Many times in our professional life we do not arrive to our destination at the same place that we start our journey.

You cannot tell what the future has in store for you and often times that future leads us to a different part of the United States. Luckily, as teachers and educators, we are blessed with living in a nation that allows us to move across state lines, while maintaining our careers, with relative ease. Should you need to transfer teaching licenses to another state your journey in doing so will be just another step in the right direction.

When transferring a teaching license from state to state the best first step is contact the Department of Instruction in the state in which you plan to reside. This agency is referred to as the DOE or Department of Education. Each state is different, but luckily, the majority of state licenses transfer to other states with relative ease through something called license reciprocity. Reciprocity which means each state recognizes your host state’s teaching credential as proof you are a qualified specialist in teaching. Should you plan to move states immediately after completing your licensure program, it is recommended the student obtain your home state license, then apply to transfer your license to the state you plan to live and work.

The majority of states require licensure in order to teach in both the private and public sectors of education. Not having your license will substantially limit your choices as employers tend to hire solely licensed candidates. Nearly all states in the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education Certification (NASDTEC) have signed the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement. This agreement gives certified teachers eligibility for certification in the state they seek to relocate. Often times, NASDTEC will require additional testing and state-specific clearances in order to transfer your credential. It is important to note that you need be a licensed teacher, so that you will qualify according to NASDTEC’s requirements. Also, note that many states will offer a temporary provisional certificate valid from 1 to 5 years.

Knowing all this, in the end, the best advice is to contact a real person in the state you seek to reside and work. Find a DOE specialist or Human Resources administrator in any in-state University and work with them directly. Throughout the process you will find it easiest and quickest to work with the same individual specialist each regarding questions and help. These experts are paid to help and their guidance will prove invaluable.

The job market for a teaching professional is as competitive as ever. Any way you can distinguish yourself from other candidates gives you a step-up advantage. Concordia University Online offers a wider variety of options for educators, from licensure to graduate degrees. Not only will a graduate degree set you apart, it will provide you with a vast advanced teaching techniques and knowledge. In many cases our degrees also lead directly to licensure.

Although much of the above may seem a challenge, remember that the path is not always an easy one and challenges make us stronger through and through. Concordia alumni are learners for life.

— Kali Thiel is director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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