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Educator Licensure Services

Educator licensure becomes more complex every year, and the School of Education and Human Sciences does everything they can to help KU students and alumni understand the requirements and process for attaining licensure through the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), as well as in other states.

Educator Licensure Verification

Individuals who need to have “verification” or “recommendation” forms completed by KU should email a PDF scan of these forms to the School’s licensure officer (contact info below).

Individuals should include a note with any prior last names (if applicable) and a current email address. Allow up to two weeks for processing. Information about official KU transcripts can be found at the Office of the University Registrar’s web site.

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Programs for Licensure Endorsement

Educator Licensure Exams

Educational Testing Service (ETS) offers the standardized exams required for educator licensure in Kansas. Review the information on the ETS web site.

All ETS exams are electronic and the schedule varies. 6871 is the recipient code for the School of Education & Human Sciences at the University of Kansas. Please include your full social security number on the registration, which will help us to match your score with your KU records.

Individuals are able to download their score report roughly four weeks after the exam, and scores are available for 10 years. There are variety of recommended test preparation materials available on the ETS web site. Passing scores are required to be “highly qualified.”

Students who cannot take (or did not pass) their licensure exams may apply for a temporary nonrenewable license in most cases. ETS test fee waivers are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and testing accommodations can be made with documentation of disability, health-related needs or if English is not your primary language. More information can be found on the Praxis web site.

Background Checks, Fingerprinting & Legal Issues

Applicants applying for their first educator license must be fingerprinted for a KBI/FBI background check. Detailed instructions for completing this task can be found on the KSDE website. It is recommend to get fingerprinted one to three months prior to applying for educator licensure. Individuals with legal issues (criminal records related to drugs, theft or crimes involving children) should review detailed information (pdf).

Applying for Educator Licensure in Kansas

Students who finish an educator preparation program at KU will receive instructions from the School about how to apply online for licensure. After academic grades are posted, students should allow two weeks for processing licensure applications at KU. Processing at KSDE takes four to eight weeks. KSDE no longer prints nor mails educator licenses. Individuals will print their own license using the Educator License Look-Up resource.

Exam Requirements for Initial Educator Licensure

In the final year of their teacher preparation program, KU students take the required subject area exam(s), which is required for licensure in Kansas. Exam information for the state of Kansas can be found on the ETS web site.

We strongly recommend that most new teachers graduating in May take the subject exam(s) between October and January of their final year. This allows time to receive scores and time to schedule a re-take if necessary. Passing scores are required to be "highly qualified."

Exam Requirements for Add-On Licensure Endorsement

Licensed teachers may add a licensure endorsement in two ways:

  1. By completing an approved licensure endorsement program at KU and passing the appropriate ETS subject exam. Individuals should review instructions for applicants and apply online through the KSDE web site; or
  2. By passing a subject exam. For example, a physics teacher might be able to pass the mathematics exam, so they could teach both. Note that this option applies to all content areas except for elementary, elementary unified, unified early childhood, reading specialist, special education, or educational administration. As of 1/1/2025, adding TESOL will require both the subject exam and two specific courses. Reach out to the licensure officer for more information. Individuals should review instructions for applicants and apply online through the KSDE web site.

Other Educator Licensure Options

There are two kinds of substitute licenses in Kansas. An "Emergency Substitute" only requires 60 hours of college credit; a "Standard Sub" requires completion of a full teacher preparation program. Information about applying for an emergency sub license is below:

  1. Apply online for an Emergency Substitute license through the KLAS system and pay the application fee. The application requires an official college transcript, which you will order from the Registrar’s office. Processing time at KSDE is usually 4-6 weeks after all materials have been received.
  2. KSDE requires a background clearance. You can find instructions at the Kansas State Department of Education site, under Licensure, Fingerprint Information. Keep in mind that processing takes about 3-4 weeks.
  3. You may start applying for emergency-substitute jobs while you wait to receive the license. Most districts have online job applications; the process typically includes interviews and a few hours of training before your first day of work. Many local districts (Lawrence, Eudora, Bonner Springs, Tonganoxie and KC area) use Morgan Hunter, a staffing agency, so please visit their web site too.
  4. The best time to apply for jobs and the e-sub license is July thru November; your first e-sub license will expire June 30 so it doesn’t make sense to apply for this license in late spring.
  5. Students who complete a teacher education program and apply for the regular “Initial” license will be able to substitute with that Initial license; they will not need to apply for a separate “Substitute” license and they typically earn about $20-30 more per day with the Initial license. IF you are a KU student finishing your Initial licensure program in December and want to sub or teach right away in January, we recommend you file the e-sub application sometime August – October, so you have the e-sub license by late December.

It’s important to understand that each state has its own application process and requirements. KU’s educator preparation programs are designed to meet licensure requirements in Kansas and are KSDE-accredited. We are also CAEP-accredited, a member of the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, and the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact. It is recommended that our program completers apply for the Kansas license first (even if planning to move/teach out-of-state). This establishes a record with KSDE and eases the application process in most other states. The majority of states actually mandate that the individual hold a license from the state in which they completed their educator preparation program before they will issue a license.

Please see our Licensure Disclosures page for more information, and reach out to KU’s licensure officer if you have questions.

KSDE allows a school district to hire a licensed teacher in special education as soon as they start special education coursework. To qualify, the individual must:

  1. Hold a current teaching license in Kansas;
  2. Be admitted to the special education program appropriate to their job assignment; and
  3. Be currently enrolled in at least one course with a plan to finish in three years. Reach out to our licensure officer (robinsonm@ku.edu) for more information.

Renewing A Kansas License

Renewals are processed directly through KSDE, as they have become more complicated in recent years and requirements will vary depending on whether a license is current or expired, and  whether the individual has been teaching or not. 

Individuals should consult with their employer, local school district, Professional Development Council (PDC), or a licensure consultant at KSDE for information on licensure renewal.

If the individual has not taught recently, they may be required to complete eight credit hours earned in the past six years. Courses should be in an area for which the individual plans to seek an added licensure endorsement. For more information about renewals, reach out to KSDE directly and/or review the information.

Joseph R. Pearson Hall
Joseph R. Pearson Hall
1122 West Campus Rd.
Lawrence , Kansas 66045