Licensure Reciprocity: Delaware

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy


The state should help to make licenses fully portable among states, with appropriate safeguards.

Meets goal in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Reciprocity: Delaware results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Delaware's policies

Delaware does not support licensure reciprocity for certified teachers from other states. 

Regrettably, Delaware allows a waiver for its licensing tests to any out-of-state teacher who has passed a test in a previous state, regardless of whether he or she had met its passing scores.

Teachers with current, comparable out-of-state certificates are eligible for Delaware's Continuing License. Commendably, the state does not mandate additional coursework or impose recency requirements; however, Delaware does require that all out-of-state teachers (both traditional and alternate routes) have at least three years of experience. Those with less may apply for the state's Initial License.

Delaware is also a participant in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement; however, the latest iteration of this agreement no longer purports to be a reciprocity agreement among states and thus is no longer included in this analysis.


Recommendations for Delaware

To uphold standards, require that teachers coming from other states meet testing requirements.
Delaware takes considerable risk by granting a waiver for its licensing tests to any out-of-state teacher who has passed a test in another state. It should not provide any waivers of its teacher tests unless an applicant can provide evidence of a passing score under its own standards.

State response to our analysis

Delaware asserted that it distinguishes between teacher candidates earning licensure and earning certification. Candidates are not granted a waiver for test scores when applying from another state unless they have earned a full and valid certificate in their previous state. When this is not the case (i.e, test scores do not meet Delaware's standards), the state does not issue a standard certificate in that content area. Also, candidates are not required to have three years of teaching experience to earn licensure or certification. Rather, the state distinguishes again between those eligible for continuing licensure versus initial licensure.  

Last word

Teachers applying for licensure from states with lower testing standards than Delaware will likely have earned a full and valid certificate and therefore would not be held to Delaware's standards. Evidence should be required of all out-of-state teachers that they meet Delaware's testing standards. 

Research rationale

Many professions have gone further than teaching in encouraging interstate mobility. The requirements for attorneys, for example, are complicated, but often offer certain kinds of flexibility, such as allowing them to answer a small set of additional questions. See the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admissions Requirements 2007, published by the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the American Bar Association, available at: .

On the similarity in effectiveness between graduates of traditional and alternative programs, see  J. Constantine, D. Player, T. Silva, K. Hallgren, M. Grider, and J. Deke, An Evaluation of Teachers Trained Through Different Routes to Certification, Final Report. National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Services, U.S. Department of Education (2009), D. Boyd, et al. "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement." Education Finance and Policy, (2006).  T. Kane, J. Rockoff, and D. Staiger. "What Does Certification Tell Us About Teacher Effectiveness? Evidence from New York City." National Bureau of Economic Research. (2006), G. Henry and C. Thompson, "Impacts of Teacher Preparation on Student Test Scores in North Carolina." Teacher Portals. University of North Carolina (2010). Z.Xu, J. Hannaway and C. Taylor, "Making a Difference? The Effects of Teach for America in High School." The Urban Institute/Calder. (2009), D. Boyd et al "Recruiting Effective Math Teachers, How Do Math Immersion Teachers Compare? Evidence from New York City." Calder Institute (2009); as well as "How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement," by Donald Boyd, Pamela Grossman, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb, and James Wyckoff, National Bureau of Economic Research, December 2005; and "The Effects of Teach For America on Students: Findings from a National Evaluation," (Mathematica Policy Research Inc., 2004).