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Special GA Requirements

All applicants for Georgia educator certification must fulfill certain Special Georgia Requirements. These requirements fall into five 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 all of the last five years
  • 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, Dance, Drama, School Nutrition Director, School Social Work, Speech, Physical and Health Disabilities, Special Education Preschool, Visual Impairment, and some foreign 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)

Often called the “exceptional child” requirement, the special education requirement is satisfied by completing a course in the identification and education of children who have special educational needs for grades P-12. The course (in fulfillment of House Bill 671) is a general introductory survey course emphasizing 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 the educational programming for such. Holding National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification or a degree with a major in Special Education also satisfies this requirement.

There are many different courses that cover the topics necessary to fulfill this requirement. 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 will satisfy this requirement, please send an email including the course name, course description, and a link to the institution’s website to mail@gapsc.com. A Certification Division staff member will examine the course and let you know if it is acceptable.

This requirement applies to anyone holding a Georgia certificate in any teaching field or the fields of Educational Leadership, Media Specialist, and School Counseling. It also applies to Permit certificate holders. 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 this requirement; they would then have to complete it before renewal or conversion of their first certificate. The following individuals may qualify for an initial certificate without completing this requirement:
  • Those who hold a professional out-of-state certificate
  • Those qualifying for an Induction Pathway 3 certificate
  • Those applying for their first Georgia Permit
If you need to fulfill this requirement, you may take a college or university course worth 3 semester hours 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. If you would like confirmation that a particular course is acceptable for this requirement, please send an email to mail@gapsc.com that includes the course name, course description, and a link to the institution’s website.

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.

There are two different Educator Ethics Assessments and each assessment has two levels, Program Entry and Program Exit:

The Educator Ethics Assessment is designed for beginning and currently practicing teachers.
  • Educator Ethics – Program Entry (GACE Test Code 350): Required for most Pre-Service applicants and all Induction Pathway 4 applicants on or after January 1, 2015.
  • Educator Ethics – Program Exit (GACE Test Code 360): Required for Induction Pathway 1 or 2 applicants and those converting Induction Pathway 3 or 4 certificates on or after January 1, 2015.
The Educator Ethics Assessment is designed for beginning and currently practicing teachers.
  • Ethics for Educational Leadership – Program Entry (GACE Test Code 370): Required for candidates admitted to any GaPSC-approved Educational Leadership program on or after July 1, 2016.
  • Ethics for Educational Leadership – Program Exit (GACE Test Code 380 Required for candidates completing any GaPSC-approved Educational Leadership program on or after July 1, 2016.
For more information, please visit the Ethics Assessment page.

Content Pedagogy Assessment

The GaPSC-approved content pedagogy assessment, called edTPA in Georgia, is designed to assess knowledge and skills in the areas of student development and learning, instruction and assessment, and professional roles and responsibilities. A passing score on this assessment will be required for individuals receiving an Induction Pathway 1 and Pathway 2 certificate on or after September 1, 2015.

For more information, please visit the Content Pedagogy Assessment page.