Georgia Teaching Certification
Georgia Ed. Statistics
|Avg. Elem. Teacher Salary*||$58,190|
|Avg. Sec. Teacher Salary*||$59,860|
|Avg. Admin. Salary*||$96,110|
|Teacher Retention (?)||92%|
Learn how to become a teacher in Georgia (or administrator). Choose the description of certification you are most interested in or situation that best describes you:
- Initial Teaching Certification…
- I’m a teacher from another state…
- Teacher Certification Renewal…
- Admin./Principal Certification…
- Alternative Teaching Certification…
- Substitute Teaching Permit…
- None of the above are what I’m looking for…
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Initial Georgia Teaching Certification
According to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics, public school enrollment in grades K through 12 in Georgia increased by more than 175,000 students between 2000 and 2006, representing an increase of 12 percent. Student enrollment in Georgia is project to increase by an additional 13 percent by 2015. Find schools offering teaching certification programs in Georgia.
The Georgia Professional Standards Commission Educator Certification Section (404-232-2500) requires all prospective teachers to meet certain academic, ethical and assessment standards. These include:
- Completion of a state-approved teacher certification program or out-of state academic program in the field in which you wish to become a certified teacher
- Receipt of a minimum of a bachelor’s degree
- Complete Georgia’s special requirements, including:
- Coursework in special education, regardless of the field in which you intend to teach
- Meet the recency of study/experience rule (meaning that you earned at least 6 semester or 10 quarter hours of college credits within the five years prior to applying for certification, OR that you taught out of state for one full year within five years of applying for certification, OR that you hold NBPTS certification)
- Comply with Georgia’s ethical standards of conduct
Teacher certifications are available in a variety of fields, which are listed here. They include the Elementary Fields of Birth to Five, Early Childhood Education (P-5), Middle Grades (4-8) P-12 Subject Certifications, Secondary Fields (6-12) subject certifications, Foreign Languages, Special Education, and Leadership certifications.
If you attended school outside of Georgia, your credits will be accepted as long as the school is approved by an accepted accreditation agency and you meet the Georgia Special Requirements of content knowledge, standards of conduct, recency of study, and special education. You must also meet all additional requirements set by Georgia for teacher certification, or you may work in a Georgia school system and apply for a non-renewable teaching certificate until Georgia’s special requirements are met. (This certification track will be explained later).
If you attended a foreign college or university, a course-by-course credential report must be presented to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. More information on this process is available here.
Visit the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) website for an overview of testing requirements for Georgia’s educators.
Basic skills testing:
All applicants for teacher certification in Georgia must take the GACE Basic Skills Tests in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. The passing score for each section is 220. If you already meet any of the following qualifications, you may be exempt from Basic Skills tests:
- SAT – received a score of 1000 on Verbal and Math
- GRE – received a composite score of 297 on Verbal and Quantitative
- Possess a master’s degree from an accredited, approved college or university (recognized by either the U.S. Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation)
- Praxis I – passed all three tests or posted a composite score of 526 before March 5, 2007
- CBEST – passing score (indicated on score report)
- FTCE General Knowledge – passing score (indicated on score report)
- ICTS – received a passing score of 240
- LAST – received a passing score of 220
- MTTC – received a score of 220 on each section (Reading, Math, Writing)
Content area assessment testing:
In addition to the GACE Basic Skills Test, to become certified in the area in which you wish to teach, you must pass the corresponding GACE Content Assessments:
- Birth Through Five
- Early Childhood Education
- Middle Grades Language Arts
- Middle Grades Mathematics
- Middle Grades Reading
- Middle Grades Science
- Middle Grades Social Science
- Secondary Education Fields:
- Agricultural Education
- Art Education
- Behavioral Science
- Business Education
- Family and Consumer Sciences Education
- Health and Physical Education
- Health Education
- Marketing Education
- Political Science
- Technology Education
- Special Education (various fields)
If you passed the Praxis II exam corresponding to your intended certification area prior to March 15, 2008, that score exempts you from the GACE Content Assessment, however, Praxis II scores for tests taken after March 15, 2008 are no longer accepted.
During your college teacher preparation program, you will be assigned to a student teaching experience corresponding to the grade level and/or subject area in which you wish to teach. This classroom field placement varies in length according to your college or university’s policies, and may be from a few weeks to a year in duration. A supervising teacher will act as your mentor, advising and assessing your classroom performance.
Included within your student teaching program will be lesson plan preparation, classroom leadership, and conducting assessments/evaluations of students. At the end of your student teaching experience, your mentor teacher will grade you on your performance and perhaps provide a written report to be given to your college advisor documenting your experience.
Document and Application Requirements
Once you have completed the academic and assessment requirements, as well as the state’s special requirements, you are ready to apply for teaching certification in Georgia. Use the Georgia PSC Certification Application. You will likely be applying for a Clear Renewable Certificate, as nonrenewable certificates must be applied for by school systems for which you work under special circumstances. Along with your completed application and all necessary fees, the following documents must be submitted:
- Official college transcript(s) (sealed, unopened) verifying your receipt of a bachelor’s degree or higher
- Certification records of any other states in which you hold teaching credentials
- Completed Approved Program Recommendation Form, signed by an official at your college certification preparation program
Mail these documents to Georgia PSC Certification Section, Two Peachtree Street, Suite 6000, Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3141.
Criminal History Background Check
Georgia will not require a criminal history background check or fingerprinting for you teacher certification application unless you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony involving moral turpitude in another state. If this is the case, you must submit an FBI criminal history report with your application. Go to the nearest Cogent fingerprinting center and request a criminal history check. Submit the completed report with your certification application.
Once you are hired by a Georgia school system, however, you must submit to a criminal record background check. Depending upon your school’s policies, this may be an FBI/fingerprinting background check or a Georgia criminal history check. Information on how to fulfill this requirement will be provided to you by the school system. Usually your employing school system will pay all costs associated with this background check.
For more information on Georgia colleges and universities providing educator preparation programs, click here and select the school that interests you.
For information on Georgia’s teacher certification process, call the Georgia Professional Standards Commission Educator Certification Section at 404-232-2500.
*2019 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data – Conditions in your area may vary.
**Teacher Retention Sources – U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education, Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey, 1999–2000 (“Public School Teacher Questionnaire,” “Private School Teacher Questionnaire,” and “Public Charter School Teacher Questionnaire”),
and 2000–01 Teacher Follow-up Survey (“Questionnaire for Current Teachers” and “Questionnaire for Former Teachers,” Table 1.01). Washington, DC.
State estimations based on analysis by Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, from the National Center for Education Statistics Student and Staffing Survey, and therefore include a slight margin of error.