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KU School of Education Licensure FAQs

The University of Kansas School of Education is committed to helping you make the right educational decisions to reach your personal career goals—and understanding your licensure requirements is an important part of choosing which graduate program will give you what you need. Specific licensure, certification and/or endorsement requirements vary by state, and every student's licensure situation is different.

If you need assistance in understanding licensure, certification or endorsement in the state where you live and work prior to enrolling with the University of Kansas, we encourage you to reach out to our Admissions Advisors at onlineinfo@ku.edu or 855-639-7799 for guidance. In addition, we recommend that you check with your employer or home state department of education or licensure board to be sure our program will be accepted prior to starting your degree.

Note: No program can guarantee a licensure outcome. It is each student's responsibility to determine the licensure requirements in his or her state and to apply for the initial license or licensure endorsement necessary to his or her career goals. Our department staff and licensure officer can provide individual support during the application process to help you understand your state's requirements.

I am currently completing an alternative teacher preparation program in my state, but will not be done before starting your master’s program. Will this cause any obstacles?

Generally, this is okay, but we highly encourage you to include this information in your admission application and to inform the faculty you work with during the program.

When you complete your alternative initial licensure program, you may also apply to add the advanced endorsement for programs such as high incidence disabilities or teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).

If you are completing the reading specialist or the M.S.E. in educational administration, building leadership licensure, your state will likely require two to five years of “accredited experience” (K-12 teaching experience earned under the full initial license) before you can add the administrative endorsement.

I do not currently require or want a teaching license, but what happens if I change my mind in the future?

This is common. If you think you may change your mind, be sure you are completing a program that is eligible for initial licensure in your state. Be sure to consider your long-term plans, timelines and goals in order to make the most financial and time-efficient decision.

Our programs are not designed for initial licensure, they are all designed for added endorsements. Be sure to explore initial licensure programs in your home state.

What teacher preparation programs can I take concurrently or upon completion of my program?

The University of Kansas offers a variety of bachelor’s level teacher preparation programs. If these don’t meet your needs, feel free to contact your admissions advisor. They can help guide you through the many degree-bearing and non-degree options that are available and will work to find the program that best fits your needs.

What is the difference between certification, licensure and endorsement as it relates to becoming a teacher and/or adding specializations?

Essentially, they all have the same meaning: Documented approval from a state licensing agency to teach a specific subject and grade level in a public school. Generally speaking, “certification” is the older term while “licensure” is newer, and states are roughly split 50/50 on their use of each. In Kansas, we switched from certification to licensure in the early 2000s.

Meanwhile, the license refers to the type of license (initial, temporary, provisional, substitute, professional, etc.), while the endorsement is the subject and grade level listed on the license.

What grade level does this endorsement cover?

The grade level coverage for each program are:

High incidence disabilities: K-6 or 6-12 (depending on the grade level of the practica)
TESOL: PK-12
Reading specialist: PK-12
M.S.E. in educational administration, building leadership licensure: PK-12

When you apply out of state, that state may issue a comparable license under their system of subjects and grade levels. This means that the name may change, but your endorsement is still valid.

I am teaching overseas and my school does not require a U.S. teaching license. Can I still take the teacher track to have the benefit of the practicum experience?

Note: This applies to TESOL teacher track only

Students in this situation will often work with a local organization for their practicum experience. They might teach a class, lead a group of students, or tutor a few students. Some have worked with the Applied English Center.

You will make the arrangement for the practicum and check in with your course instructor about the requirements. You will also need to identify a mentor teacher and you’ll meet with that individual several times during the course.

What if I want to attain licensure in another state?

KU alumni who need to have “verification” or “recommendation” forms completed for certification/licensure in other states should mail these documents directly to Alisa Branham, at 1122 West Campus Rd., 211 JRP, KU School of Education, Lawrence KS 66045. It’s helpful if you’ll attach a note with any prior last names (if applicable) and your current email address. Please allow two weeks for processing by the School, and a few more business days if the KU (university) seal is required. Since these forms often contain private information, we normally ask alumni to mail hard copies and expect hard copies in return. We are reluctant to send completed forms via email, for security reasons, and most states still require original signatures and seals.

View our interactive licensure map to see the requirements of the state in which you’d like to attain licensure.

Related Licensure Resources

State Licensure Map

Click on your state below to be directed to information about your state's licensure requirements.

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