Out-of-state teachers will have an easier time getting licensed in North Carolina.

The State Board of Education voted Thursday, April 4, to allow out-of-state teachers to become licensed in North Carolina if they have already passed a licensing test in their home states.

Now, North Carolina only accepts out-of-state teachers who have taken tests identical to those required in North Carolina. Out-of-state teachers who are fully licensed in their respective states, have three or more years of experience and meet SBE’s teaching requirements, or have National Board Certification, can receive a Professional Educator’s Continuing License. Elementary teachers from out-of-state are required to take additional mathematics and reading subtests.

Board members were initially worried the standards of other states weren’t at the same level as North Carolina. After months of reviewing licensing requirements and debating proposals, board members approved a recommendation from the Professional Educator Preparation and Standards Commission to allow passing scores from out-of-state teachers to count toward licensure in North Carolina.

The proposal would allow licensed out-of-state teachers with three or more years’ teaching experience to teach in North Carolina, as long as they earned at least a passing score on a licensing exam from their state. The passing score must meet or exceed the recommended passing score from the test developer — not from the state.

Terry Stoops, vice president of research and director of education studies, said the board made a smart move.

“As a growing state with an increasing demand for public school teachers, the rationale for imposing additional demands on these teachers was never sensible,” Stoops said.

In theory, Stoops said, the additional requirements imposed on out-of-state teachers served as quality control to the licensure process. But in practice they increased the cost of becoming a fully licensed teacher in North Carolina.

“North Carolina policymakers and elected officials should continue to reduce barriers to work by evaluating, modifying, and even eliminating licensure and certification requirements that are unrelated to the preservation of public health or safety,” Stoops said.