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Certification FAQs

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Note: the "Teacher Certification - Frequently Asked Questions" web page is undergoing revision to reflect recent changes in the rules of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC). A revised web page will be available soon.

  • I’m confused about the recent transition to tiered certification. Where can I get more information?

    Please click here for more information about the transition, including FAQs.


  • Is a GaPSC Certificate Required in Georgia?

    Any professional serving in the public schools must hold a valid GaPSC certificate appropriate to the field of employment.


  • How long will it take for my application to be processed?

    Applications are processed in the order in which the complete package is received by the GaPSC. Please monitor your MyPSC account for application status updates and correspondence. You may also monitor our progress through complete applications in the section marked “Attention!” on our homepage. Average processing time fluctuates based on workload, and tends to be longest during the busy summer months. Please note that online submission of applications and documents through MyPSC is the quickest method.


  • Why Must I Always Submit a New Application Each Time I Make a Request?

    In order to process any certification requests, you must submit a new application to create a case in the certification database. Although previous documentation submitted will remain on file, a case is not created without the application form. In addition, certification applications are only valid for 90 days and the GaPSC requires a current signature and date in the Personal Affirmation Section.


  • How do I contact the Certification Division of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission?

    For general information, you may call 800-869-7775 or send us an email at mail@gapsc.com. Our call center is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. We respond to emails 5 days a week.

    For information on the status of an application or your personal certificate, please log in to your MyPSC account. To find public information about a Georgia educator’s certificate, please click here.

    You may also contact the GaPSC Certification Section by mail at the following address:

    Certification Division
    Georgia Professional Standards Commission
    200 Piedmont Avenue SW, Suite 1702
    Atlanta, GA 30334-9032


  • Will my bachelor’s degree be enough to become certified?

    No. In order to become professionally certified in Georgia, you must complete a state-approved educator preparation program. If you have not completed an approved program but you hold a bachelor’s degree, you may qualify for an Induction Pathway 4 certificate. For more information about routes to initial certification, please click here.


  • What is the Exceptional Child course requirement?

    The Exceptional Child course is the commonly used name for the Special Georgia Requirement to complete course work in the identification and education of children with special education needs. It is required for certification in all teaching fields, leadership fields, and the service fields of Media Specialist and School Counseling. For more information, please see the Special Education section of the Special Georgia Requirements page.


  • How do I know which Induction Pathway is right for me?

    Each Induction Pathway has specific qualifications. Please see the Induction page for more information.


  • Will my test scores expire?

    If you have passed all subtests of a single assessment, the scores will not expire. However, if you request to delete a field from your certificate, the test associated with the deleted field will be deleted as well. If you decide to add the deleted field to your certificate in the future, you will be required to pass the appropriate assessment again, in addition to any other requirements in place at the time.


  • Can I take the GACE® whenever I want?

    If you are enrolled in an educator preparation program based in Georgia, you must seek approval from the program provider before taking GACE® content assessment(s) in the program field(s). If you are not currently enrolled in a Georgia program, you may take GACE® assessments at any time. However, you must complete a short pre-registration process in your MyPSC account in order to be granted automatic test eligibility. For more information, please visit the Test Eligibility page. Please note that passing a GACE® assessment does not automatically lead to or guarantee educator certification. For more information about initial certification requirements, please visit the Routes to Initial Certification page.


  • What is a state-approved certification program?

    State-approved programs are professional education programs based on established state standards that lead to educator certification. Such programs, usually provided by colleges/universities, school systems, RESAs, private providers or collaborative arrangements between any of these agencies, must be approved by the appropriate state agency in order to recommend candidates for certification. Program standards and requirements are based on preparation necessary to obtain a certificate, and state-approved programs may or may not require a specific degree.
    Georgia approved programs include those that result in certificates as well as endorsements. Click here for a database of Georgia state-approved programs. Information concerning Georgia program approval standards and procedures may be found here (.pdf) (requires Adobe Reader). To determine if a program based in another state is approved to lead to certification, please contact the agency responsible for educator certification in that state.


  • Why do I need to register for MyPSC?

    It is vital to register for a MyPSC account because the GaPSC no longer mails documents to applicants. All certificates and correspondence will be issued electronically through your MyPSC account. MyPSC gives applicants 24-hour access to their certification file. It also allows you to submit applications and documents electronically, which is much faster than any other method of submission. If you are seriously considering applying for Georgia educator certification but have not created a MyPSC account, please click here to register. The registration process usually takes no more than 15 minutes.


  • Is the printable certificate available in MyPSC an official document?

    Yes. This certificate is the same as what you would receive in the mail. For the certificate to be in color, you would simply need to use a color printer. If you would like the GaPSC to mail you a notarized copy of the certificate for submission to another state’s certification office, please submit the GaPSC Certification Application and a $20.00 processing fee.


  • Who can answer my question about upgrading my certificate or adding a leadership field?

