Teacher Licensure

Teaching licenses/credentials issued by OSSE (Office of the State Superintendent of Education) authorize the holder to serve in an instructional, school leadership or support personnel capacity in a District of Columbia public, private or public charter school. (Note: Public charter and private school teachers and administrators are not mandated by DC law to hold a state license; however, local education agencies (LEAs) may opt to require state licensure for employment).

License Types:

Regular I (valid for 2 years, non-renewable)145684748_medium

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Verification of current enrollment in a state approved teacher preparation program
  • Verification of current employment as a teacher in a DC local education agency
  • Passing scores for the required basic skills (reading, writing and mathematics) licensure exam
  • Passing score for the Praxis II Content Knowledge exam in the subject area of the approved program (not required for ELL and Special Education teachers until full licensure is being sought)

Regular II (valid for 4 years, renewable)

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Verification of successful completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program
  • Passing scores for the required basic skills (reading, writing and mathematics) licensure exam
  • Passing score for the required Content Knowledge exam in the applicable subject area
  • Passing score for the required Pedagogy/Principles of Learning and Teaching exam for the applicable subject and/or grade level of the license(s) being sought

Transitional (valid for 1 year, non-renewable)

  • May only be requested by a DC local education agency
  • Candidate has never been previously employed as a DC public school teacher
  • Candidate has completed a degree major in the content area of the teaching assignment (Liberal Arts for elementary education assignments may be applicable) OR candidate has verification of completion of a state-approved teacher education program in the applicable subject area
  • Candidate holds a full valid out-of-state teaching license and has completed an applicable teacher education program and only needs to complete DC’s testing requirements
  • Applicants not eligible for a Regular I or II license must be hired by a DC LEA/school district or school to be eligible for a Transitional license. Please contact the school district’s personnel office for more information on obtaining a Transitional license.

Interstate Licensure Agreement (Reciprocity):

Licensure by reciprocity is extended to individuals seeking the issuance of a District of Columbia (DC) teaching credential. Individuals may be granted a waiver of DC’s testing requirements and may be issued a full license by meeting each of the following three (3) conditions:

  1. Completion of a state-approved teacher education licensure program completed at an institution of higher education or other approved educator preparation program provider located outside of the District of Columbia in the subject area matching the D.C. license being sought;
  2. Currently holds a valid out-of-state Level II license (full credential without deficiencies) teaching credential in the subject area matching the D.C. license being sought. *
  3. Present official score reports documenting passing scores for a comparable basic skills licensure exam (which includes Reading, Writing and Mathematics); a content knowledge based licensure exam; and a pedagogy based licensure exams required by the state where the teaching credential was issued.shutterstock_148044401

* If you currently hold a valid level II license from a state but did not complete any licensure exams for the license currently held, but you previously held a level II license in another state and completed comparable licensure exams in that state, you must present copies of those licensure exam scores and the license you were issued at that time to demonstrate compliance with this condition.

DC will waive the pedagogy licensure exam requirement for valid out-of-state level II license holders who submit appropriate documentation verifying satisfactory completion of at least three (3) years of recognized full-time teaching experience (completed within the previous seven (7) years) while holding an appropriate teaching license/credential in the applicable subject area and grade. The teaching experience must have occurred outside of the District of Columbia after the date of the completion of an approved program.  The teaching experience may not include substitute teaching experiences.

To present appropriate documentation verifying passing scores for out-of-state licensure exams, applicants must submit copies of all pages of their official score reports that include pass/fail indications to serve as proof of meeting that state’s licensure exams; or the applicant may request that the certifying official of the approved program or an authorized official of the state’s educator licensure agency provide official testing verification.  The official verifying the licensure exam information may complete an “approved program verification form” or issue an official statement of confirmation on official agency letterhead attesting to the completion of each of the required exams.

*Note:  If your state does not require any component of the licensure exams as required by the District of Columbia (e.g. basic skills, content and/or pedagogy exams), you will be required to complete DC’s licensure exam for the missing area prior to the issuance of a full DC teaching license/credential in the applicable area.

Teacher Licensure Exams:

Please visit the following link for a list of test names, codes and minimum scores required for teacher licensure.

Licensure Exams

Contact Information:

The Educator Credentials Office is open from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. If you have questions or concerns about how to obtain or renew an Educator Credential in the District of Columbia, please contact the Educator Credential Office via telephone at (202) 741-5881, email at, or by visiting in person at the following address:

OSSE – Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Specialized Education
Educator Credentials Office
810 First St., NE – Fifth Floor
Washington, DC 20002