Mar 24, 2023  
ARCHIVED 2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
ARCHIVED 2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Teacher Education Program

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Admission and retention policies in teacher education programs are based on the standards and guidelines of the State of North Carolina and the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Approved institutions must have established procedures for implementing decisions regarding admission to and retention in teacher education programs. The state and CAEP guidelines require continuous evaluation of students admitted to teacher education programs and states that those found unlikely to succeed as teachers should be withdrawn.

Conceptual Framework for the Professional Education Program

The professional education program at Western Carolina University fulfills its mission by creating and nourishing a community of learners guided by knowledge, values, and experiences. The guiding principles of this community include the belief that the best educational decisions are made after adequate reflection and with careful consideration of the interests, experiences, and welfare of the persons affected by the decisions; with appreciation of and respect for diversity; and with the fostering of the responsible use of technology.

Admission to the Teacher Education Program

Acceptance and registration in a department do not guarantee admission to the teacher education program in that department. The applicant’s fitness for teaching in the chosen area is determined by demonstrated academic ability and other personal characteristics conducive to effective teaching. A student may be considered suitable in one area and unsuitable in another. Students with disabilities that may impact successful teaching should consult with the Director of Teacher Education and the Office of Accessibility Services.

Students who plan to receive a degree in education or a license through Western Carolina University must apply for and be officially admitted to a teacher education program. Admission to teacher education requires an application that should be completed during the semester in which the student is enrolled in EDCI 201 (BK 250 for Birth-Kindergarten (BK) majors), which is a prerequisite to all other courses in the professional education sequence. Applications are available online by logging into Watermark (formerly Tk20.) See information on Admission to the Teacher Education program at

Admission Criteria

All requirements for admission to teacher education should be met by the end of the semester the student is enrolled in our gateway course EDCI 201 (BK 250 for BK majors). To meet the minimum requirements for admission, students should have met all the following criteria:

  • Completed at least 30 hours (which can also include transfer hours)
  • Earned a C (2.0) or higher grade in EDCI 201 (BK 250 for BK majors), ENGL 101. NOTE: Earning a C (2.0) or higher grade in ENGL 202 is required before beginning Internship 1 or student teaching);

  • Earned a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75; that minimum GPA must be maintained to remain in the program

  • Achieved the minimum required scores on the SAT, ACT, or Praxis Core (Reading, Writing, Mathematics)

  • Subscribed to Watermark, formerly TK 20

  • Completed the Diversity Scale via Watermark (TK 20)

  • Completed the Professional Dispositions Contract

  • Submitted the application for Admission to Teacher Education

Applicants already holding non-teacher education degrees and seeking a teaching license must meet all the above requirements except they are not required to take the Praxis Core. Applicants with non-teaching degrees from accredited institutions who did not have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 should consult with the Coordinator of Teacher Education Admissions.

Students must have maintained satisfactory conduct and citizenship records in keeping with the ethics of the teaching profession. Applicants with a record of legal offenses may not be eligible for admission to teacher education.

Readmission to Teacher Education

Students whose WCU enrollment is interrupted for three consecutive semesters (any combination of fall, spring, summer) or who are dismissed from the university are required to seek readmission to the Teacher Education Program upon their return. Readmission to the Teacher Education program requires students to meet admission criteria in place at the time the readmission application is submitted.

A student who is readmitted to the university after dismissal, suspension, or expulsion will not be readmitted to the teacher education program the first term after returning.

Continuation in the Teacher Education Program

The requirements for continuing in the program are as follows

  • A GPA of at least 2.75 on hours attempted
  • Behavior that adheres to the NC code of ethics of the profession and the professional dispositions of the College of Education and Allied Professions
  • Satisfactory participation in the required professional field experience program that is prerequisite to student teaching.
  • An evaluation of each field experience assignment will become a part of the student’s professional record
  • If a student fails two courses or any one course in the professional education sequence twice, the student is withdrawn from teacher education.

Clinical and Field Experience for Professional Education

In addition to the intern/student-teaching requirement, the teacher education program requires field experiences in conjunction with several courses. Students are expected to make their own arrangements for transportation and housing and absorb the costs related to field experiences and internship or student teaching. Each program has different requirements, and students should discuss costs with the program head before applying for admission to the teacher education program. The goal of professional education clinical and field experiences is to help teacher education students learn to teach all of their pupils to achieve at high levels of performance. Although each field experience requirement has its own specific purpose and placement procedures, the strategies to achieve this goal are stated below:

  • Field experience placements are made so that students can work with qualified educators in successful programs.

  • Field experience placements are made so that students have the opportunity to work with diverse learners. Teacher education students are required to complete one field experience in a diverse setting, as defined by the College of Education and Allied Professions. Students who do not complete one of the early field experience requirements in a diverse setting must be placed in a diverse setting for the internship or student teaching semester.

  • Field experiences placements are made in collaboration with K-12 school personnel.

  • Field experience placements are made to facilitate appropriate supervision of students.

  • Students can sometimes combine early field experience placements to meet multiple course requirements. This is approved for no more than two classes.


Admission to Student Teaching/Internship

Students apply to the director of field experiences early in the semester before the semester in which the student teaching/internship is to be done. The requirements for admission to student teaching/internship are:

  • Completion of at least 39 of 42 hours required for Liberal Studies

  • Enrollment in the professional education sequence for at least two semesters

  • Completion of at least ninety hours in a teacher education curriculum

  • A GPA of 2.75 or above, both at the beginning of the term immediately preceding the student teaching/internship term and at the time of enrollment in student teaching/internship

  • Completion of at least two-thirds of the major

  • Completion of all records designated by the director of field experiences

  • Completion of the applicable professional education sequence except for student teaching/internship and the student teaching/internship seminar

  • Completion of an approved SBI background check

  • Completion of student teaching/internship application including recommendation by advisor and department head

  • All other requirements from the school placement as applicable.

Continuation in Student Teaching/Internship

To continue in student teaching/internship, students must maintain satisfactory professional conduct and adhere to the policies and regulations of the school to which they are assigned. When recommended by the director of field experiences and approved by the dean, students failing to perform at a satisfactory level may be removed from student teaching/internship. Removal from a school placement is considered a failed internship. The Office of Field Experiences is under no obligation to place the student in another setting. Removal from a school placement will result in a grade no higher than a D.

Requirements for Teacher Licensure

To be eligible for an initial teaching license in North Carolina, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Complete one of the approved teacher-education programs

  • Achieve a minimum grade of C (2.0) in internship or student teaching

  • Achieve the minimum required score on the edTPA assessment

  • Receive a public school recommendation indicating that student teaching was successful

  • Receive a satisfactory recommendation by meeting all competencies on the Certification of Teaching Capacity document completed after internship/student teaching

  • Complete application for licensure and file with the Licensure Officer of the College of Education and Allied Professions

  • Achieve the minimum score on all state-required licensure exams such as the PRAXIS II and Pearson tests

  • Receive a professional recommendation for an Initial Professional License (IPL) by the Licensure Officer of the College of Education and Allied Professions

  • Pay the license fee required by the Department of Public Education for the issuance of a teacher license

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