    The GaPSC realizes that accurate information is important to all applicants and candidates, so we make sure that questions about complex issues such as certificate upgrades and leadership fields are answered by knowledgeable specialists. Please send emails about these issues to certupgrade@gapsc.com. If you would like to receive an answer by phone, please be sure to choose option after calling our main line, (800) 869-7775. For information specific to your situation, we may ask that you email us so that we may provide a written response.


  • Who decides my pay?

    The GaPSC does not determine the salaries of educators. The Georgia Department of Education’s Salary and Tenure department can answer all questions that you may have about salaries. You may find contact information for the Georgia Department of Education here. Employed educators may also contact their school system for information.


  • What do I need to know if I want to complete an online program?

    The GaPSC may certify applicants who have completed programs outside the state of Georgia as long as (1) the institution was properly accredited and (2) the program was state-approved.

    1. Accreditation:
      • To be accepted for certification purposes in Georgia, the college/university must have held accreditation by a GaPSC-accepted accrediting agency at the time the degree was awarded. The GaPSC accepts colleges/universities recognized by The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (www.chea.org) or the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) (www.ed.gov). For more information, please see the GaPSC-Accepted Accreditation page. Please note that there is a higher accreditation standard for institutions at which Georgia educators may earn advanced degrees to upgrade their certificate level. For more information, please see the Upgrade Your Certificate page.
    2. State-Approved:
      • The educator preparation program must have been approved by the state agency responsible for educator certification in the state in which the college/university is located. For example, individuals seeking to complete a program through the University of Phoenix must confirm that the program is an approved educator preparation program and will lead to certification in Arizona. It is the educator’s responsibility to ensure that the out-of-state school meets those requirements.
      • In the specific field of Speech and Language Pathology, the GaPSC will accept ASHA-approved programs that are not state-approved but that are completed at GaPSC-accepted accredited institutions. In the field of School Psychology, the GaPSC will accept NASP-approved programs that are not state-approved.

    The educator must complete all program requirements and be recommended for certification by the official authorized to make such recommendations.

    The educator must complete all program requirements and obtain verification of program completion by the college/university official authorized to make such recommendations.


  • How do I become certified to teach Pre-K?

    Any educator who holds a valid Georgia certificate in Early Childhood Education (P-5) or Birth through Kindergarten is in-field to teach Pre-Kindergarten. There are other ways for interested individuals to be involved in a Pre-K setting. For more information, please contact the Professional Development Registry at pdr@gapsc.com or 866-258-7737.


  • When should I apply to renew my certificate?

    If you are employed by a Georgia public school, please do not apply to renew on your own; your certificate will be renewed by your school system. If you are not employed by a Georgia public school, you may apply to renew your certificate as early as October 1 of the calendar year prior to the year in which your certificate expires. For more information, please see the Certificate Renewal page.


  • How can I find information about being Highly Qualified?

    The GaPSC Certification Division does not determine an educator’s Highly Qualified status. You may find more information about Highly Qualified status here.


  • Where can I earn renewal credit?

    There are several ways to earn renewal credit. Please see the Certificate Renewal page for more information.


  • Where can I look for a job?

    The GaPSC is not connected to employment or job placement. Individuals can access job fairs and job postings through Teach Georgia.


  • Can I Change My Name on My Certificate?

    Yes, you can change the name on your certificate to reflect a legal name change or correct an error. Please submit the GaPSC Certification Application with a photocopy of a valid photo ID (such as driver’s license or passport) reflecting your current name. No fee is required for a name change. Please note, educators are not able to change their name via their MyPSC account. If you are planning to take a GACE assessment, the first and last name displayed in your MyPSC account must match the name on the photo ID that you will show for admission to the exam. If you need to change your name prior to a GACE exam, please allow at least 4 weeks for processing.


  • Can I change my address and my email address?

    Yes, you may change your address and email address in your MyPSC account. While logged in to your account, please click the Account link in the upper right corner of the page, then click the Edit button at the bottom of the Personal Profile page. When you have finished editing your information, be sure to click Save at the bottom of the page.


  • What kind of background check will be required for the Pre-service certificate to be issued?

    The GaPSC is still considering the issues involved in this decision. An update will be posted on our website when a decision is reached.


  • Who will be paying for the background check for the Pre-Service certificate?

    That will be determined by the college/university.


  • Will all students need to have a Pre-service certificate before coming into the schools?

    The Pre-service certificate is only required for candidates admitted to a teacher education program. Students in entry-level classes (prior to being admitted to the EPP) will not be required to hold a Pre-service certificate, even if classroom observations are required.


  • What is Verification and Lawful Presence (VLP)?

    Verification and Lawful Presence became a Georgia Law as of July 1st 2013. All educators requesting certification from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission must submit VLP to verify lawful presence in the United States. For access to VLP document and list of acceptable “secure and verifiable documents”, click here.


  • How often must the VLP be submitted?

    If the applicant is a U.S citizen, the VLP must be submitted to the GaPSC only one time. If the applicant is not a U.S citizen, the applicant must submit the VLP with every transaction unless it has been submitted within the previous 180 days.


