How do you know which tests are required to earn teacher licensure in your state? That’s a good question and one that many teacher candidates ask. Also, many states require multiple tests for any given certification area, which makes determining which tests to take even more challenging.

Young students campus helps friend catching up and learning.

Often, states require a pedagogical test and at least one content-area test for each certification, but may require more. Figuring out which tests are required for which content area or grade can be overwhelming, but there are some tips and tricks that can help you identify which tests you need for the license you want to earn.

One helpful resource is your educator preparation program. Whether you are enrolled in a university-based program or an alternate route to certification, you likely have access to a person or a department that can help you identify the tests you need for your particular license. Your program may even have a list of tests by certification area for your state on their website, allowing you to easily see which tests are required as well as the required cut score, or passing score, for each test. Reach out to your preparation program to see if they have any resources that will help you navigate your testing requirements.

If you are not enrolled in a teacher preparation program and are trying to find the tests required for your particular certification, you may need to look elsewhere for information. Another good resource is your state education or licensing agency. For example, the Texas Education Agency (TEA; https://tea.texas.gov/) provides a list of certification areas and the tests required for educators preparing to obtain those certifications through its Texas Educators: Certification page (https://tea.texas.gov/texas-educators/certification). By searching your state’s licensing agency or department of education, you are likely to find exactly which tests you need to take for your licensure area.

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Often, state licensing agency websites will direct you to the testing vendor website, where you can find a list of tests required for your certification area as well as the required passing score. You can also register for your tests directly through these sites and select which agencies or states should receive your score report. If you are required to take a Praxis® test for certification, you will need to visit the ETSTM website. Here, you can identify your state, select the certification you wish to earn, and see a list of required tests. For example, the ETSTM website for Virginia lists the required tests for certification in Elementary Education: Teaching Reading (5205) and Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects tests (5001; 5002-5005), as well as the passing score for each test. However, it is important to check your state agency’s website as well, because Virginia Elementary candidates are also required to take the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA), which is not listed on the ETSTM site because it was developed by Pearson® , which is a different test developer.

Some states, such as Georgia, Massachusetts, and Michigan, among others, use a customized set of licensure tests. For example, California uses the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET®) which includes content-area assessments. They also require basic skills tests and a teaching performance assessment (view our Frequently Asked Questions document to learn more about the different types of licensure assessments!). The California Educator Credentialing Assessments website, available here https://www.ctcexams.nesinc.com/Home.aspx, provides a list of assessments required for any given certification.


Identifying the tests you need to take to earn your certification may seem daunting, but there are lots of resources at your fingertips to help you navigate this task. Passage Preparation can help you identify and prepare for the tests you need to take in order to earn your certification and reach your professional goals!

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About the Author: Nathan Estel

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Nathan has over 20 years of experience in the educator preparation and certification space. In that time, Nathan has worked in a state education agency, leading the state’s efforts to recruit, prepare, license, and retain professional and support staff and on the national level for large companies providing assessment solutions for the education field.

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