Education Commission of the States is the trusted source for comprehensive knowledge and unbiased resources on education policy issues ranging from early learning through postsecondary education.


Subscribe to our publications and stay informed.

Request Assistance

Need more information? Contact one of our policy experts.

50-State Comparison: Teacher Leadership and Licensure Advancement 2018 (archive)

On the path to strengthen teacher pipelines, support excellent teaching and improve retention, many states have developed opportunities for teacher leadership and advancement. While most states offer advanced licenses to encourage ongoing learning and growth within the teaching profession, many are now also including supports and incentives to encourage more teachers to become leaders in their classrooms, schools and communities. Though district and school leaders drive teacher development and career progressions, state policymakers are creating structures and incentives to support high-quality systems.

Education Commission of the States researched teacher leadership and licensure advancement policies in all states. Click on the questions below for 50-State Comparisons showing how all states approach specific policies, current through September 2018. Or choose to view a specific state’s approach by going to the individual state profiles page.

  • NEW! Data Visualization: Click here to explore our data set through an interactive web interface.


Licensure advancement is the process by which teachers advance from one license tier to another after meeting established requirements. States commonly include input measures (such as obtaining an established number of years of classroom experience and completing additional coursework), as well as output measures (such as evidence of effective teaching), when setting requirements for licensure advancement.

Teacher leadership is the process by which teachers extend their impact — influencing colleagues, principals, members of school communities and beyond to improve teaching practices and support student learning. Leadership opportunities differ from one district or school to the next and often include serving as a mentor or coach to a new teacher, leading a teacher team, participating in school-level decision-making and vision-setting, and/or advocating for students and the profession at the local or state level.

Key Takeaways

  • Thirty states have a licensing system in place that allows teachers to advance beyond a standard professional license. In 17 of these states, teachers are required to demonstrate evidence of effectiveness, either in addition to or in place of other tasks, in order to obtain an advanced license.
  • Twenty-two states offer a teacher leader license or endorsement.
  • Seventeen states have adopted teacher leader standards; 13 states prescribe the role of the teacher leader in statute or regulation.
  • Twenty-four states provide formal supports and/or incentives to teacher leaders.

50-State Comparisons

  1. Does the state have a licensure system that allows teachers to advance beyond a standard professional license?
  2. What tasks and/or evidence of effectiveness are required for teachers to obtain an advanced license?
  3. Does the state offer a teacher leader license or endorsement?
  4. What tasks and/or evidence of effectiveness are required for teachers to obtain a teacher leader license/endorsement?
  5. Has the state adopted teacher leader standards?
  6. Does the state define the role (prescribe certain duties) of the teacher leader in statute or regulation?
  7. Does the state provide formal supports or incentives to teacher leaders?
  8. All data points for all states

Related Resources


Oct. 29, 2018

Education Level:

Resource Type:

More on This Issue

Copyright 2024 / Education Commission of the States. All rights reserved.