How to Become a Teacher in Delaware

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How to Become a Teacher in Delaware

There are several pathways to becoming a teacher in Delaware. At a minimum, all teachers must have a bachelor's degree. A degree in Education from an approved institution may be the easiest route, although in Delaware it isn't necessary to reach your goal. The routes to Delaware teaching certification and licensure depend on if one has a degree in education or another field, where the candidate received their degree (if out of state), and if they are licensed or have experience as a teacher in another state. Experienced teachers also must meet certain requirements and must submit documentation of their work for licensure.

Licensure

A "license" refers to a type of credential that authorizes the licensee to practice in the specific field for which it is issued. In the state of Delaware, the teaching license is structured in three tiers:

  • Initial License: Individuals with four years or less of teaching experience and who meet the minimum education and testing requirements will start with an Initial License.
  • Continuing License: A Continuing License is granted to teachers with four years or more of teaching experience, and with no more than one negative annual evaluation. This license is good for five years and can be renewed.
  • Advanced License: The Advanced License is granted to those who have earned their certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

In addition to licensure, teachers are expected to receive certifications for the subjects in which they will teach. You may hold more than one certificate at a time.

Education majors should start the application process early in their senior year so that by the end of their last semester they will have completed most of the requirements for licensure and submitted nearly all the necessary documentation, other than verification of degree completion and any final evaluations needed.

The Delaware Department of Education offers alternative routes to receiving a teaching license for those who do not have a degree in education. Information about these programs is described in further detail below.

Steps Toward Licensure

  1. Attend an accredited institution of higher education and earn a bachelor's degree. If your degree is in a topic other than education, you will need to enroll in a DOE-approved teacher preparation program. (see information below)
  2. Complete a teacher preparation program, including a Praxis component.
  3. Take any mandatory exams, including for the subjects or content areas in which you plan to be certified.
  4. Log in to the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) website and select the DEEDS app.
  5. Apply for the appropriate License and Certificate(s) for the content area you want to teach.
  6. Pay the application fee, which will be reimbursed, if hired.
  7. Send requests out for any required, official documentation to be sent to DDOE, such as:
  • Official transcripts
  • Test scores
  • Proof of student teaching if it's not on the transcript
  • Copy of any out-of-state credentials, if applicable and submit a Verification of Experience form, which is on the site.

The University of Delaware School of Education notified their students that the Delaware Department of Education has confirmed that teacher candidates whose placement length has been adjusted in response to conditions relating to coronavirus/COVID-19 will be eligible for an institutional recommendation for certification if they have satisfied all other requirements.

Completing a Teacher Preparation Program in Delaware

The Delaware State Board of Education and the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation require all teachers to successfully pass a Teacher Preparation Program (TPP) to receive licensure. These are four-year higher education programs that combine coursework and field placements in schools and culminate in a student teaching placement during the final year. The TPP must be within an approved and accredited institution of higher education. It isn't necessary to attend a Delaware school; however, it must be accredited and offer the expected courses and field placements.

Approved Institutes of Higher Education in Delaware are:

Delaware State University:

  • Bachelor's Degrees (BS)
  • Master's Degrees (M.Ed., M.A., M.A.T.)
  • Doctoral Degrees (EdD)

Delaware Technical and Community College

  • Associate Degree (AA) which can then be applied to a transfer to a four-year institution.

Relay Graduate School of Education

  • Master's Degrees (M.A.)
  • Alternative Routes to Certification program. (One-year intensive program for new and uncertified teachers.)
  • Certification in Special Education

University of Delaware

  • Bachelor's Degrees (B.S.)
  • Master's Degrees (M.A./Ed.S, M.A., M.Ed) both online and in-person
  • 4+1 tracks (Bachelor's and Master's in 5 years)
  • Ph.D.'s
  • Graduate Certificates
  • Alternatives Routes to Certification program. (Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college, have a GPA of 3.0 or above, and a passing score on the relevant Praxis II subject assessment.)

University of Delaware Online

  • Educational Technology: M.Ed.

Wilmington University

  • Bachelor's Degrees (B.S.)

