, North Carolina ranked 27th in the nation for teacher pay.

Benefits of Teaching in North Carolina

Teachers in North Carolina have many incentives. There is the option of becoming vested after a certain time which opens doors for retirement income to accrue. Teachers can retire with full benefits at age 65 after five years of service, age 60 after 20 years of service and any time after 30 years of service. Teachers also receive family medical leave, state health plan coverage, extended sick leave, longevity pay, disability income, personal leave and one to two vacation days each month, which can be accumulated if they are not used during the month they are earned

The standards for becoming a teacher are varied. First, you have to make sure you have a bachelor’s degree in education. North Carolina has many colleges and universities that offer education programs, both in-person and online. The online degree programs have additional costs, but the rewards can be great if you’re transitioning from another career.

Some public institutions in North Carolina with approved teacher education programs are North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina State University, Winston-Salem State University and others. There are private colleges in North Carolina that have approved programs as well. The cost of education for a four-year degree in North Carolina averages around $18,000 to $20,000. The state of North Carolina has incentive programs for individuals wishing to become a teacher, and offers professional development for those who wish to pursue higher achievements.

Getting Started

To get started as a teacher in North Carolina beyond having a degree, there are certification exams that need to be passed. The PPST (Pre-Professional Skills Test) and the Praxis II, which is your subject matter exam, must be passed in order to obtain your teaching certification. If you are already a teacher licensed by another state, North Carolina does have a reciprocity program that recognizes your status. For complete information on teacher certification, requirements and incentives, information is available at the North Carolina State Education Department of Public Instruction.

Quick Facts on North Carolina:

  • The capital of North Carolina is Raleigh.
  • North Carolina borders Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
  • North Carolina had 2,609 schools, 98,357 teachers an 1.5 million students as of 2011, for a student-to-teacher ratio of 15.15-to-1, below the national average of 15.97-to-1.