91 Killian Bldg. Ln., Suite 205
Cullowhee, NC 28723
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Alternative Licensure FAQs

Browse the following links for the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding alternative licensure. If you don't find the information you're looking for, please contact us with your questions.


Where do I begin?
After reviewing the Alternative Licensure Program descriptions and individual program requirements, the next step is to complete the online Eligibility/Pre-Evaluation form and submit one official copy of your transcripts. For more information about the application process, visit Apply to WCU Alternative Licensure.

How will I know what courses I need to take?  
The program coordinator  in the department to which you applied, through the completion of the online Eligibility/Pre-Evaluation form, will review your transcripts. Based on your transcript, you will be given an individual program plan listing the courses you need in order to earn a NC teaching license.


How long will it take to get a license?
The time it takes to get a license depends on your individualized program plan based on previous experience and your educational background.

When do I complete paperwork to apply for my teaching license?
Students must apply for a North Carolina teaching license in the last semester of the program. Applications are available at and a fee of $55.00 is required. Contact Barb Schade for more information on licensure. Upon completion of your licensure program, non-degree, you will be recommended for licensure.

Is financial aid available? 
Normal financial aid opportunities are available. Because you are working toward teacher certification, you also are eligible for student loans (indicate on your application that you are seeking teacher certification). In most cases, you must be fully admitted to a program within the university in order to receive financial aid from Western Carolina University. To be eligible for financial aid assistance students must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours (listed on plan of study) at WCU. • If your employer has a tuition reimbursement program, we encourage you to contact the human resources department at your place of employment to investigate those opportunities.
• Military students and their family members should contact the WCU Military Student Services at 828-227-7397 or email More information on the Troops/Spouses to Teachers Program can be found at: The North Carolina Troops to Teachers/Spouses to Teachers Coordinator can be reached at (888) 878-1600 or

More information about tuition and financial aid is available under Alternative LicensureTuition and Fees.

Do I need to take the GRE?
If you qualify to take graduate level courses, you are not required to take the GRE for teacher certification. After receiving your NC Standard Professional I license, you must meet departmental requirements before becoming a MAT candidate

How many courses may I enroll in?
Typically, if you are employed full-time, six hours or two three-credit hour classes is considered a heavy load. You should plan at least 10 hours a week for study in each course. Online courses require self-discipline and good time management. We want you to be successful.

What is considered full-time graduate studies?
9 hours is full-time for a graduate student. 

How will I register for my class(es)?
Registration Instructions: 
After being admitted to the Graduate School, your first step in the registration process should be to contact your adviser and discuss the classes you need. After communicating with your adviser, you can register through My Cat. N.B. Payment of tuition and fees is due quickly. Check your My Cat account.

1. Go to the WCU home page at
2. Select "My Cat" towards the top of the page.
3. Enter your 92 number as your username.
4. Enter your password. Your password is your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Initially, your PIN is set as 6 digits. It's either:
your 2-digit birth month, 2-digit birth year, followed by 00 (MMYY00) or
your 2-digit birth month, 2-digit birth date, 2-digit birth year (MMDDYY).
5. Click on "Personal Services" tab.
6. Click on the "Registration" link.
7. Click on "Add/Drop Classes."
8. Select the term and click "Submit."
9. Enter the CRN (five-digit course registration number) of the course(s) you wish to add in the Add Class table. (If you do not know the CRN, click on "Class Search" at the bottom of the page.)
10. Click "Submit Changes."

If you have problems logging in to My Cat please contact the IT Help Desk at 828-227-7487 or toll free at 866-928-7487. If you have problems registering for specific courses please contact your adviser or Distance Learning Student Services toll free at 866-928-4723.

How do I access an online course?

1. Go to OR from the WCU home page,, choose the Blackboard/WebCat link, then choose the key icon in the top righthand corner. 
2.  All students log into Blackboard/WebCat using your Catamount EMAIL username (e.g., If your email address is, then your username is "wcustudent") and your MyCat password (PIN). Do NOT use your 92# as your username to log into Blackboard/WebCat.

If you have problems logging in to My Cat, please contact the IT Help Desk at 828-227-7487 or toll free at 866-928-7487. 

How do I pay for my books?  Where do I pick them up?
Books may be purchased online through the University Bookstore: The bookstore has been set up as a secure server site. If you do not wish to pay by credit card, you may contact Pam Bryson at 1-866-272-4102. Your textbooks will be shipped via UPS and should arrive at your doorstep within 48 hours of your order. Resident students taking courses in Cullowhee will pick up their books at the WCU bookstore. If you are taking courses at UNC-A, the bookstore is located in Karpen Hall, room 102-A.

What do I do if I have to withdraw from my courses?
Contact the OneStop Center immediately at 828-227-7334 for assistance with course drops and withdrawals. Remember: communication is important.  Don’t just stop attending or stop signing into your online class. Let the OneStop help you process your drop/withdrawal so that when you are ready to return to WCU, you can do so easily. Keep in mind that non-action will result in a failing grade

How will I get a teaching job? 
You are responsible for finding a teaching job. We will make every effort to inform you of job fairs and opportunities. It is recommended that you apply to all school systems where you are willing to work. When you apply you should indicate that you are seeking a lateral entry position. Western's teacher education program is highly respected in this region so be sure to mention that you are in this program.

What are the qualifications for lateral entry teaching?
The Department of Public Instruction, based on the policies and procedures adopted by the State Board of Education, issues North Carolina teaching licenses. An alternate route to teaching in NC allows you to obtain a position and begin teaching right away without any prior teacher training or experience; this route is known as "lateral entry." For more information, check out Becoming a Lateral Entry Teacher.


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