Report Highlights Benefits, Challenges of State License Reciprocity

Today, the Education Commission of the States (ECS), a national organization of state education policy leaders, released a report that reviews state policies related to teacher license reciprocity. While states are facing educator pipeline challenges, the report finds that teacher licensure systems are intended to ensure educator quality, but have the potential of limiting cross-state mobility that could cause harm teacher attrition and retention.

The report explores teacher license reciprocity – in which a candidate who possesses an out-of-state license can earn a license in a new state based on state requirements. At the national level, the report references the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) Interstate Agreement, which collects agreements between NASDTEC member states to understand which licenses are transferable and what additional requirements might be needed. At the state level, the report finds that since last year, 11 states have enacted new laws or regulations that facilitate teacher license reciprocity. Two states – Arizona and Nevada – became full reciprocity states by enacting new laws that remove barriers for licensure. Two additional states – Oklahoma and Delaware – passed new laws that waive certain assessment requirements for out-of-state candidates.

The report’s major findings include –

  • Six states – Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Missouri, and Nevada – offer full license reciprocity for all eligible, fully licensed teachers.
  • Thirty-one states require that some or all out-of-state teacher candidates take additional course work or training prior to receiving a new license.
  • Forty-three states plus Washington, DC, require that some or all out-of-state teacher candidates take additional assessments.

Download the report (PDF) here.

As supplemental material, ECS also released a 50-state searchable database based on state policies for teacher license reciprocity, individual state profiles that detail where each state lies on reciprocity, and an interactive data visualization tool on key questions on reciprocity.

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Aaron Goldstein

Manager, State Policy & Relations