Licensure Reciprocity: Nevada

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: Nevada results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from:

Analysis of Nevada's policies

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

Regrettably, Nevada grants a waiver for its licensing tests to any out-of-state teacher with a valid standard license from a state other than Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nebraska or Rhode Island, and who also has one year of experience.

Teachers with valid out-of-state certificates may be eligible for Nevada's initial teaching license. Applicants must have three years of teaching experience, a requirement for which there is no apparent justification. Furthermore, Nevada routinely reviews the college transcripts of licensed out-of-state teachers. States that reach a determination about an applicant's licensure status on the basis of the course titles listed on the applicant's transcript may end up mistakenly equating the amount of required coursework with the teacher's qualifications.

Nevada also requires all out-of-state teachers to either take coursework or pass examinations pertaining to Nevada school law, the Nevada Constitution and the U.S. Constitution.

Nevada 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 Nevada

To uphold standards, require that teachers coming from other states meet testing requirements.
Nevada takes considerable risk by granting a waiver for its licensing tests to certain out-of-state teachers with a standard license and one year of experience. 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 a license and experience.

Offer a standard license to certified out-of-state teachers, absent unnecessary requirements.
Nevada should consider adopting a more flexible policy regarding portability and offer out-of-state teachers comparable licensure. It should also reconsider its experience requirement because if the state is willing to hire its own inexperienced teachers, it is not clear why it is unwilling to hire inexperienced teachers from other states, unless the state has too great a supply of teachers and needs to discourage applicants.

Also, transcript reviews are not a particularly meaningful or efficient exercise, and the state should consider discontinuing its requirement for the submission of transcripts for all teachers. 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 Nevada.

In addition, Nevada's policy requiring all out-of-state teachers to demonstrate knowledge via courses or tests of Nevada school law, the Nevada Constitution, and the U.S. Constitution is sensible. However, the state allows teachers up to three years to meet this requirement, which would imply that it does not view this knowledge as essential to a teacher's effectiveness in the classroom.

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

Nevada recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. 

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).