Education Requirements for Delaware Teachers

To be qualified to teach in Delaware, candidates must earn a bachelor's degree and complete an approved teacher preparation program, as described above. Candidates seeking Delaware teacher licensure/certification who have not graduated from a teacher education program must enroll in a teacher preparation program. the program must be from:

  • A regionally accredited four-year college or university that is also accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) or the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)
  • Is a certificate-yielding program (some Master's degree programs do not offer this)
  • If out of state, is in a program area where the State of Delaware offers a comparable certificate.

In addition, teachers in Delaware must take several exams with a passing score, such as the edTPA and any subject-matter Praxis Subject Assessment(s) that are associated with the grade levels in which the candidate plans to teach. Praxis tests for teachers for subject matter certification, which are offered by the Educational Testing Service, are listed on the ETS website.

It is not necessary to major in education for a bachelor's degree, however, the major would encompass the teacher preparation requirements. Individuals with other majors would need to complete all the requirements of an approved teacher preparation program. Those requirements are:

Early Childhood Education:

  • Child Development/Learning
  • Child Psychology
  • Special Education

Environment/Curriculum

  • Curriculum Development
  • Special Education

Social-Emotional Development

  • Family Studies courses
  • Child Psychology
  • Special Education

Additional Topics

  • Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood
  • Professional Issues in Early Childhood Development and Education
  • Professional Issues in the Administration of Early Childhood Programs
  • Ethical Issues in Early Childhood
  • Childhood Nutrition
  • Cultural Diversity, Schooling and the Teacher
  • Care for Children and Families
  • Child and Family Policy
  • Parent/Teacher & Community Interaction
  • Non-School Factors Affecting Learning in the Classroom
  • Child Care Program Development & Evaluation
  • Early Childhood Administration, Leadership & Advocacy
  • Parent/Family/School Interaction

Testing Requirements for Delaware Teachers

Praxis tests are required of all teachers prior to licensure and certification.

Mandatory tests:

  1. Praxis Subject Assessment (formerly Praxis II) in the area(s) of their discipline(s) (the State of Delaware Professional Standards Board and State Board of Education require the Praxis test because they have not yet approved qualifying test scores for all certificate areas).
  2. Either the edTPA or PPAT performance assessment (required for those with one year or less of licensed experience).

Some educational institutions may require passing Praxis scores prior to providing the institutional recommendation required by DDOE when applying for licensure, hence it would be necessary to take the exams and receive passing scores well before completing a teacher preparation program. Typically, individuals who do not pass either exam have one year from their graduation date to receive the institutional recommendation certification.

Requests to send test scores:

  • If the test is taken in Delaware and the applicant's Praxis profile address is in Delaware, the results will be sent automatically to the DDOE.
  • If the test is taken outside Delaware OR the Praxis profile address is not in Delaware, the scores are NOT automatically sent to DDOE. Applicants must select the Delaware Department of Education (state code 7065) as a score recipient when they register for the Praxis test.
  • Tests for certification in grade or subject areas are also required. The specific tests necessary can be found on the Educational Testing Service website.

Other Requirements for Delaware Teachers

  • A comprehensive background check is required of all educators;
  • A fingerprinted Delaware State Bureau of Identification (SBI) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report of a person's entire criminal history;
  • A search of the Delaware Child Protection Registry, Delaware Sex Offender Registry, all necessary out-of-state sex offender registries, and the National Sex Offender Registry. Note: People who currently reside or have resided outside of Delaware within the last 5 years require additional state criminal history and child abuse and neglect searches.

Delaware Teaching Licensing Application

Individuals who wish to apply for the State of Delaware teaching license or certifications must meet the following criteria:

  • Be in possession of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
  • Complete a teacher preparation program that includes student teaching
  • Pass the Praxis II examination and any subject matter exams
  • Possess a current and out-of-state license if an experienced teacher

The application for a teaching license and certifications resides on the Delaware Educator Data System site. The following must be submitted as part of the application:

  • Official Transcript(s) - minimum of a bachelor's degree
  • Student Teaching experience listed on an official transcript or proof of student teaching if it is not on your transcript
  • Copy of current and valid out-of-state license, if already licensed in another state
  • Scores on Performance Assessments (ETS, Pearson, ACTFL, other State-authorized)
  • Form E (Verification of Teaching Experience) - if applicant has over one year of out-of-state teaching experience

The applicant may request that the testing agency send any test scores electronically to the Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) when registering for exams or any time after receiving your scores.

