Graduate Certificate in Teaching: Elementary Education

The Graduate Certificate in Elementary (K-6) Education is 27- hour program designed for students who who have a bachelor’s degree in another field and are seeking their initial teaching license. Upon successful completion of the Graduate Certificate, students are eligible for a level “A” professional educator’s license for North Carolina.

Upon completion of the Graduate Certificate, qualified students have the option of completing 12 additional hours to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) Admission to the Graduate Certificate is separate and distinct from admission to a graduate degree program and not an indication of automatic admission to the M.A.T. degree program.  For more information on this option, refer to the M.A.T. in Elementary Education.

All courses for the Graduate Certificate must be completed within four years. Elementary Education admits students for Summer I and Fall only.

For more information on the Graduate Certificate Program, please contact Bethany Myers in the Education Recruitment office at 704-687-7353 or  You may also contact Joshua Avery at 704-687-8727 or

General Requirements for Admission to the Graduate School
Please refer to admission information in the “Graduate School” section of the Graduate Catalog.

Admission Requirements for Graduate Certificate in Teaching Programs

1.     An undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited four-year institution

2.     A cumulative GPA of a 2.75 or a 2.7 with very strong recommendations

3.     Three recommendations from persons knowledgeable of the applicant’s 
interaction with children or youth (Names and email addresses)

4.     A statement of purpose

5.     A clear criminal background check

Apply online at

Admission to Candidacy
The Candidacy form supplied by the Graduate School must be received no later than the eighth instructional day of the semester in which completion of all degree requirements is expected. 

Application for Degree
The Application for Degree/Graduation form supplied by the Graduate School must be received early in the last semester of the student’s program.

A three-hour internship is required for Graduate Certificate students.  The graduate-level internship is the culminating experience of the Graduate Certificate program, offering students the opportunity to demonstrate their readiness for the North Carolina Standard Professional 1 (SP1) Professional Educator’s License.  Students are assigned to an appropriate classroom for a full-time semester-long experience under the supervision of the classroom teacher and university faculty.  This internship can be done in a student’s place of employment or the University can find a placement for the student.  Lateral entry teachers and teacher assistants must contact the Office of Field Experiences to determine the appropriateness of their classroom for the internship experience and licensure requirements.  This contact should take place at least one semester before the internship.

Clinical Field Experiences
Most courses require students to develop their knowledge, skills, and dispositions in public school settings.  These experiences broaden their ability to help all students learn, including children with exceptionalities and students from diverse ethnic/racial, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic groups.  During clinical experiences, students apply research and/or evidence-based practices gained in coursework, analyze P-12 student learning, and develop the ability to positively impact all learners.  All students are expected to complete clinical experiences in at least three significantly different settings.

Candidates who are lateral entry teachers and teacher assistants must move beyond their own classrooms and schools for at least two clinical experiences.  Alternative settings must be approved by the instructor and may include schools on different schedules, after-school and summer programs, Saturday programs, and private and charter schools.  A limited number of clinical experiences may be approved in significantly different classrooms within their school of employment.  Employed candidates are encouraged to seek assistance and support from their administrators.

Niner Clinical Immersion School

NCIS is pilot program designed to increase the level of meaningful engagement for pre-student teacher candidates in P12 schools.  The word "immersion" is important... NCIS is a way to "immerse" candidates in the P12 classroom while at the same time taking coursework to train you to become a teacher.  NCIS restructures the required clinical hours assigned to courses to better serve the needs of our teacher education candidates. If you are interested in participating, please find more information at

All students are assigned an advisor upon formal admission to the program.  Students should consult with their advisor at least once each semester. The advisor for Elementary Education is Dr. Karen Cross. You can contact her at 704-687-7902 or

Upon successful completion of the Graduate Certificate in Elementary Education, students are eligible for a level “A” professional educator’s license for North Carolina. For this license, students are required to complete an electronic licensure portfolio that is created during coursework and the internship. Students will also be required to take and pass appropriate licensure exams.  Students apply for the level “A” professional educator’s license in the TEAL office (Cato COED 119).

Financial Aid/Financial Assistance
Information about available scholarships can be found at

Information about financial aid can be found at

*Additional funding may be available upon request.

Program Accreditation/Approval
All teacher education programs at UNC Charlotte are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.  All programs have been approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education.