Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in Delaware

A Delaware teacher has a license and one or more standard certificates. Standard certificates qualify the person to teach in particular areas. An educator will have only one license at a given time even if he or she is qualified in multiple teaching fields. The educator will move up the ranks from Tier I to Tier II by performing satisfactorily on the job and meeting particular state mandates. Some educators go as far as Tier III.

The minimum requirement for a teaching license is a bachelor’s degree. Students may earn teaching credentials in conjunction with a bachelor’s or post-bachelor’s program. Students who enroll in educator programs are directed to verify that the program they are considering is offered by a regionally accredited institution, is nationally accredited, and is in an area that Delaware issues certification. The Delaware Department of Education references the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC) as recognized accrediting agencies. In recent years, there has been some re-organization of national accrediting bodies. Programs that were formerly NCATE-accredited may now be CAEP-accredited.

An educational program must include student teaching. The licensing agency will look for documentation of this experience at the time of application; it may appear on the transcript.

Delaware also has alternate pathways for people who already hold degrees and who are ready for the challenge of actually stepping into the classroom ( Among them are Teach for America and the Delaware Alternative Routes to Certification Program. They are designed to put prospective teachers in hard to fill positions and support them in developing teacher competencies. The Alternative Routes to Certification Program supports professionals with related content area degrees in achieving teaching licensure in secondary subjects; some K-12 certifications may also be available. These new professionals receive intensive on-the-job mentoring and supervision in lieu of student teaching.

The Masters Plus Certification Program in Special Education allows bachelor’s degree holders to move up the ranks from special education para-educator to special education teacher while working toward a master’s degree.

Earning Standard Certificates

Professionals who teach at the early grade levels are more often prepared as generalists while those at the secondary level are more often prepared as specialists. However, specialized positions (whether defined by subject area or population) exist at all levels.

The following are among the many certifications recognized in Delaware:

  • K-12 art teacher
  • K-12 world language teacher
  • Middle grades language art teacher
  • Early childhood exceptional children special education teacher (Birth - grade 2)
  • Theater teacher
  • Secondary mathematics teacher
  • Secondary social studies teacher
  • Agri-science teacher
  • Teacher of English learners

Educators earn their standard certificates by demonstrating competence in the areas sought. Standards are those of the Delaware Professional Standards Board. Some certificates have both a program requirement and a testing requirement. It doesn’t necessarily take a degree to meet educational standards in a new area. It may take as little as 15 credit hours of Board-approved coursework.

Some certifications require only a test, assuming the person indeed qualifies for licensure ( In many cases, the test will be part of the Praxis series

Though Delaware has several middle school certifications, teachers may be employed in middle school settings with secondary school certification.

Some adjunct certifications do not stand alone but indicate that the person is qualified to teach a particular population in his or her area or subject. An example is bilingual teacher.

The school reading specialist certificate requires teaching experience and considerable graduate coursework.

Teachers can continue to add certifications to their licenses.

Levels of Licensing

Tier I is the initial level of licensure. It qualifies the teacher to work in the school system. An initial license is issued for four years. A teacher at this level can have no more than one unsatisfactory annual evaluation. The teacher is expected to pass a performance evaluation by the end of his or her second year on the job. The performance evaluation is not a test in the standard sense. The candidate will need to submit a number of artifacts including video. The Delaware Department of Education has approved two performance assessments: the Pearson edTPA and the ETS PPAT.

A Tier II license may be referred to as a continuing license. Tier III licensure is available to teachers who are certified through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Out-of-State Teachers: Reciprocity

Out-of-state teachers can expect to begin at the initial level. Those with less than a year will complete a performance assessment by the end of their second year. Those with more than a year of experience are not held to this requirement.

The Application Process

An applicant seeking first time Delaware credentialing applies simultaneously for a license and standard certificate.

The application is online. The Department of Education has provided detailed instructions about using the online system, DEEDS (

The applicant will need to ensure that some supporting documentation is sent separately (transcripts, tests scores, other credentials).

There is a $100 application fee. Some applicants will later be eligible for reimbursement.

Additional Information

Delaware teachers are licensed by the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) Licensure & Certification Office.

The licensing office can be reached by telephone at 302-857-3388 or by email at ‘’.

Regulations can be viewed online (