Charter Schools: Do teachers in a charter school have to be certified?

Charter Schools: Do teachers in a charter school have to be certified?

January 2020

This resource contains information about the 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, with charter school laws. It does not contain any information for the five states that have not enacted charter school laws.

Do teachers in a charter school have to be certified?
Alabama No

Citations: Ala. Code § 16-6F-9
Alaska Yes

Citations: Alaska Stat. Ann. § 14.03.290
Arizona No. The state board of education may not adopt rules that exceed the requirements for persons qualified to teach in charter schools prescribed in federal law.

Citations: Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15-183
Arkansas No. Arkansas' definition of "teacher" includes a person who is a licensed or non-licensed teacher in a position at a public charter school under a waiver granted by the state board in a charter.

Citations: Ark. Code Ann. § 6-17-2803
California Yes

Citations: Cal. Educ. Code § 47605
Colorado Yes. The state board is prohibited from including licensure in its list of automatic waivers. However, a charter school may apply to the state board for a waiver from rules or statutes not on the list of automatic waivers. Such a waiver, if approved, would exist only for the term of the contract and could be revoked if periodic review by the state board indicates it is no longer necessary.

Citations: Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 22-30.5-104
Connecticut Yes. At least 50% of a charter school's teachers are required to have standard certification. Up to 50% of teachers in a charter school may have alternative certification or temporary certification and be working toward standard certification. The state board, upon request, may issue a charter school educator permit to a person who is employed by a charter school as a teacher or administrator and does not hold an educator certificate if the person meets the following criteria:
  • Achieves satisfactory scores on the state reading, writing and mathematics competency examination, or qualifies for a waiver of such test based on criteria approved by the state board.
  • Achieves a satisfactory evaluation on the appropriate approved subject area assessment.
  • Demonstrates evidence of effectiveness.

Citations: Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 10-66dd; Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 10-145q
Delaware Yes. However, for any school year with respect to which there is no “qualified alternative certification,” a charter school may, where it deems it beneficial to the success of its educational program, hire teachers that are not fully certified and licensed so long as such teachers have at least a bachelor's degree in the content area in which they are teaching and comprise no more than 35% of the teachers at the school. If teaching 1 or primarily 1 specific content area, a teacher needs a bachelor's degree in that content area.

Citations: Del. Code Ann. tit. 14, § 507
District of Columbia No
Florida Yes

Citations: Fla. Stat. Ann. § 1002.33
Georgia Not clear in statute, although "faculty and instructional staff" is defined in statute as "certificated personnel assigned to the school on a full time basis and all paraprofessionals assigned to the school on a full-time basis."

A charter school authorized by the state charter schools commission is required to seek highly qualified, properly trained teachers and other qualified personnel.

Citations: Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2062; Ga. Code Ann. § 20-2-2084
Hawaii Yes. Charter schools may hire unlicensed teachers in emergency situations for up to 3 years or on a case-by-case basis.

Citations: Haw. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 302A-804
Idaho Yes

Citations: Idaho Code Ann. § 33-5204A; Idaho Code Ann. § 33-5206
Illinois Yes. However, charter schools may also hire uncertified teachers if they have the following qualifications:
  • A bachelor's degree
  • 5 years work experience in the area of degree
  • Continuing evidence of professional growth

Mentoring, training and staff development must be provided to uncertified teachers.
At least 50% of the individuals employed in instructional positions by a charter school in Chicago established after April 16, 2003, must hold teaching certificates, and 75% of teachers in Chicago charter schools established before April 16, 2003, must hold teaching certificates. Outside of Chicago, at least 75% of teachers in a charter school must be certified.

Citations: 105 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/27A-10
Indiana At least 90% or more of full-time teachers in a charter school must hold any license or permit to teach described in state law or rules adopted by the state board--or, they must be in the process of obtaining a license to teach through the transition to teaching program. For those teachers in the transition to teaching program, licenses must be obtained within 3 years of beginning to teach at a charter school.

Citations: Ind. Code § 20-24-6-5
Iowa Yes

Citations: Iowa Code Ann. § 256F.7
Kansas Yes

Citations: Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-4208
Kentucky Yes

Citations: Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 160.1590; Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 160.1592
Louisiana No. Instructional staff are required to have at least a baccalaureate degree and are subject to all elements of law relative to background checks applicable to school employment.

Citations: La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:3991
Maine Yes. Full-time teachers must have a teaching certificate or become certified within 3 years of employment, unless they have an advanced degree, professional certification, or unique expertise or experience in their teaching area.

Citations: Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. 20-A § 2412
Maryland Yes

Citations: Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 9-105
Massachusetts Yes. No teacher is allowed to be hired by a commonwealth charter school who is not certified pursuant to state law unless the teacher has successfully passed the state teacher test as required in state law.

Citations: Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 71 § 89
Michigan Yes. Special exemptions are made for a charter school operated by a state college or university that may wish to use collegiate staff to teach charter school students.

Citations: Mich. Comp. Laws § 380.505
Minnesota Yes

Citations: Minn. Stat. § 124E.12
Mississippi No. Up to 25% of teachers in a charter school may be exempt from licensure and administrators are not required to be licensed. All teachers must have demonstrated subject-matter competency, and teachers and administrators must have at least a bachelor's degree. Within 3 years of initial application, all teachers must have at least an alternative license.

Citations: Miss. Code Ann. § 37-28-47
Missouri Up to 20% of full-time teachers may be uncertified. All teachers must have experience, training, and skills appropriate to the teacher's duties, and all uncertified teachers must be supervised by licensed instructional personnel.