  • How can the VLP be submitted?

    The VLP documents may be:

    • Uploaded through the Applications tab of your MyPSC account;
    • Mailed to the PSC;
    • Faxed to the PSC at 404-232-2560;
    • Submitted through ExpressLane by the local unit of administration (LUA).


  • Is my out-of-state test acceptable in Georgia?

    Georgia Professional Standards Commission accepts out-of-state content exam(s) that an educator was required to take to obtain out-of-state certification. However, the GaPSC does not accept copies of score reports printed from personal online educator accounts that cannot be publicly verified. Educators must submit a photocopy of the official score report. If you are unable to obtain a copy of the official score report, we will accept an official letter from another state’s educator certification office verifying the names of the assessments you were required to take as well as the dates they were passed.


  • Do I need to submit original copies of my out-of-state certificate, test scores, transcripts, etc.?

    Requirements differ based on the kind of information you are submitting. Please see the How to Submit Application Materials page for more information.


  • I hold a teaching certificate in another state. How do I know if I am “professionally certified”?

    In general, “professional” educator certification requires completion of a state-approved educator preparation program and any assessment or other special state requirements for certification. If you can document official eligibility for another state’s professional certificate pending only employment or background checks, we may treat that as a certification that can be reciprocated. For a list of specific certificate titles that we consider “professional,” please see Acceptable Out-of-State Certificates.


  • Is the Induction certificate considered professional?

    Induction Pathway 1, 2, and 3 certificates meet the generic definition of “professional” certificates because applicants must complete an educator preparation program and assessment requirements in order to obtain it. The GaPSC advises other states that reciprocate professional Georgia educator certificates to treat Induction Pathway 1, 2, and 3 certificates as professional.

    The Induction Pathway 4 certificate is not considered professional because it is issued to educators who have not yet completed an approved preparation program.

    Although Induction Pathway 1, 2, and 3 certificates meet the basic definition of professional, specific Georgia Professional certificates have additional requirements, including experience. Induction Pathway 1 and 2 educators must gain 3 years of experience before qualifying for the Standard or Performance-Based Professional certificate. After 2017, they will also be required to meet a higher assessment standard to qualify for one of those certificates. Induction Pathway 3 educators must gain a total of 3 years of recent experience and meet certain Special Georgia Requirements before qualifying for a Standard or Performance-Based Professional certificate.


  • Can I upgrade my Induction certificate?

    Yes, you may upgrade an Induction Pathway 1, 2 or 3 certificate as long as upgrade requirements are met. Induction Pathway 4 certificates are NOT upgradable; however, you may convert your Induction Pathway 4 certificate to a different Induction Pathway upon meeting the requirements for it.


  • Can I renew my Induction certificate?

    In general, Induction certificates are NOT renewable. However, exceptions are made in the following circumstances:

    • If you received more than 1 unsatisfactory annual evaluation while holding your Induction certificate, you may be eligible for a second 3-year Induction certificate at the request of your employing local unit of administration (LUA). Before applying for this one-time renewal, you must work with your educator preparation provider (college, university, or alternative program provider) to document steps you have taken to address the deficiencies that led to your unsatisfactory performance reviews;
    • If you have been issued an Induction certificate in Career & Technical Specializations and your highest level of education is less than an associate’s degree, you may apply for a one-time renewal of your Induction certificate. During the first Induction period, you must complete a state-approved educator certification program; before the end of the second Induction period, you must complete at least an associate’s degree and any outstanding industry licensure requirements;
    • If you did not earn 3 years of educator experience while holding your Induction certificate, or if some or all of your Induction experience was earned more than 5 years ago, you may apply for another Induction certificate. This will allow you to earn the experience required to convert to a Standard or Performance-Based Professional certificate.


  • What is the Program Admission Assessment?

    The Program Admission Assessment (PAA) is the new basic skills test required for certain certification applicants. For information about when this assessment is required, please click here. For information about how to take or exempt this assessment, please click here.


  • Are out-of-state educators required to take the Program Admission Assessment?

    If an individual holds a professional certificate from another state or has completed a certification program based outside of Georgia, the Program Admission Assessment is NOT required.


  • I can’t get a GA educator certificate until I’m employed, so what do I tell prospective employers about my certification status?

    If you have completed a state-approved educator preparation program, you may apply for certification with the GaPSC. If you have met all other certification requirements except for employment, you will be issued a Certificate of Eligibility. This is an official document that will assure potential employers that you are eligible for certification upon employment.


  • What is the difference between the Standard Professional and Performance-Based Professional certificates?

    Both of these certificates are in the Professional tier, but qualifying for the Performance-Based Professional certificate requires being evaluated on the statewide Teacher Keys Effectiveness System (TKES) for at least 2 years. It is necessary to have 2 types of Professional certificates because only some educators (classroom teachers in public schools) will be evaluated on TKES. Holding the Standard Professional certificate indicates only that an educator was not evaluated on TKES for a minimum of 2 of the last 5 school years.