Special GA Requirements

All applicants for Georgia educator certification must fulfill certain Special Georgia Requirements. These requirements fall into four categories, which are described below.

Content Knowledge Assessment

All applicants for Georgia certification must pass the content knowledge assessment(s) applicable to their fields of certification, unless they fall under one of the following exemptions:
  • Out-of-state professional certificate holders who have worked full-time in their certificate field for five years (see Out-of-State Experience Exemption below for more information);
  • Out-of-state professional certificate holders who were required to pass a content assessment for their out-of-state certificate;
  • Individuals holding valid National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification in the specific certificate field(s) sought in Georgia;
  • Individuals seeking certification in one of the following fields in which Georgia does not have an approved content assessment: Audiology, CTAE Career Specializations, Dance, Drama, Healthcare Science, School Nutrition Director, School Social Work, Speech, Physical and Health Disabilities, Special Education Preschool, Visual Impairment, and some world language fields.
If you do not meet any of the exemption criteria outlined above and wish to learn more about taking a GaPSC-approved content knowledge assessment, please visit the Content Assessment page.

Standards of Conduct

An applicant for certification in Georgia must comply with the ethical standards of the profession. An FBI background check (fingerprint) is required for employment in Georgia public schools and a Georgia criminal history check is required every five years for certificate renewal. In addition, applicants for certification must respond to background check questions on the application form. Individuals applying for or already holding certification who violate standards of conduct may be subject to a GaPSC investigation which could involve certificate denial, suspension or revocation. For more information about the Code of Ethics for Educators and the GaPSC Ethics Division, please visit the Ethics page.

Special Education (Exceptional Child Course)

The special education requirement mandated by House Bill 671 is satisfied by completing a course in the identification and education of children who have special educational needs. This general introductory survey course emphasizes the characteristics of all exceptionalities (behavioral, developmental, and learning disabilities, deaf education, physical and health disabilities, and visual impairment, as well as gifted) with the appropriate identification and educational programming. In addition to coursework, the following may also satisfy the requirement:
  • Holding National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification;
  • A degree with a major in Special Education; or
  • Five years of successful out-of-state educator experience (see Out-of-State Experience Exemption below for more information);
There are many courses that cover the required topics, and if you have completed an educator preparation program in another state you may have already completed an acceptable course. If you would like to know if a certain course would be applicable, please Contact Certification and include the course name, course description, and a link to the institution’s website. For common examples of exceptional child course verbiage, please see the following:

Example Course Title

Example Course Description

Teaching Exceptional Children Identification and education of students with special educational needs. The course explores clinical and standardized testing, analyses of intelligence and aptitude, and emphasizes the development of curriculum and instruction appropriate to divergent learners.
Adapted Physical Education Designed to educate the student in the identification and education of students with special education needs, and in the development and implementation of programs to provide differentiation, accommodations, and modifications for supporting the needs and abilities of students with special needs in grades P-12.

Educators who must complete an acceptable course include those holding a Georgia certificate and/or Permit in:
  • Any teaching field
  • Educational Leadership
  • Media Specialist
  • School Counseling
If you completed student teaching in Georgia, you must complete this requirement before receiving your first certificate. However, some individuals may qualify for initial certification without completing an exceptional child course prior to issuance, and must complete it before renewal, conversion, or extension of their first certificate:
  • Those who hold a professional out-of-state certificate
  • Those qualifying for a 5-Year Induction certificate based on the completion of student teaching outside of Georgia
  • Those applying for their first Georgia Permit
If you need to fulfill this requirement, you may complete a 3 semester hour college or university course with a grade of “B” or higher (effective July 1, 2019, for courses completed on or after this date), or a Georgia professional learning course worth 5 professional learning units (PLUs). For more information about approved PLU courses, please contact a Regional Education Service Agency (RESA).

Please note that a course covering only selected exceptionalities (such as a course focused on working with students with autism) will not satisfy this requirement.

Ethics Assessment

The Georgia Educator Ethics Assessments are designed to both teach and assess knowledge of the Georgia Code of Ethics for Educators and ethical skills to guide behaviors and decision making.

The Educator Ethics Assessment is designed for beginning and currently practicing teachers.
  • Educator Ethics Assessment (Test Code 360) is required for individuals applying for the following certificates:
    • Pre-Service;
    • Provisional;
    • International Exchange;
    • 1-Year and 5-Year Induction;
    • Initial 3-Year Permit;
    • 5-Year Permit (if initial Permit was issued after 10/15/17); and
    • Clearance certificate if certification is waived by the employing school district using a charter or strategic waiver.
The Ethics for Educational Leadership Assessment is designed for beginning and currently practicing Administrators.
  • Ethics for Educational Leadership (Test Code 380) is required for the following:
    • Admission to any GaPSC-approved Educational Leadership program on or after July 1, 2020;
    • Completion of any GaPSC-approved Educational Leadership program on or after July 1, 2016;
    • Issuance of a Non-Renewable Educational Leadership – Tier I or Educational Leadership – Tier II certificate; and
    • Issuance of a Professional certificate in Educational Leadership – Tier I or Educational Leadership – Tier II based on reciprocity (unless exempted by experience outlined in Out-of-State Experience Exemption below).
For more information, please visit the Ethics Assessment page.

Out-of-State Experience Exemption

Veteran out-of-state educators moving to Georgia may be eligible to exempt all Special Georgia Requirements except the Standards of Conduct should the following be held prior to an application for initial Georgia certification:
  • A professional out-of-state certificate based on completion of a state-approved educator preparation program including pedagogy and clinical practice in the base field of certification
  • A minimum of five full years of successful experience meeting the following criteria:
    • The appropriate professional in-field certification was held for the duration (experience earned while holding a non-professional-type certificate is acceptable only if professional certification if subsequently attained)
    • Experience was accrued in the same issuing state as the required certification
    • Each year resulted in a satisfactory performance review as indicated on an Experience Verification Form (a letter from a supervising administrator, or a copy of each final yearly review may be submitted with the Form if human resource policy prevents the disclosure of performance)
    • All years were full-time employment, defined as a minimum of 120 days per school year (partial years cannot be combined)
Experience submitted may be from any time in an educator’s career, and does not need to be five sequential years to be accepted. However, please note the following requirement-specific criteria:
  • For the purpose of exempting a content knowledge assessment, should you have been assigned to two or more subject areas during a school year, only one may be exempted. For example, an educator with five years of concurrent Mathematics and English experience may only exempt either the Mathematics or English content assessment.
  • The Ethics for Educational Leadership Assessment may only be exempted by five years of successful Educational Leadership experience.
  • Specific special education/gifted experience is not required to exempt the exceptional child course.
Please note that once an educator is both certified and employed in Georgia utilizing their Georgia certification, they no longer qualify for full interstate reciprocity.

Any additional out-of-state experience accrued after receiving Georgia certification and employment in Georgia cannot be applied towards subsequent exemptions.