North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) Licensure Department Personnel

  • Susan Ruiz-Director
  • Nadine C. Ejire-Assistant Section Chief

DPI Licensure Department Priorities

  • Easy to use, reliable, and real-time access to licensure expertise, resources, and information
  • Pro-active communication of licensure information
  • Operational Excellence
  • Consistency and accuracy of information
  • Processing of requests in a timely manner

When Applying for License

  1. Be sure you have completed every part of the application before sending it in because if you don't, it will have to be sent back to you and then sent back in. That will slow the process down considerably.
  2. Understand that most licensure requests are made in September followed by August, June, July, and October. Licensure requests will take longer to process during these times.

Lateral Entry Teachers

The Licensure Section of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is pleased to assist candidates for lateral entry with information on how to enter the teaching profession. Lateral entry is an "alternate" route to teaching for qualified individuals outside of the public education system. Lateral entry allows qualified individuals to obtain a teaching position and begin teaching right away, while obtaining a professional educator's license as they teach. The NC Dept of Public Instruction authorizes lateral entry professional educator's licenses on a provisional basis in licensure areas that correspond to the individual's academic study. Please review the following information and remember that only the hiring school system can initiate the process for lateral entry status.

Graduates of approved education programs who are not recommended for professional educator's licensure by their college or university are not eligible for a lateral entry professional educator's license. Individuals who have completed all education program requirements except the Praxis Series tests (if applicable) are not eligible for lateral entry professional educator's licensing.

Regional Alternative Licensing Centers (RALC)

Teaching candidates with a lateral entry license have another option for pursuing full professional educator's licensure and that is to utilize one of the states' four Regional Alternative Licensing Centers located in Charlotte/Cabarrus, Fayetteville, Elm City and Catawba, NC.

The Regional Alternative Licensing Centers were created by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) specifically to help lateral entry teachers in North Carolina achieve full professional educator's licensure. The centers assist teaching candidates by evaluating their applications, prescribing a course of study, recommending requirements they need in order to receive full professional educator's licensure, and clearing the license so that they become fully licensed. Candidates can take the necessary coursework at any of the state's colleges or universities.

The RALC complements what local universities and colleges provide teaching candidates - not replace it. The centers provide a number of benefits for lateral entry teachers including more consistent evaluations, evaluations targeted to the requirements the teacher needs to attain full professional educator's licensure, flexibility as to where candidates can take their coursework, and training opportunities through local school systems to meet some of the professional educator's licensing requirements.

Step 4: Coursework and Testing

The individual follows their plan of study prescribed by the college or university or the RALC. A minimum of six semester hours per year from the plan of study must be taken until the plan has been completed. All coursework and the Praxis II exam for their licensure area must be completed within three years.

Step 5: Recommendation for Standard Professional 1 Professional Educator's License

When the individual completes the required coursework prescribed by the college, university or RALC and satisfies professional educator's licensure testing requirements, he/she is recommended for professional educator's licensure by the institution or RALC. This recommendation is sent to the NC Department of Public Instruction where it is evaluated and if the individual has met all their requirements, they are issued a Standard Professional 1 Professional Educator's License.


NC Teacher Corps

The North Carolina Teacher Corps (NCTC) is a Race to the Top alternative certification initiative designed to recruit, select, develop, and retain potential lateral entry teachers who want to expand the educational opportunities of students across areas in NC that need them the most.

NC Teach

NC TEACH is an alternative teacher preparation program designed to recruit, train, support, and retain mid-career professionals as they become licensed teachers in NC

Contacting DPI Licensure Section

At this time there is no e-mail contact with the Licensure Section, but letters can be mailed to:

NC Department of Public Instruction
Licensure Section
6365 Mail Service Center
Raleigh NC 27699-6365

Inquiries may be made Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm Eastern Standard Time by calling:

  • 800-577-7994 within North Carolina
  • 919-807-3310 outside of North Carolina