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History

The development of certification in Georgia has been a cooperative effort between the State Legislature, Department of Education, teacher preparation institutions, and the state professional teachers’ associations. The first provisions requiring certificates of all teachers in schools receiving funds from the State were found in the school laws of 1858; however, certificates of qualification to teach and be of "good moral character" were issued by the county Board of Examiners. In 1887 the issuance of a permanent state license by the State School Commissioner was authorized, but it was not until 1924 that the State Division of Certification was established.

In 1946 the dual system of state certification and county certification was discontinued and all teachers were required to hold a state teacher’s certificate. Since that time, certification in Georgia has seen many changes including increases in the requirements for initial preparation, the addition of many new fields of certification, new trends in alternative preparation, developments in the initial and continuing assessment of educators, and moves toward national trends in certification. The variable that remains constant throughout this history, however, is the continuous collaboration between the Division of Certification, teacher preparation institutions, and the educators of Georgia.

In July of 1991, a legislative mandate was enacted which created the the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) as a separate government agency, removed from the Georgia Department of Education, with the central responsibility for establishing a certification/licensure process that is streamlined, understandable, and flexible in order to remove barriers and to attract qualified individuals to the education profession. Specifically, the GaPSC major purposes are: to simplify and make more efficient the process of certifying educational personnel in Georgia; to attract the highest possible number of qualified personnel to become educators in Georgia; to promote the hiring of qualified educators from other states; and to improve the level of preparation of educators.