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Licensure FAQs

How can I obtain a copy of my background check for licensure (initial/renewal) at OSSE?

Effective 2015, DCPS does not provide clearance letters to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for licensure purposes. All clearance information is automatically provided to OSSE for those individuals in licensure-required positions. Once you have completed the fingerprinting process with DCPS Mandatory Drug and Alcohol Testing Program ([email protected]), you have fulfilled the clearance requirement as part of the OSSE licensure process.

We will no longer accept any clearance letter request forms from any DCPS employees, nor will School Security generate these letters.

Note: Background check results are only considered valid for limited period of time. Accordingly, if you have not passed the background check in over two (2) years, you will need to be re-fingerprinted at DCPS so that we can provide OSSE updated clearance information.

  • If you are not sure whether the two (2) year prior has passed, please contact Clearance at [email protected].
  • If you need to be re-fingerprinted, please complete the online background clearance application: DCPS Employment Clearance, then come to Human Resources during normal business hours for service.

Your drug testing results are communicated from the medical facility to DCPS, typically within five (5) business days following the test date. Your employment file will be updated accordingly—it is not necessary for you to collect your drug testing results to provide to DCPS. Once we have evidence that you have cleared the background check and the drug test, you will receive notification regarding your status in the onboarding process.

I need to obtain my initial DC educator license. What are the requirements?

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) grants all DC educator licenses. Please visit their website to review the checklist of items needed to obtain a license.

I need to renew/recertify my DC educator license. What are the requirements?

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) renews/recertifies all DC educator licenses. Standard level teacher and administrative services credentials may be renewed in accordance with the renewal options listed at this website. Additionally, existing “Regular II” credential holders with credentials that are due to expire in upcoming months may apply for renewal and be issued the new “standard” level credential based upon the renewal options listed below. Initial teacher and administrative services credentials may not be renewed.

I have an out-of-state license. Is this sufficient to work in DCPS?

No. All teachers and service providers must obtain and maintain appropriate licensure in order to teach or provide services for DC Public Schools. In accordance with the District of Columbia Municipal Relations (DCMR), individuals that do not have a District of Columbia teacher or service provider license, must obtain a license from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) in order to teach or provide services for DC Public Schools. DCPS cannot guarantee employment for individuals that do not hold appropriate licensure.

We do encourage anyone interested in teaching with DCPS to apply even if you have not yet applied for reciprocity or obtained a DC teaching license.

I have an out-of-state license. Is my license transferrable to DC?

The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) determines reciprocity of out-of-state licenses. If you currently hold a license from another state, you will have to obtain a license through Reciprocity. However, you may qualify to directly obtain a DC license. Learn about credential requirements.

I am a college student. Can I begin working at DCPS?

Please review our position overviews for details on minimum qualifications for the Student Teacher, Full-Time teacher, Educational Aide position, and other school-based positions that may be of interest to you. The minimum qualifications for each are specific to each role.

I already submitted my licensure application to OSSE. What’s next?

Current employees

Retain the receipt of your submission for your records. Please allow OSSE sufficient time to process your application. DCPS will automatically be updated when your license is officially granted. If you have any questions about your application before it is officially processed, please refer to your OSSE representative.


If you have not yet applied for a DCPS position, we strongly encourage you to complete an application on our website.

What is Parent Right to Know?

Each year, every school district in the country is required by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) to notify parents or legal guardians when their child has been taught, for four (4) or more consecutive weeks, by a core subject area teacher who has not met the definition of being “highly qualified” (HQ).

A notification will be mailed to a student’s family (twice per school year) in order to inform them of their child’s teacher non-highly qualified status. A notification will not be sent to student’s families given that his/her teacher(s) have fulfilled this requirement.

For questions regarding your highly qualified status, please contact us at [email protected].

Does DCPS pay for employee educator licensing fees?

No. DCPS does not sponsor licensure fees at this time.

Are there any incentives for dual certification?

Yes. Washington Teachers’ Union members have the option to participate in the Dual Certification Program. To view guidelines and download the application visit the HR Forms section.