Citations: Mo. Ann. Stat. § 160.420
Nevada Yes. At least 70% of the teachers demonstration experience and qualifications through licensure or subject matter expertise. Teachers in the following fields must demonstrate experience and qualifications through licensure or subject matter expertise:
  • English language arts.
  • Mathematics.
  • Science.
  • Foreign or world languages.
  • Civics or government.
  • Economics.
  • Geography.
  • History.
  • The arts.
  • Special education or English as a second language teachers must be appropriately licensed.
In fields other than those listed above, teachers do not needs to demonstrate experience and qualifications through licensure or subject matter expertise if they have a degree, license, or certificate for the field in which they are hired to teach, and at least 2 years of experience in that field. Teachers are considered to demonstrate experience and qualifications if they are employed by a charter school that has received 1 of the 3 highest school performance ratings in the two preceding consecutive years, whether the teacher is licensed in the state or not.In vocational charter schools, at least 70% of teachers must demonstrate experience and qualifications to the extent practicable, but no less than 50%.Charter schools that intend to employ unlicensed teachers and that have received 1 of the 3 highest performance ratings in the two preceding consecutive school years must, within 3 years, obtain approval for and offer an alternative route to licensure, and enter into an agreement with a qualified provider to provide the required education and training to unlicensed teachers.

Citations: Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 388A.518
New Hampshire At least 50% of a charter school's teaching staff must be certified or have 3 at least years of teaching experience.

Citations: N.H. Rev. Stat. § 194-B:14
New Jersey Yes. All teachers and professional support staff must hold appropriate state certification. Uncertified teachers in nonpublic schools that convert to a charter school conversions have to take actions toward receiving certification and be in compliance within 2 years of conversion.

Citations: N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:36A-14, N.J. Stat. Ann. § 18A:36A-4.1
New Mexico Yes. Charter schools and charter school districts are subject to the state's School Personnel Act.

Citations: N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-8B-10, N.M. Stat. Ann. § 22-10A-1 et seq.
New York Yes. However, up to 30% or 5 teachers (whichever is less) may be non-certified or have other credentials. These teachers must meet specified criteria:
  • Uncertified teachers with at least 3 years of elementary, middle or secondary classroom teaching experience.
  • Tenured or tenure track college faculty.
  • Individuals with 2 years of satisfactory experience through the Teach for America program.
  • Individuals who possess exceptional business, professional, artistic, athletic, or military experience.

Additionally, a school may have the following:

  • 5 teachers of mathematics, science, computer science, technology, or career and technical education without teaching licenses.
  • 5 additional teachers may have other credentials.

A teacher certified or otherwise approved by the commissioner shall not be included in the numerical limits.

Citations: N.Y. Educ. Law § 2854
North Carolina At least 50% of teachers must hold teacher licenses. All teachers who are teaching in the core subject areas of mathematics, science, social studies and language arts must be college graduates.

Citations: N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 115C-218.90
Ohio Yes. However, a charter school may engage uncertified teachers to teach up to 12 hours per week. (Note: This option is not unique to charter schools--districts can employ such uncertified persons as well.) VIrtual schools must have an affiliation with at least one full-time teacher certificated in Ohio.

Citations: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.03, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.21, Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3319.283
Oklahoma No. However, the charter and the charter school's contract with the sponsoring school district must include provisions about teacher and personnel certifications and qualifications.

Citations: Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 3-135; Okla. Stat. tit. 70, § 3-136
Oregon At least one-half of a charter school's teachers must be licensed. All administrators must by licensed or registered by the state. In virtual charter schools, all teachers and administered must be licensed by the state, and licensed teachers must teach at least 95% of the school's instructional hours.

Citations: Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.135; Or. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 338.120
Pennsylvania Up to 25% of teachers may be uncertified.

Citations: 24 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 17-1724-A
Rhode Island Yes

Citations: R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.2-2; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.2-7; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.3-2; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.3-7; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.4-2; R.I. Gen. Laws § 16-77.4-7
South Carolina Up to 10% of teachers in conversion schools and 25% in start-up schools may be non-certified. In either a new or converted charter school, teachers teaching in the core academic areas of English/language arts, mathematics, science or social studies must be certified in those areas or possess a baccalaureate or graduate degree in the subject the teachers are hired to teach.

Citations: S.C. Code Ann. § 59-40-50
Tennessee Yes

Citations: Tenn. Code Ann. § 49-13-111
Texas Teachers in home-rule district charter schools must be certified. Teachers in campus and open-enrollment charter schools do not need to be certified, although bilingual/English language learner teachers and special education teachers must have proper certification.

Citations: Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.013; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. 12.012; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.056; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.120; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.104; Tex. Educ. Code Ann. § 12.1014
Utah Yes. Additionally, rules governing licensing or certification of administrative and supervisory personnel do not apply to charter schools.

Citations: U.C.A. 1953 § 53G-5-407
Virginia Yes.

Citations: Va. Code Ann. § 22.1-212.13
Washington Yes. However, charter schools may hire uncertified instructional staff of unusual competence and in exceptional cases, and the provision on hiring un-certified staff is the same as for traditional public schools.

Citations: Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.710.040; Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 28A.150.203
West Virginia No.

Citations: W. Va. Code, § 18-5G-3
Wisconsin Yes

Citations: Wis. Stat. Ann. § 118.40
Wyoming Yes

Citations: Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 21-3-308

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