Provisional and Emergency Licensure

2017 Hiring Policy

2017 Goals for Provisional and Emergency Licensure

The state should close loopholes that allow teachers who have not met licensure requirements to continue teaching. This goal was consistent between 2015 and 2017.

Best practices

Mississippi and New Jersey fully ensure that all teachers will have met licensing requirements prior to entering the classroom by not offering provisional or emergency licensure.  South Carolina does not allow emergency certifications in core subject areas and Rhode Island requires that all new teachers, including emergency or provisional teacher candidates, pass all required subject-matter tests as a condition of initial licensure.

Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2017). Provisional and Emergency Licensure national results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/national/Provisional-and-Emergency-Licensure-86
Best practice 4

States

Meets goal 8

States

Nearly meets goal 18

States

Meets goal in part 2

States

Meets a small part of goal 1

State

Does not meet goal 18

States

Progress on this goal since 2015

  • Improved
  • Stayed the same
  • Regressed

How long do states permit new teachers to teach under emergency or provisional licenses without passing licensing tests?

2017
2015
Add previous year
Figure details

No deferral : DC, DE, FL, ID, IL, MI, MS, NJ, NM, NV, NY, RI, SC, SD, WV

Up to 1 year: AK, AL, CT, GA, IA, KS, KY, MA, ND, NE, NH, OH, OK, TX, UT, WY

Up to 2 years: AR, CA, CO, MD, NC, VT, WA

3 years or more (or unspecified): AZ, HI, IN, LA, ME, MN, MO, MT, OR, PA, TN, VA, WI

Footnotes
DE: Applicants for an emergency license must have an initial icense which includes passage of content tests. Holders of the emergency license can teach outside their certification area.
ID: Out-of-state teachers can teach on a 3-year non-renewable license if they have not met Idaho's licensing requirements.
MI: State’s requirements for out-of-state teachers includes either delay in passage of required content tests, or test waivers/exemptions.
NC: North Carolina offers a one-year emergency certificate, however all teachers in North Carolina can defer passage of content tests for up to two years.
NH: "Permission to employ" is granted for one year to superintendents, not teachers.
NV: State’s requirements for out-of-state teachers includes either delay in passage of required content tests, or test waivers/exemptions.
NY: State’s requirements for out-of-state teachers includes either delay in passage of required content tests, or test waivers/exemptions.
TN: Tennessee does not offer emergency licenses but candidates for initial practitioner license have three years to pass licensure tests.
TX: Permits can be extended without passing licensing tests if districts receive hardship approval.
WV: Out-of-state teachers can teach on a 1-year non-renewable license if they have not met West Virginia's licensing requirements.

Do states mitigate risk associated with emergency or provisional licenses?

2017
2015
Add previous year
Figure details

Yes. State maintains no emergency or provisional licenses.: DC, ID, IL, MI, MS, NJ, NM, NV, NY, RI, SC, SD, TN, WV

Partially. State maintains nonrenewable emergency or provisional licenses.: AK, AL, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, KS, KY, MA, NC, ND, NE, NH, OH, OK, UT, VA, VT, WY

No. State maintains renewable emergency or provisional licenses.: AR, AZ, CA, CO, HI, IN, LA, MD, ME, MN, MO, MT, OR, PA, TX, WA, WI

Footnotes
CT: Interim certificates with an endorsement in bilingual education may be extended for up to two years by the state board of education.
DE: Applicants for an emergency license must have an initial certificate which includes passage of content tests.
ID: Out-of-state teachers can teach on a 3-year non-renewable license if they have not met Idaho's licensing requirements.
ND: In North Dakota, license is renewable, but only if licensure tests are passed.
NH: "Permission to employ" is granted to superintendents not teachers.
NM: New Mexico allows teachers in non-core academic areas to teach under endorsement waivers, provided evidence is presented of emergency circumstances.
OH: In Ohio, license is renewable, but only if licensure tests are passed.
TX: Can be renewed if used less than 90 calendar days in one school year.
WV: Out-of-state teachers can teach on a 1-year non-renewable license if they have not met West Virginia's licensing requirements.

Updated: September 2018

How we graded

6B: Provisional and Emergency Licensure 

  • Content knowledge: The state:
    • Should not, under any circumstance, award a standard license to a teacher who has not passed all required content licensing tests.
    • If it finds it necessary to confer conditional or provisional licenses to teachers who have not passed the required licensing tests, should do so only under limited and exceptional circumstances and ensure that all requirements are met within one year.
Content Knowledge
The total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • Full credit: The state will earn full credit if all new teachers are required to pass each required content test as a condition of receiving initial licensure.
  • Three-quarters credit: The state will earn three-quarters of a point if it grants emergency or provisional licenses to teachers who have not passed the required content tests, but such licenses are granted for no more than one year and are not renewable.
  • One-half credit: The state will earn up to one-half of a point if it allows for emergency or provisional licenses to be granted for longer than one year, but the state has strong requirements for applicants (e.g., content area major or preparation program completion without requiring a content test). The state may also be eligible for one-half of a point if it offers emergency or provisional licenses to teachers under "extenuating circumstances." 
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it maintains minimum requirements that fall short of the requirements listed above.

Research rationale

Teachers who have not passed content licensing tests place students at risk. While states may need a regulatory basis for filling classroom positions with a few people who do not hold full teaching credentials, many of the regulations permitting this put the instructional needs of children at risk, often year after year.[1] For example, schools can make liberal use of provisional certificates or waivers provided by the state if they fill classroom positions with instructors who have completed a teacher preparation program but have not passed their state licensing tests. These allowances are permitted for up to three years in some states. The unfortunate consequence is that students' needs are neglected in an effort to extend personal consideration to adults who cannot meet minimum state standards.[2]

While some flexibility may be necessary because licensing tests are not always administered with the needed frequency, making provisional certificates and waivers available year after year could signal that the state does not put much value on its licensing standards or what they represent. States accordingly need to ensure that all persons given full charge of children's learning are required to pass the relevant licensing tests in their first year of teaching, ideally before they enter the classroom. Licensing tests are an important minimum benchmark in the profession, and states that allow teachers to postpone passing these tests are abandoning one of the basic responsibilities of licensure.


[1] Research often finds a correlation between teachers' content knowledge and their effectiveness. For how this effect can play out in elementary ELA, see: Carlisle, J. F., Correnti, R., Phelps, G., & Zeng, J. (2009). Exploration of the contribution of teachers' knowledge about reading to their students' improvement in reading. Reading and Writing, 22(4), 457-486.; For how this effect can occur in secondary STEM subjects, see: Monk, D. (1994). Subject-area preparation of secondary mathematics and science teachers and student achievement. Economics of Education Review, 13(2), 125-145; For broader information about teacher qualities and student achievement, see: Goldhaber, D. D., & Brewer, D. J. (1997). Why don't schools and teachers seem to matter? Assessing the impact of unobservables on educational productivity. Journal of Human Research, 32(3), 505-523.; National Council on Teacher Quality. (2010). The all-purpose science teacher: An analysis of loopholes in state requirements for high school science teachers. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/p/publications/docs/NCTQ_All_Purpose_Science_Teacher.pdf.
[2] Research has shown that "the difference in student performance in a single academic year from having a good as opposed to a bad teacher can be more than one full year of standardized achievement." See: Hanushek, E. A. (1992). The trade-off between child quantity and quality. Journal of Political Economy, 100(1), 84-117.; Hanushek has also found that highly effective teachers can improve future student earnings by more than $400,000, assuming a class size of 20. Hanushek, E. A. (2011). The economic value of higher teacher quality. Economics of Education Review, 30(3), 466-479. Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w16606