Out-of-State Institutions

Georgia educators and prospective educators who enroll in preparation programs at out-of-state institutions should be aware of the requirements for earning Georgia certification. Provided below are important details related to:
  • The Pre-service Certificate, required of those who participate in field and clinical experiences in Georgia P-12 schools while in pursuit of teacher certification;
  • Certificate level upgrades (in-field and new-field) for Georgia-certified educators; and
  • Educational leadership certification.

Pre-Service Certificate

Individuals who are enrolled in teacher education programs offered by out-of-state institutions and who are completing field experiences and/or clinical practice/student teaching/residency in a Georgia P-12 school must obtain the Pre-Service Certificate prior to entering the school for the placement. Out-of-state providers should email EduPrep@gapsc.com for assistance. Useful resources are listed below for downloading.


Upgrades for Georgia Educators

In-Field vs New Field

The process of earning a higher academic degree and raising the certificate level is called upgrading. The Certificate Upgrade Rule (505-2-.33) was created to ensure that educators earn advanced degrees which are both relevant and rigorous and, therefore, more likely to positively impact student achievement as well as school and school district improvement.

Rule 505-2-.33 applies to Georgia educators holding a valid Clear Renewable, Performance-Based, or Life Certificate at Level-4, -5 or -6, as long as they hold one of the following certificate types: Teaching (T), Service (S), Leadership (L or PL) or Technical Specialist (TS at level 4 or higher). The rule does not impact the first, or initial, assignment of a Georgia educator certificate; see Rule 505-2-.02 for information on the initial assignment of a certificate.

There are two options, or types, of advanced degree programs eligible to result in a certificate level upgrade: In-Field programs and New Field programs.

In-Field Programs

Educators can earn a certificate level upgrade by successfully completing an advanced degree program in a Georgia PSC certification field held. First, it means that an advanced degree used to upgrade a certificate must be in a field in which GaPSC issues a certificate. Institutions must be certain that names of programs match a GaPSC certification field and that transcripts reflect both the major and the concentration. Second, an In-Field advanced degree program used to upgrade a certificate must be in a GaPSC field of certification already held by the educator. In-Field advanced degree programs should be designed to advance and enhance existing knowledge and skills in the field.

New Field Programs

In order to earn a certificate level upgrade with a New Field program, educators must successfully complete an advanced degree program which has been approved for initial certification in a GaPSC field of certification not held by the educator—a new field of certification. In addition, they must pass the state-approved content assessment for the new field, and apply for and successfully add the new field to the GaPSC certificate. The name of the program must match a GaPSC certification field. Because the New Field programs lead to certification, the Out-of-State provider, as well as the specific program, must be state-approved by the equivalent state agency. The programs must be aligned with the appropriate Georgia approved content assessment. Since educators must apply for and successfully add the new field to their certificate, officials in the education department or dean’s office will be expected to complete and submit to the GaPSC Certification Division, the GaPSC Approved Program Recommendation Form.


Out-of-state institutions must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • In lieu of GaPSC approval, the institution must be accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), or the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

  • The institution must hold a Carnegie Classification of Research University-Very High Research Activity (RU/VH) or Research University-High Research Activity (RU/H) at the time the individual is admitted to the program.

For more information about Rule 505-2-.33 please see the GaPSC webpage, Upgrade Your Certificate. Rule 505-2-.33 and other useful resources can be accessed below:

For Information on Georgia’s Tiered Certification Structure, please go to:


New Field programs lead to certification; they must be approved by the GaPSC or be state-approved by the equivalent state agency if offered by an out-of-state institution.

Educational Leadership

The Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC) authorized changes to rules impacting the preparation of educational leaders in 2006 and policies were revised in 2015. Educational leadership preparation and certification in Georgia is two-tiered, with Tier I preparation and certification intended to prepare individuals for entry into the profession and positions that do not involve supervision of other leaders (e.g., assistant principal, curriculum director). Tier II programs prepare individuals for leadership roles involving supervision of other leaders (e.g., principals, principal supervisors, superintendents). Tier II programs must be performance-based with over half of the job-embedded program spent practicing authentic leadership tasks, in real school settings, in close partnership with the employing school district or agency. Tier I programs provide foundational knowledge and skills necessary for leaders to implement productive school cultures and improve teaching and learning, and Tier I certification is required for admission to a Tier II program.

Along with these changes came the need to more closely monitor preparation programs. For this reason, GaPSC requires educators seeking Georgia certification in the field of Educational Leadership to complete programs that are approved by the GaPSC. Effective January 1, 2020, out-of-state institutions are not eligible to seek GaPSC approval to offer educational leadership programs leading to Georgia Tier I or Tier II certification. Approved Tier I and Tier II Educational Leadership programs are listed on the Approved Programs webpage.