Frequently Asked Questions about Teacher Certification 

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about teacher certification.

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Is this the official DCPS application site for teachers, librarians, and service providers?

Yes, this is the official site for all DCPS educator positions. If you are looking for alternative routes to teaching such as Teach For America or DC Teaching Fellows, please visit their websites.

Do I need to have a license to apply to teach in DCPS?

No, but you must be eligible for a DC teaching license in your subject area before you begin working in DCPS. 

It takes approximately 12 weeks for the Office of Educator Licensure and Accreditation to process a license, and we encourage applicants to begin the licensure process as early as possible. 

If you currently hold a license from another state, you will have to obtain a DC license to teach for DCPS.

To learn more about licensure requirements, please visit the Office of the State Superintendent of Education's licensure website.

I have a teaching license from another state. Do I still need to apply for a DC license?

Yes, you must apply for a DC license. Candidates are eligible for reciprocity if:

  • Candidate currently holds a valid, full license in the state where he/she completed their teacher education program and holds a current, valid license outside of DC, OR
  • Candidate previously held a full license in the state where he/she completed a teacher education program and holds a current, valid license outside of DC.

If a candidate does not meet one of the above criteria, he or she must apply for a DC Regular II license through OSSE, which may mean taking additional Praxis exams based on area of certification.

Apply for reciprocity.

How do I obtain a teaching license in Washington DC?

All information regarding licensing, including license applications, can be found through the Office of Educator Licensure and Accreditation.  

Specific questions about licensure can be directed to Educator.LicensureHelp@dc.gov

If you have submitted your application more than 12 weeks ago and have not yet received a status update, you can call (202) 741-5881 or email Educator.LicensureHelp@dc.gov for more information about your application.  

I do not have a degree in education. Can I still apply?

Yes, but you must at least have your bachelor's degree and be enrolled in a teacher education program. Please review OSSE's complete list of state approved education programs.  

Additionally, you must also have passed the required Praxis exams.

If you are enrolled in a state approved education program and have passed the required Praxis exams, then you are likely eligible for the Regular I license (administered by OSSE) and eligible for employment with DCPS.

If you are not licensed or already enrolled in an approved teacher education program, you may apply to DCPS via alternative route programs like DC Teaching Fellows and Teach for America.

I currently have an international license. Does DCPS sponsor international teachers?

Currently, DCPS does not sponsor teachers with work visas.

Do I need a license to be a substitute teacher?

To become a substitute teacher at DCPS, you must obtain a substitute teaching license through the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Once you have obtained the license, e-mail substitute.dcps@dc.gov for next steps. All substitute teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree.

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