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Routes to Initial Certification

This page provides information for those who have never held professional educator certification in any state or country. If you are a certified educator moving to Georgia, please click here for information you may need.

In order to qualify for a professional Georgia educator certificate, you must complete a GaPSC-approved or –accepted educator preparation program, in addition to other requirements. A qualifying program will have the following characteristics:
  • Approved by the educator certification office of the state in which the college/university is located:
    • Programs offered by Georgia colleges/universities are approved by the GaPSC. You may search for GaPSC-approved programs here;
    • Programs offered by a college/university located in another U.S.; state must be approved by that state’s certification office. Remember that some institutions may offer online courses to Georgia residents or have satellite campuses in Georgia. However, any program you complete for certification must be approved by the state in which the institution is headquartered.
  • Approved to lead to initial certification:
    • Some advanced degrees are designed for already-certified educators. These programs do not lead to initial certification.
  • Include student teaching, field experiences, or an education practicum:
    • If you are completing a state-approved online educator preparation program while living in Georgia, you may be able to complete field experience requirements in Georgia schools. After July 1, 2015, this will require a Pre-Service certificate requested by your college/university. Any field experiences in Georgia schools must be arranged by your college/university.
Please see the sections below to learn more about the different types of educator preparation programs.
Bachelor’s Degree Programs
The minimum degree requirement for all Georgia professional certificates, with the exception of certain Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education fields, is a bachelor’s degree. If you do not currently hold a bachelor’s degree, you may complete a traditional educator preparation program that also leads to a bachelor’s degree. Programs like this are offered at many colleges and universities. When choosing any type of program, remember to confirm that the program selected leads to initial educator certification and is approved by the certification office in the institution’s home state.

If you are completing a traditional educator preparation program in the state Georgia, you will need to fulfill the requirements for the Induction Pathway 1 certificate in order to become certified.

If you are completing an educator preparation program based in another state but will be completing your field experiences in Georgia, you will need to fulfill the requirements for the Induction Pathway 2 certificate in order to become certified.

If you are completing an educator preparation program, including student teaching or field experiences, in another state, you will need to fulfill the requirements for the Induction Pathway 3 certificate in order to become certified.
Advanced Degree Programs
If you already hold a bachelor’s degree, you may want to pursue a master’s degree while you complete an educator preparation program. Most initial certification programs at this level lead to Master of Arts in Teaching degrees, although some lead to a Master of Education or a Master of Arts. These programs, like those at the bachelor’s level, are offered by many colleges and universities. When choosing any type of program, remember to confirm that the program selected leads to initial educator certification and is approved by the certification office in the institution’s home state.

It may be possible for you to teach for up to 3 years while you are completing a master’s degree program leading to certification. If you are interested in this option, you will need to fulfill the requirements for Induction Pathway 4. One of these requirements is that you be hired by a Georgia LUA.

If you are not hired to begin teaching before completing your certification program, you will have to complete the requirements for one of the following Induction Pathways:
  • Pathway 1:
    If you are completing your master’s degree program in the state of Georgia
  • Pathway 2:
    If you are completing your master’s degree program in another state, but will complete field experiences in a Georgia school
  • Pathway 3:
    If you are completing your master’s degree program, including field experiences, in another state
Certification-Only Programs
Another option for those who already hold a bachelor’s degree is a “certification-only” program. These programs are offered by colleges or universities, but do not lead to an additional degree (such as a master’s degree). They usually include fewer courses and requirements than a master’s degree program. When choosing any type of program, remember to confirm that the program selected leads to initial educator certification and is approved by the certification office in the institution’s home state.

It may be possible for you to teach for up to 3 years while you are completing a certification-only program. If you are interested in this option, you will need to fulfill the requirements for Induction Pathway 4. One of these requirements is that you be hired by a Georgia LUA.

If you are not hired to begin teaching before completing your certification program, you will have to complete the requirements for one of the following Induction Pathways:
  • Pathway 1:
    If you are completing your certification-only program in the state of Georgia;
  • Pathway 2:
    If you are completing your certification-only program in another state, but will complete field experiences in a Georgia school;
  • Pathway 3:
    If you are completing your certification-only program, including field experiences, in another state.
Alternative Programs
Georgia offers alternative educator preparation programs for those who have been hired to teach in Georgia but still need to complete an educator preparation program. These programs are designed around a teacher’s schedule and include mentoring by an experienced teacher. Most of these programs are part of GaTAPP (Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy).

In order to qualify for an alternative program, you must be hired as an educator by a Georgia LUA. You must also meet all qualifications for the Induction Pathway 4 certificate. After meeting these requirements, you may apply for admission to the GaTAPP or other provider that works with your employing LUA. Upon completion of the program and any other certification requirements, you will be eligible to convert your Induction Pathway 4 certificate to an Induction Pathway 1 or Professional certificate.