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What Is Lateral Entry?

Lateral entry, an alternate route to teaching, allows a school system to hire someone with at least a bachelor’s degree as a teacher, with the assumption that over the next three years the person being hired will complete a teacher education program through a college, university, or RALC. Individual plans of study are prescribed for lateral entry teachers who must complete the necessary educational coursework (and other requirements) for a professional educator’s license while teaching.

Group of young people standing and smiling.The NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) only issues lateral entry licenses at the request of the employing school system (i.e., individuals cannot request a lateral entry license on their own). The RALC does not request or issue lateral entry licenses.

New lateral entry licenses will be issued through June 30, 2019. The Residency License will replace lateral entry as the alternative pathway to NC licensure. Prospective teachers may find information about the Residency License at

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Lateral Entry Courses FAQ Section

The RALC will write a plan once you are eligible for another lateral entry license and are employed by a public or charter school system.  The State Board of Education passed a policy that allows individuals who did not complete the requirements of the lateral entry license to obtain another lateral entry license under certain conditions. The policy reads as follows: “Individuals who do not fulfill the requirements of their lateral entry license within the three years they are initially given may be issued another lateral entry license provided:  1) they have passed the required licensure exam(s) for the specialty area in which the license will be issued and 2) at least six years have elapsed since the prior lateral entry license was issued.”  The State Board of Education policy can be found at LICN-001, Section 1.70. Please note that lateral entry licenses will no longer be issued after June 30, 2019.

No. The RALC is one of the choices that you have for completing licensure requirements.

You may qualify for a lateral entry license by having 4 specific things:  1) at least a bachelor’s degree; 2) from a regionally accredited institution; 3) relevant degree OR 24 semester hours of relevant course work OR passing scores on state-required exam, and 4) a cumulative 2.5 GPA.

At this time, there are no fees for services rendered by the RALC.

Yes, specific competencies must be met at a 4-year college/university with an approved teacher education program while others may be taken at a community college or a 4-year college/university.  Prior approval is required before you take any course not listed on the approved list posted on the RALC website, whether the course is in-state, out-of-state, or out-of-country.

If following the RALC plan of study, one year of successful teaching in a NC public or charter school is required in lieu of student teaching. Evidence of the one year of successful teaching is determined by the teacher summary evaluation where all teaching standards are rated proficient or higher and occurred in latest school year while holding a current lateral entry license.

Lateral entry teachers are hired based on their knowledge in the subject matter but lack the educational foundation. Lateral entry licenses are conditional/provisional licenses which allow individuals to teach while completing pedagogy and content requirements.