  • The Praxis II tests are administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The Department's Recipient Code is R7065.
  • Teachers of foreign languages are required to take the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) exam. Language Testing International administers the ACTFL tests.
  • Individuals who are applying with out of state or out of country credentials may need to submit additional documents/evidence of their prior experience and any evaluations.

Once the DDOE receives the application and documentation they will send the applicant an email stating whether the requirements were received, or which documents are missing. Applicants will be responsible for any follow-up needed.

Teaching candidates may apply for employment as a teacher while the license and certificate(s) are pending. Districts and charter schools can access their applications via DEEDS, so there is no need to duplicate efforts.

Because educators may have expertise in more than one subject, they can hold certificates in different areas at the same time. The different types of certificates are:

Standard Certificate: This is a credential that certifies the older has the knowledge skills, and experience to teach in a specific topic or subject, or to teach a specific category of students (such as special education). Delaware's General Assembly has an extensive list of certifications that are available on its website.

Emergency Certificate: This is a temporary credential that may be given to an educator who has met all the other requirements for employment and possesses a current Delaware Initial, Continuing or Advanced license, but doesn't yet have the necessary skills and knowledge to be eligible for certification in a specific area.

Certificate of Eligibility: The COE is available to teachers who are enrolled in the Alternative Route to Licensure and certification program for teachers of students with disabilities. They must also possess one of the three types of teaching license that is current and valid.

Non-US Applicants

In general, candidates who attended or graduated from a non-U.S. college or university must follow the same application process as other applicants. However, their transcripts must be evaluated by an independent agency to ascertain if the courses taken, and field work are equivalent to teacher training program requirements in the U.S. (Applicants from Guam or Puerto Rico should follow the instructions for Out-of-State Applicant Certification.) This evaluation process has two steps:

  1. The transcript must be translated into English (if necessary)
  2. Determination if the coursework is equivalent to that offered by accredited American colleges and universities. All international transcripts must be evaluated. Applicants are responsible for ordering the required documents from an approved professional agency, and have the evaluations sent directly to the DDOE from the agency. Alternatively, an unopened copy may be forwarded by the applicant to:

Delaware Department of Education

Licensure & Certification

Collette Education Resource Center

35 Commerce Way, Suite 1

Dover, DE 19904

It isn't necessary to send the original transcripts to DDOE; only the evaluation reports are needed and replace the actual transcripts. An individual does not send the transcripts on which the evaluation is based. Instead, the official evaluation report will substitute for the transcripts.

Evaluation reports must include:

  • Evaluations of each non-U.S. course as compared to a four-year college or university program in the U.S.
  • The semester-hour equivalent of each area of study (i.e., if a 3-credit course is the same as U.S. 3-credit course)
  • Translations of all course titles into English
  • Verification that the teaching certificate and student teaching was completed.

Be careful to use one of these two approved organizations to find an agency to evaluate your transcripts. Evaluations will not be accepted from any other agency:

  • National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) member agencies. A complete list of agencies may be found on the NACES Members site.
  • The Association of International Credential Evaluators, Inc. (AICE). A complete listing of available agencies may be found on the AICE Endorsed Members site.

In addition to submitting evaluation reports of transcripts, foreign applicants, like U.S. applicants, must apply for employment through the Delaware Educator Data System (DEEDS) system. This includes completing the requirements for a New Delaware Educator and choosing the appropriate certification area(s) in the application form.

International applicants may be challenged when attempting to enter their college or university information on the DEEDS website. If this is the case, enter "Foreign Institution" in the School Name field.

