According to studies, teachers are the most important factor in determining how academically successful students will be. This data is behind recent laws mandating that every classroom in the United States be led by a “highly qualified” teacher. To be deemed “highly qualified”, you’ll need meet certain criteria and be approved for initial licensure as well as subject-area certification.

Step 1 Enroll in a Teacher Education Program. You must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher to teach in Delaware. During the course of your schooling, you will gain the knowledge necessary to successfully instruct children in both general studies and specific subject areas. Additionally, you will explore psychological and social aspects of working with young children.

You will also be required to complete a teacher training program. This will likely be a part of your coursework, though it depends on the school you attend. Click the button above to find schools offering teacher training programs that are recognized by the Delaware Department of Education.

Step 2 Get a criminal history background check. Delaware law dictates that all potential teachers must pass a state and federal background check. As someone entrusted with the safety and well-being of children, teachers must adhere to a strict set of standards. Parents, students, and the hiring school have a right to know that you have not been involved in serious criminal activity. Getting your background check done is easy. Go to a Delaware State Bureau of Identification office and ask them to run both a federal and state background check on you.

There are three locations, housed within the county offices of the state police. They are in Dover, Georgetown, and Bear. The Dover location allows walk-ins, but you’ll have to make appointments to visit the other two – and don’t be late or you may have to reschedule. You will be asked to provide a valid form of ID and to pay the fee of $69. You can pay with a credit card or debit card, as well as a money order or cashier’s check (made out to Delaware State Police). They will not accept personal checks.

The state of Delaware also mandates that anyone who works as a teacher must have official child abuse clearance. This check is to verify that you have never been associated with child abuse or neglect. To get official clearance, you must complete and submit the Delaware Child Protection Registry Request form to the following address:

DSCYF, OCCL, Criminal History Unit
1825 Faulkland Road
Wilmington, DE 19805

Or, fax it to (302) 633-5191

Once you have been cleared through both agencies, you are considered eligible to seek state certification and licensure. You should not have to submit any documentation pertaining to these checks at application time unless otherwise specified.

Step 3 Take the required examinations. To qualify for elementary licensure, you must pass a basic competency exam to test your proficiency in the core areas of math, writing, and reading. The accepted initial qualification test in Delaware is the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST). State policy also dictates that you acquire subject-area certification. To meet this provision as an elementary teaching candidate, you must take the Praxis II Subject Assessment for grades K-6.To have your Praxis test scores electronically sent to the Delaware DOE, make sure to include the reporting code R7065 on your exams. This will expedite the application process and you won’t have to worry about sending proof of your scores to anyone.The exams are designed to thoroughly test your general and subject-area knowledge, so be prepared. In addition to having some great study materials, like these Praxis study guides and practice tests, don’t forget test-taking success basics. Get plenty of sleep the night before and eat a healthy meal prior to the exam. These little things can dramatically impact your mental acuity and increase your chances of doing well.

Step 4 Get the required Experience. There are some things that textbooks simply cannot replicate, and testing cannot measure. That’s where the experience requirement comes in. To fulfill this, you will participate in a student teaching program, during which you’ll work side-by-side with a professional educator at a public or charter elementary school. You’ll spend time creating lesson plans, administering exams, leading class discussions, interacting with parents, and much more.

If you enroll in a training program through a college or university, your department will facilitate your internship and place you in a sponsor school. If you have met all certification requirements aside from student teaching, you may qualify for one of Delaware’s approved alternate routes to fulfill your experience requirements.

The amount of time you spend in a student teaching environment will be slightly different depending on the training program you choose. Expect your teacher internship to last for at least a full semester.

To maximize the benefit you receive from this experience and to ensure that you perform at your full potential, take your internship very seriously. Be punctual. Act, dress, and speak as if you were already working in a professional teaching position. Stay positive, be open to advice, and immerse yourself in the experience. It’s also a good idea familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of your host school. Get to know things like dress code, general rules, and codes of conduct. Take notes, ask questions, and be patient with yourself as you adapt to the day-to-day life of being an elementary school teacher.

Step 5 Complete required documentation and Apply for Certification. If you’ve met the education and experience requirements and have passed both the basic and subject-area Praxis tests with satisfactory scores, you may submit applications for licensure and elementary education certification.

Before you can apply, though, you must register with Delaware Educator Data System (DEEDS). Once you have set up an account, you will be given access to the necessary applications. You can begin applying for jobs while your applications are pending and potential employers will be able to view your applicant information through DEEDS.

Carefully fill out your applications for both initial licensure and your subject area certification and send them to the following address:

Delaware Department of Education
Collette Education Resource Center
35 Commerce Way, Suite 1
Dover, DE 19904
ATTN: Certification

Make sure to include these items along with your application forms:

  • Official college transcripts, including documentation of teacher training program
  • Verification of student teaching or other applicable experience
  • Documentation of Praxis I and II scores (unless they are already on file with the DOE)
  • Photocopies of any currently held out-of-state or foreign certifications and/or licenses
  • Any applicable fees (fee information will be accessible once you sign up for a DEEDS account)

You may need to submit additional forms and information, especially if you received your education and/or experience outside of Delaware. See this page for a more comprehensive list of certification related documents.

Check the status of your application regularly, in case you are asked to submit any additional documentation.