Frequently Asked Questions

Students and their teacher

What if I want to teach somewhere other than North Carolina?

North Carolina has reciprocity plans with 40+ states and territories, which means that a North Carolina Teaching License is recognized as sufficient for being awarded the equivalent license in the state. The states that have reciprocity plans with North Carolina include: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, District of Columbia and Guam. Those states not listed above have minimal course or testing requirements that must be met before a teaching license can be awarded.

What do teachers make?

Teacher salaries have always been highlighted as unfair due to the level of dedication required to be a teacher and the importance of the job. The salary, however, is comparable to other jobs attainable with a bachelor’s of science degree and no experience. A teacher’s salary in North Carolina is the product of the North Carolina base salary, which is determined by years of experience, and a local salary supplement provided by the school district. For the 2010-2011 school year, the base salary for North Carolina for a person with 0, 5, 10 and 20 years of experience was $30,430, $32,640, $38,190 and $43,450 respectively. Salaries are higher for teachers with graduate degrees or for those who have obtained national board certification. Salary supplements, which are added to the North Carolina base salary, vary depending on the resources of the district. Given that these are salaries for 10 months of work, they are competitive with other jobs.

What can I do with a teaching license besides teach in a high school classroom?

While some people leave student teaching feeling even more confident in their decision to pursue teaching, some discover that teaching might not be the right choice for them. Classroom teaching is not the only job in science education. Furthermore, holding a high school science teaching license provides evidence of a set of knowledge and skills valuable for many types of jobs. See the Benefit of a Teaching License discussion for more info.

What is the difference between comprehensive science licensure and single subject licensure?

Single subject licensure means you are licensed to teach a particular science subject (i.e. biology or physics). With a comprehensive science license, you have a specific concentration area (Biology or Physical Science), but you are licensed to teach all high school science subjects (i.e. physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, physical science). Most schools prefer to hire science teachers with comprehensive science licenses so the teachers can teach a wider range of classes. For example, many biology teachers also teach earth science while most physics teachers also teach chemistry. UNC-BEST graduates who receive a single subject science license will be able to convert their single subject license into a comprehensive science license by passing the Praxis Comprehensive Science Content Knowledge exam.

What is student teaching like?

Student teaching offers you the opportunity to practice being a classroom teacher while having the support of a cooperating teacher and a university coach. During the student teaching internship, you work with a local high school science teacher, who is referred to as your cooperating teacher, and assume responsibility for a portion of your cooperating teacher’s classes. You plan and implement your own lessons, monitor student progress, create assessments, handle classroom management, communicate with parents; everything that teachers do. Your cooperating teacher and university coach are there to help you with lesson ideas, feedback on your teaching and suggestions for any issues you face. You will also work closely with the other UNC-BEST student teachers. Student teaching is a lot of hard work, but it is also very rewarding. While it is scary to be in front of the classroom for the first time, it also feels wonderful to get your “teaching legs.”

How do I apply?

Students interested in UNC-BEST must submit a formal online application to the School of Education by the application deadline. There will be application cycles each semester. For more details on admission requirements, application deadlines and to submit an online application, go to the UNC School of Education undergraduate admissions webpage (http://soe.unc.edu/services/apply/ug/).

When should I apply?

We recommend that students apply to the program as early as they can so they can take advantages of the many UNC-BEST opportunities such as social events and seminars. You are allowed to take up to two classes in the program before you have to be an official UNC-BEST student. You must also be in the program for an entire semester before you are eligible for student teaching. Therefore, to student teach in the spring, you must apply and be accepted into the program in the spring or summer before your student teaching internship.

Can I complete the UNC-BEST program if I am already a junior?

Yes, many of our students come to us early in their junior year. Since you have usually completed most of your general education requirements by your junior year, juniors often have to complete a couple courses in the summer to fit everything in. Many juniors who received course credit for IB/AP courses have room for the student teaching semester if they take a couple summer courses. Furthermore, you can student teach during a 9th semester if necessary.

Can I be in the UNC-BEST program if I am already a senior?

It is possible to complete the UNC-BEST program during your senior year although you will likely need to complete some courses in summer school or in a 9th semester. To student teach in the spring of your senior year, you must apply to UNC-BEST by the summer before as you have to be admitted to the program at least one semester before you student teach. For other routes to licensure, see the College Foundation of North Carolina for links to post baccalaureate programs in teaching (http://www.cfnc.org/career/TeacherEd/teacher.jsp)

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