Alternative Paths for Licensure for Delaware Teachers

Teacher candidates who did not attend a traditional Teacher Preparation Program that included student teaching may want to apply for one of Delaware's Alternative Routes to Certification (ARTC) Programs. These programs include:

Earning Certification After Earning a Bachelor's Degree

Individuals who earned 30 credit hours in a specific field may be eligible to enroll in the Alternate Routes to Certification (ARTC) program. Once accepted, they will then take the coursework they need to become a licensed teacher. They may be allowed to work as a classroom teacher while developing their teaching skills.

The following programs cover certification in some or all of these areas:

  • Regular content (such as math, science, history)
  • Special Education
  • Other special areas (world languages, music theory)

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health - Autism & Severe Intellectual Disabilities

Approved provider for the "Alternative Certification in Autism and Severe Disabilities Alternative Routes to Certification Program

Kutztown University - Visual Impairment

Kutztown University's College of Education/Special Education offers a Post-Baccalaureate Program in Visual Impairment Certification Preparation. The program follows the required curriculum for the Pennsylvania Department of Education Educator Certification in Visual Impairment birth-21 online. Certification also requires successful completion of the Praxis II visual impairment examination and internship.

Pyramid Educational Consultants - Autism & Severe Intellectual Disabilities

This program combines training and guidance to build effective learning environments using the Pyramid Approach to Education ® (PAE). The PAE provides a framework for how teaching teams can meet students' individual learning needs by combining functional applied behavior analysis (ABA) and evidence-based strategies.

Relay Graduate School - Regular Content, Special Education, administration

One-year intensive for experienced general educators who already hold a certification in general education. The curriculum offers a foundation in all disabilities, with a focus on specific learning disabilities and high-incidence behavioral needs.

Saint Joseph's University - Teacher of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

This Master's degree program prepares educators for state certification and helps them acquire the competencies needed to support learning and development in children with hearing loss

Teach for America - Regular Content

All corps members are required to enroll in Relay Graduate School of Education's Master's Degree program. They are responsible for the tuition expenses of attending the program.

University of Delaware - Regular Content, Special Education, Other Areas

UD offers four programs: Master's Plus Certification Program, Special Ed Alternate Route to Certification for Inclusion, Special Ed Alternate Route to Certification for Severe Disabilities/Autism, and Special Ed Secondary School pathway

University of Nebraska - Visually Impaired

The Visual Impairment program will prepare you with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively address the unique educational needs of students with visual impairment or blindness.

Wesley College - Business, English, Math, Science

Description not available--website is not working properly.

Wilmington University - Special Education

Wilmington University's program is nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and is accredited by CAEP (Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation) under NCATE Standards (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education).

Alternative Routes to Certification (ARTC) for Special Education Areas - Certificate of Eligibility (COE)

The need for teachers in general, and especially special education specialists has led the Delaware Department of Education to develop programs that support three types of educators interested in working with special needs students:

  • Initial Licensure & Certification Programs. This program is designed to help Delaware public and charter school educators obtain initial licensure and certification in special education plus a content area. Applicants must have earned a minimum of 24 credits in an area aligned to a PK-12 content area (or pass the Praxis II for the content area prior to teaching) and obtain a letter of eligibility from a state-approved alternative route to certification program. Those who are hired as a Teacher of Record under ARTC COE have three years to complete the program's requirements:
  • Academic courses and seminars
  • Content assessments
  • Performance assessments
  • Program and the first two years of CIP mentoring
  • Two cycles of DPAS-II summative evaluations

Paraprofessional to Teacher Programs

This program allows paraprofessionals in Delaware public and charter schools to become certified special education teachers through a two-year master's degree in Special Education.

Year 1 - Paraprofessionals who are employed in a Delaware public or charter school enroll in the Master's in Special Education program in an accredited institution of higher education. During year 1, educators are expected to pass related content assessments and complete most of the necessary coursework.

Year 2 - Candidates are employed as a teacher of record in a Delaware public or charter school. During this time, they should complete the remaining coursework and the performance assessment.

Optional Year 3 - This additional year is designed to enable educators hired as a Teacher of Record under ARTC COE complete the program's requirements (see #1 in list above).

