Teacher Reciprocity: Everything You Need to Know
Teacher reciprocity is a formal agreement made between states to recognize teaching credentials issued by each other. Why does this matter? Because the requirements to become a teacher, vary from state to state, and if states did not practice reciprocity, the process of getting certified upon moving to another state would be cumbersome, to say the least. This is not to say that reciprocity is automatic or easy, but it is better than the alternative.
Let’s look at the nuances or reciprocity
Reciprocity was first created to respond to teacher shortages throughout the country. The hope was that this would increase teacher mobility, making it easier for teachers to move from state to state, especially to those with teacher shortages. Reciprocity seeks to lessen some of these challenges. States enter into agreements with each other to recognize an endorsement for licensure from a state-approved education program at an accredited college or university. Reciprocity does not mean you forfeit your current license. It also doesn’t mean that your certification will be automatically recognized in another state.
Reciprocity means that if you apply for licensure in another state, that state will review your file and check to see if you meet their requirements. If you don’t meet their standards, you will have to fulfill some additional requirements to be granted licensure. However, you won’t be asked to complete another teacher preparation program. You may need to take a test or meet specific coursework requirements to ensure you are qualified per that state’s expectations. Some states do have automatic reciprocity with other states (not all), meaning that if you were recognized in a state where the licensure requirements are comparable to or more rigorous than theirs, they would automatically grant you licensure in their state
The interstate agreement that makes reciprocity possible
The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) was created to manage communication and cooperation between the departments of education of different states and to facilitate mobility and licensing between states. As of September 2017, Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have signed the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement. An educator who is licensed or certified in one state can obtain licensure in another state if both states participate in the NASDTEC agreement.
As we mentioned earlier, some states may have their own standards that must be met, but the agreement makes things less cumbersome. The agreement works like this. Each state announces which states they’ll accept teacher licensure from, as well as what additional requirements, if any, are needed. You can view the requirements of each state by visiting the NASDTEC website.
Many states band together to enter into reciprocity agreements with one another. We refer to these as regional agreements. Since these cooperatives are smaller, their agreements usually have greater specificity and agreement on different aspects of licensure and reciprocity. Also, with a smaller number of states participating, there is the potential to set a uniform standard for teaching licensure and preparation. NASDTEC does not prevent its members from entering regional agreements, so states can be a member of both the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement and a regional agreement. Another great thing about regional agreements is they compensate for any teachers left out by the conditions of the NASDTEC agreement.
Reciprocity is a common-sense solution to a problem that plagued the field of education for decades. In the future, I am sure we will see the process become more streamlined and include not only state to state reciprocity, but also country to country reciprocity.