Licensure Reciprocity: Louisiana

Expanding the Pool of Teachers Policy


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

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Licensure Reciprocity: Louisiana results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Louisiana's policies

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

Regrettably, Louisiana grants waivers for its licensing tests to out-of-state teachers who have four years of experience and teach for one year in a Louisiana public school under the Out-of-State Certificate, a three-year nonrenewable certificate issued to teachers who have not met the state's testing requirements.

Teachers with valid out-of-state certificates are eligible for Louisiana's Professional Level 1 certificate. Applicants are required to have completed a teacher preparation program and meet the state's recency requirement of five years of experience immediately preceding application. Candidates who have not taught for five years may be issued a one-year certificate to complete six semester hours. Although transcripts are required for all applicants, it is not clear whether the state analyzes these transcripts to determine whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route or whether additional coursework will be required.

In addition, Louisiana requires out-of-state teachers to have completed student teaching, an internship or have three years of teaching experience in the area of certification. Depending on the state's working definition of the term "student teaching," this policy is unlikely to offer much flexibility for teachers prepared in district-based alternate route programs.

Louisiana 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 Louisiana

To uphold standards, require that teachers coming from other states meet testing requirements.
Louisiana takes considerable risk by granting a waiver for its licensing tests to any out-of-state teacher who has four years of teaching experience and teaches for a year on its out-of-state certificate. The state should not provide any waivers of its teacher tests unless an applicant can provide evidence of a passing score under its own standards. The negative impact on student learning stemming from a teacher's inadequate subject-matter knowledge is not mitigated by the teacher's having experience.

Offer a standard license to certified out-of-state teachers, absent unnecessary requirements.
Louisiana should reconsider its recency requirement regarding experience, as it may deter talented teachers from applying for certification. It should also consider discontinuing its requirement for the submission of transcripts. Transcript analysis is likely to result in additional coursework requirements, even for traditionally prepared teachers; alternate route teachers, on the other hand, may have to virtually begin anew, repeating some, most or all of a teacher preparation program in Louisiana.

Accord the same license to out-of-state alternate route teachers as would be accorded to traditionally prepared teachers.
Regardless of whether a teacher was prepared through a traditional or alternate route, all certified out-of-state teachers should receive equal treatment. State policies that discriminate against teachers who were prepared in an alternate route are not supported by evidence. In fact, a substantial body of research has failed to discern differences in effectiveness between alternate and traditional route teachers.

State response to our analysis

Louisiana asserted that although out-of-state teachers may waive the Praxis assessments based on teaching experience, they are required to pass the Praxis II content exam for "highly qualified" purposes.  

Last word

The state should require that all out-of-state teachers meet Louisiana's testing requirements as a condition of licensure. 

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).