Licensure and Non-Licensure Teaching Degrees: What’s The Difference?

a mom teaching her daughter

Sep 27, 2019

Written by: Dean of Education, Wendy Wendover and Director of Undergraduate Education, Jeff Renfrow 

So you’ve decided that you want to pursue a teaching degree but you need a little help making sense of the many options available to you. You may have already understood that there are degrees for teaching different age groups such as early childhood (birth to 8 years), elementary (grades K to 6) and secondary (grades 6 to 12) and subject areas like math, science, physical education, etc. What you may not have known is that each of these degrees can be offered in licensure or non-licensure option. 

Before you select your teacher preparation program it’s important that you understand how these programs are different. The most significant difference between the two options is that licensure programs require hundreds of hours as a full-time student teaching experience over a semester or school year. Students in non-licensure programs usually still have field experience requirements, but these can easily be completed in just a couple of hours per week, throughout the program. 

So why would someone go through the extra effort to get a teaching degree with a license?  The answer is really quite simple. Teachers who hold a degree and a state license have the most career flexibility. They can teach in just about any public, private, charter, international, and home school in their degree area. Teachers who hold a degree without a license cannot teach in traditional public schools. That said, while nearly all charter, private, and international schools require a teaching degree, most do not require a state license. So if you’re interested in teaching in any of these environments, a non-licensure degree may be a good fit for you. Plus, there are other options to earn state licensure after you earn your teaching degree, should you decide to open those career doors.

One option is by completing an alternative licensing program. The alternative licensing program at CCU provides a 15 credit hours graduate-level program that supports an individual who has completed an undergraduate degree and is seeking a license to teach. The path to alternative licensing Special Education at CCU may be through either a Master of Education in Special Education for initial licensure or maybe through alternative licensing in special education. 

In the case of a candidate not seeking special education the path for alternative licensing at CCU may be through either a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction for the complete graduate degree or maybe stop at alternative licensing to become a teacher in a public school.

If you still have questions about which path is best for you, contact our enrollment team. Our enrollment counselors can walk you through your options and how to get started!

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