Add-On Certificate Programs support educators who are currently licensed and certified in at least one content area to obtain certification in a special education area while serving as a teacher of record for students with disabilities. This third year is the maximum amount of time allowed due to federal regulations; granting an extension beyond this year is not possible.

91 Days in Lieu Option

The last path for earning teacher certification in Delaware is the 91 Days in Lieu Option. This program offers an additional alternative to completing a traditional teacher preparation program with student teaching. To qualify for an initial license and be eligible for this option, a Delaware district/charter school must agree to provide mentorship and professional development to a promising teacher who:

  • Earned a bachelor's degree in some area related to teaching from a regionally accredited college or university;
  • Is certain to pass (or has passed) the Praxis II test in the related content area; and
  • Is already hired as a long-term substitute teacher for 91 days, in one consistent assignment, and may not be employed as a teacher or record.

Once the candidate has been hired full-time and is granted an Initial License and Emergency Certificate, the teacher must then complete an additional 15 semester credit hours of coursework in the related content area. A minimum of six credit hours must be in teaching pedagogy.

Delaware Credentials for Out-of-State Teachers

Out-of-state teachers may receive reciprocity from the Delaware Department of Education if they currently hold valid, active, and comparable credentials in another state, depending on the following factors:

  • the applicant is not subject to a hold on the application
  • the applicant meets license requirements, and
  • holds a valid and current license or certificate from another state in the same area for which they are requesting a Delaware certificate.

If the above conditions are met, Delaware may consider issuing either an Initial License or a Continuing License. If the applicant's license from another state has expired, some limitations apply.

Licenses by Reciprocity

  1. To receive a Continuing License by Reciprocity, applicants must:
  • hold a current and valid, out-of-state license/certificate.
  • have completed a minimum of four years of successful teaching experience, done under the current and valid out-of-state license/certificate.

Expired credentials: If the credential is valid beyond the expiration date listed on your certificate, applicants must request that the Department of Education of their originating state submit a letter to the Delaware Department of Education that verifies that the credential is still current and valid.

  1. To receive an Initial License by reciprocity, applicants must meet the following requirements:
  • hold a current and valid, out-of-state license/certificate.
  • have completed a minimum of one year of successful teaching experience, done under the current and valid out-of-state license/certificate.

Expired credentials: If the credential is valid beyond the expiration date listed on your certificate, applicants must request that the Department of Education of their originating state submit a letter to the Delaware Department of Education that verifies that the credential is still current and valid.

Note: In both applications for Continuing and Initial licenses, Delaware does not accept the following credentials as reciprocal:

  • Certificates of Eligibility
  • Intern Certificates
  • Conditional Certification
  • Substitute Teacher License
  • Private School License
  • Endorsements

Delaware Educator Professional Development & Advancement

To retain a Delaware teaching certification, the Delaware Department of Education expects all teachers to meet the professional development requirements for certification renewal as well as engage in additional education opportunities for professional improvement and advancement for the duration of their careers. This is tracked through the DPAS-II system, which will be replaced in fall, 2022 by a new teacher evaluation system, the Delaware Teacher Growth and Support System (DTGSS). The new system offers teachers the opportunity to receive continued feedback and support that matches their professional growth and student learning goals.

The DTGSS will focus on four performance areas:

  • Performance Areas 1-3 focus on teacher performance through classroom observation
  • Performance Area 4 looks at professional growth goals for teachers and student learning goals. Professional grown goals are set by the teachers themselves (in collaboration with administrators). Similarly, student learning goals are set by teachers and leaders annually in the fall and are based on pre-assessment data.

Professional Development opportunities

The professional development goals that are outlined in the DTGSS system are supported by the Delaware Department of Education career advancement courses. These courses are offered online on the DDOE's website, which teachers may access on their own for professional development.

There are two levels of courses on the site:

  • Professional Learning Opportunities offer short courses ranging from best practices for Communicating with Families to Designing Coherent Instruction.
  • Professional Development Management System offers in-depth training on the various skills that teachers need to advance professionally, based on the grade level in which they teach and/or subject specialty.

The additional advantage of taking professional development courses is the potential for salary increases. Earning advanced degrees can also be a factor in salary increases. NCES data indicates that the annual salary difference between a Bachelor's and Master's degree is in the $13,000 range nationally, and $5,000 between a Master's degree and a doctorate.

