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Teaching Licensure

You must be properly licensed to teach in the District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) system. You are eligible for licensure after completing your program at American University. However, teacher certification is a state responsibility. It is not granted by any university.

The Teacher Education Program at American University is nationally accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and you are eligible for licensure upon program completion. You must hold a valid teaching license in order to teach in DC Public Schools. Once you have obtained your DC teaching license, you can apply for licensure in other states through reciprocity.

The program at AU is approved through the District of Columbia which is a partner in a reciprocity agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC).

Licensure is not an automatic process. There are detailed, prescribed procedures, some of which are time-bound. You should plan carefully to complete the certification process in a timely fashion, working with an advisor to ascertain the necessary steps. The process outlined below will help you get started.

Licensure in the District of Columbia

Applicants who graduated from one of American University's state-approved teacher education programs and who have successfully passed the ETS Praxis Core and Praxis II exams for licensure are eligible to receive a teaching license from the DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).

To apply for a DC license you must:

  • Successfully pass the PRAXIS Core and II. Please have your scores sent to American University with institution code 5007 and OSSE with code 7076.
  • Complete an online Educator Credential Application for a Regular II Teaching License. The User Guidebook that details the application process can be accessed here.

Your application should include:

  1. An official copy of your undergraduate transcript. AU does not have the option for digital transcripts, so you must mail this to OSSE. Directions are in the online application.
  2. A copy of your Praxis scores to be uploaded to the application system.
  3. An FBI criminal background clearance. Please note that you must obtain a copy of your fingerprints (see OSSE recommendations) to be submitted to the FBI. Current DCPS employees do not need to be fingerprinted. OSSE will have access to your fingerprints once you complete your application.

All candidates for licensure will be issued a renewable four-year Regular II license.

OSSE requires a program verification form to be filled out by American University. If you are a current student, Caryn Ash will be in contact with you concerning this form. If you have already graduated, you will need to contact Caryn Ash at to get the form completed.

OSSE has a 12-week processing time from the date they receive your application. If your file has not been processed by OSSE within the stated 12-week time frame, please email

Licensure in Other States

Students who complete approved teacher preparation programs and pass the appropriate national teacher examinations are eligible to apply for teacher certification (licensure) in the District of Columbia, and through such certification are eligible for reciprocal certification in over 40 states. Please be aware that some states may require additional courses or national teacher examinations. Students should contact individual State Departments of Education for the most recent information on current state requirements. Also, be sure to consult the ETS website ( for the specific tests required by each state.

Professional Licensure Disclaimer Statement

This program meets the requirements for professional teaching licensure in Elementary Education (Grades 1-6) in Washington D.C. American University cannot guarantee whether the program meets requirements for professional licensure in any other state. American University recommends that you consult with the appropriate licensing agency or board in the state or territory for which you seek to obtain licensure prior to beginning your course of study.