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Do I Need a Bachelor’s Degree to Apply for a Teaching License?

A BS in Elementary Education degree can put you on the path to becoming a certified teacher.

In most professions, once you acquire the right experience and/or college degree, you can get a job. But certain professions require licensure—an additional step before employment, even for entry-level positions. Teaching is one such profession.

To become a teacher in the public school systems, you have to have a state license. While some states issue emergency teacher certification to help alleviate teacher shortages, those certifications are only issued in extenuating circumstances. If you want to devote your career to teaching and education, you’ll need to go through the normal licensing process and become a fully certified teacher.

Do I Need a Bachelor’s Degree to Apply for a Teaching License?

The question you may have is: Can you get teacher licensure with a bachelor’s degree?

Here are the facts:

Every State Has Different Teacher Certification Regulations

Teacher licenses are granted by states, which means there are 50 different sets of requirements. The specific requirements you’ll have to meet will depend on where you live or where you want to teach. Before you even choose which college to attend or what kind of teaching degree to earn, you should review your state’s teacher certification requirements. That way, you can make good decisions going forward.

A Bachelor’s Degree Is a Minimum Requirement in All States

States may have different regulations governing teacher licensure, but there is one common element: You must have a bachelor’s degree to qualify for teacher certification.

Depending on where you live or where you plan to teach, you may need a degree from a program with coursework focused on education, such as a BS in Elementary Education.

Not All Education Degrees Prepare You for Teacher Certification

While most education degree programs include coursework on teaching strategies, they don’t all prepare you for teacher certification. If you intend to pursue a job as a kindergarten teacher or elementary school teacher after earning a degree, you’ll need a state-approved teacher preparation program that readies you for the important step of certification.1

To meet all of the teacher licensure requirements in your state, you’ll also likely need to pass one or more skills tests and undergo a background check. Some states may require state-specific coursework in subjects ranging from history to multiculturalism.

You Can Prepare for Teacher Certification With Online Learning

The path to becoming a certified teacher may seem steep, but online learning can ease that process, particularly if you’re interested in elementary education. Through a BS in Elementary Education online program, you can gain the knowledge and skills you need to teach in K–6 classrooms, all while completing your coursework from wherever you are. And, if you earn your BS in Elementary Education from Walden University, a CAEP-accredited institution, that coursework will prepare you to pursue teacher certification.

Walden’s online bachelor’s program in elementary education lets you learn from anywhere you have internet access and take classes at whatever time of day works best for you. This makes it possible to earn an online teaching degree while working full time and handling your other responsibilities.

If you live or plan to teach elementary school in the state of Minnesota, Walden’s BS in Elementary Education will provide you with the state-approved teacher preparation you’ll need as part of the Minnesota teacher certification process. If you’re not in Minnesota, the teacher preparation may still count toward certification in your state. Simply check with your state for details.

A bachelor’s degree alone is not enough to become a certified teacher. But it is a vital part of the process—one that can help you reach your ultimate goal if you choose the right education degree program.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a BS in Elementary Education degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) for a period of seven years, from April 2019 through June 2026. This accreditation covers initial teacher preparation programs and advanced educator preparation programs. CAEP is the only recognized national accreditor for educator preparation, promoting excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement. Walden University earned CAEP accreditation by meeting rigorous national standards and demonstrating excellence in the areas of content and pedagogy, clinical experiences, selectivity, program impact, and capacity for continuous improvement.

CAEP accreditation is based on a review of The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership’s initial teacher preparation programs—the BS in Elementary Education and the Master of Arts in Teaching with a specialization in Special Education—and advanced educator preparation programs—the EdS in Educational Leadership and Administration and the MS in Education with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Administration. Three of these programs were reviewed by Specialized Professional Associations (SPAs), which defines content-area standards for programs, and achieved national recognition: Master of Arts in Teaching with a specialization in Special Education, EdS in Educational Leadership and Administration, and MS in Education with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Administration.

Walden University is approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching to offer a program leading to initial licensure in elementary education. Candidates must pass the required Minnesota Teacher Licensure Exams (MTLEs) before Walden can recommend candidates to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) for the license. Candidates are responsible for completing any other Minnesota requirements beyond Walden’s state-approved program and MDE is solely responsible for reviewing applications and issuing licenses.

Individuals interested in an elementary education licensure in states other than Minnesota may qualify by virtue of completing a state-approved teacher preparation program; however, individuals must review their state’s regulations to ensure the program meets all requirements, paying particular attention to any requirements specific to out-of-state program completers.

Walden Enrollment Specialists can provide guidance on licensure issues; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure or endorsement.

This program does not qualify for teacher state licensure in Kentucky or North Carolina. Students who are interested in receiving teaching licensure in these states should not enroll in this program.

Prospective Alabama students: State Authorization to provide a program related to the preparation of teachers or other P-12 school/system personnel does not indicate eligibility for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate. Applicants who complete an educator preparation program at a non-Alabama institution must apply for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate through the Alabama Certificate Reciprocity Approach. Current requirements may be found at

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,