Delaware Teacher Employment Outlook & Salary

The State of Delaware is home to 2,853 private schools (including preschools) and 206 public schools. Among the latter, 23 are charter schools.

According to the National Education Association, the average teacher starting salary Delaware is $43,092. The average salary is $64,853. Per-student spending is $15,028.

Student Loan Assistance:

The State of Delaware offers an incentive to new teachers who have incurred debt during their time as a college student. The Educator Student Loan Payment Program was established to encourage promising students to enter and continue as teachers in high-needs schools and/or in content areas in which it is difficult to find appropriate staff. The Higher Education Office can provide more information about this program: 302-735-4120.

New teachers, regardless of where they work, need support and mentoring. Each school district has its own administrative structure and policies with which teachers need to become familiar to be successful in their careers. In addition, they need opportunities to continually improve their professional skills, develop the capacity to reflect on their teaching abilities, and create plans for personal growth as teachers.

To help its teachers meet these needs, the State of Delaware Department of Education supports its newest teachers through its Comprehensive Induction Program (CIP). The purpose of this program is to increase retention rates, improve professional teaching practices of all teachers (both new and experienced), and of course to continue to strengthen student academic achievement.

The CIP's four-year program orients new educators to the profession, which includes a state-mandated one-year mentoring and induction program for those who are new to Delaware's educational system. The CIP's four-year professional development program includes training and development opportunities that meet the state's, district's and/or school's goals. In addition to DDOE's program, individual school districts and charter schools may provide additional opportunities or have their own CIPs.

The minimum requirements for each year of the Comprehensive Induction Program (CIP) are:

Year 1

  • Weekly one-on-one (virtual or in person) sessions with a mentor (who provides real-time or near real-time support)
  • Four (4) observations/feedback cycles with the mentor
  • Observe skilled educators in practice four times (via videos, virtually or in-person)
  • Attend two (2) professional learning workshops (which much be approved by the LEA)
  • Complete an approved on-line ethics course

Year 2

  • Weekly one-on-one (virtual or in person) sessions with a mentor (who provides real-time or near real-time support)
  • Four (4) observations/feedback cycles with the mentor
  • Observe skilled educators in practice four times (via videos, virtually or in-person)
  • Attend two (2) professional learning workshops (which much be approved by the LEA)

Year 3

  • Participate in a Professional Learning Community (virtual or in person) on how to put data to use when making instructional decisions to meet the needs of their students
  • Join a small group book study with a learning team and
  • Review six required text chapters prior to the learning team meetings
  • Lead a minimum of one (1) learning team meeting
  • Integrate strategies that are discussed during the learning team meetings into classroom instruction
  • Collect evidence of strategy implementation to share at follow-up learning team meeting
  • Complete a final reflection on Year 3

Year 4

  • Conduct a self-analysis on the current level of their professional development by reflecting on their pedagogical skills and content-related skills
  • Identify areas of strength and at least one area that could use further development
  • Create a professional growth plan to the address the identified area(s) for growth
  • Implement the professional growth plan. Options for doing so include action research, individual or group book study, lesson study, college courses, or other professional learning opportunities that help the educator meet the goals of their personal growth plan (must be approved by the LEA)

In addition to the CIP, all teachers in the State of Delaware participate in the Delaware Teacher Growth and Support System (DTGSS), which is described in the section above.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What states have teaching reciprocity with Delaware?

    Delaware may accept any full and current license/certificate from another jurisdiction (any U.S. state, including District of Colombia, Guam, or Puerto Rico) for a reciprocal Delaware license/certificate, if all DDOE conditions are met.

  • How do I get certified to teach in Delaware?

    Delaware teaching certification requires at least a bachelor's degree, a passing score on the Praxis test, and a passing assessment score on the edTPA.

  • Is the edTPA required in Delaware?

    In addition to the Praxis exam, candidates are required to submit a portfolio for the edTPA assessment. The state of Delaware requires a passing score assessment on the edTPA for teaching certification.