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Getting Certified in Rhode Island

Learn about the options for entering the education profession in Rhode Island.

The RI Approved Program Pathway allows individuals to enroll and complete certificate area programs with an in-state educator preparation provider.

This pathway:

Future RI educators should utilize the Educator Preparation Index to better understand the performance and outcomes of recent graduates.

Narrative reports about each provider will be made public in 2016.

The Credential Review Pathway allows eligible individuals to pursue RI certification by following a differentiated program of study (determined by a consortium institution or RIDE). RIDE conducts credential review in a limited number of certificate areas.

Questions regarding the process associated with the Consortium Credential Review should be directed to the institutions.

This pathway:

  • leads to meeting RI requirements for full certification
  • may be pursued through either the Credential Review Consortium Institution (CRCI) or RIDE Credential Review
  • allows educators to pursue customized programs of study based on their experience
  • requires compliance with current RI certification requirements, including RI testing requirements
  • works alongside preliminary certificates

Educators pursuing this pathway should follow the steps below:  

  1. Reach out to the point of contact from an approved CRCI intitution
  2. Review results from the Credential Review
  3. Decide and take action

Educators seeking reinstatement of a certificate that expired more than 10 years ago should pursue this pathway.

To determine whether the Consortium or RIDE is the appropriate route,
review the CRCI Contacts and Certificate Area Listing [PDF, 454KB]

RIDE Credential Review Information

RIDE Credential review is offered in a limited number of certificate areas. Please review the CRCI Area Listing above. Some educators may seek RIDE Credential Review for the following scenarios:

  • Currently certified Secondary Grades educators seeking an additional Secondary Grades certificate may apply for RIDE Credential Review.
  • Currently certified All Grades educators seeking an additional All Grades certificate may apply for RIDE Credential Review.
  • Credential Review Educator Profiles

Reciprocity allows individuals who completed a state approved out-of-state preparation program or who hold valid full out-of-state certificates to pursue RI certification where similar certificate areas exist.

This pathway:

  • leads to full RI certification
  • recognizes state approved program completers from outside of Rhode Island
  • recognizes full and aligned out-of-state certificates
  • requires compliance with current RI testing requirements Changes to certification tests effective June 1, 2022

NEW!! Expansion of Inter-State Flexibility Agreement

Effective 9/24/2020 RIDE has expanded the number of states eligible for RI inter-state flexibilities, allowing out of state certified educators and program completers a streamlined process to certification. Educators from the sixteen (16) states listed below who hold valid RI like certificates or have completed state approved programs in RI like certificate areas are exempt from taking the RI required tests and are not held to experience requirements (if applicable). However, if RI requires a specific certificate (independent certificate) in order to be eligible for a second certificate (dependent certificate) this requirement remains the same. 

States with Inter-State Flexibility
Connecticut Georgia New Hampshire Pennsylvania
Delaware Maine New Jersey South Carolina
District of Columbia Maryland New York Vermont
Florida Massachusetts North Carolina Virginia

If you are a certified educator or have completed an educator preparation program from a state other than these 16 states, read more information below regarding reciprocity requirements for Rhode Island certification. Prior to applying through this pathway, review your credentials to ensure you qualify. National interstate agreements may also be found online through the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC.)

  • Out-of-State Preparation Program Completer
  • Out-of-State Certificate Holder

Preliminary Certificates allow individuals to seek and secure employment while pursuing the requirements for full RI certification.

This pathway:

  • allows educators to work in RI
  • has unique requirements for renewal
  • may be completed in conjunction with another RI pathway

APPLY ONLINE! You may apply for any of the following preliminary certificates.

Go to RIDE Portal to start your application.

Awarded to educators Tools
Alternate Route*
  • enrolled in a RI approved alternate route preparation program
  • who have been offered a position in a district to serve as an educator of record
Career and Technical Education (CTE)
  • who have a high school diploma and have demonstrated appropriate work experience
School Nurse Teacher (SNT)
  • who have met the preliminary requirements for the certificate
Temporary Initial
  • who seek certification through reciprocity but have not yet met RI testing requirements
Expert Residency
(effective 1/1/2015)
  • who have demonstrated subject matter proficiency, and have met other coursework or experience requirements
(effective 1/1/2015)
  • who have distinctive qualifications and unique capacity to enhance educational programs
  • have been offered a position in a RI LEA

*Initiated by approved alternate route programs and may be renewed one time
**Initiated by a Rhode Island LEA


We are excited to share a new pathway that opens up opportunities for experienced teacher leaders (10 years or more) to become building level administrators. This is an additional way for educators to work towards full Building Level Administrator certification, allowing them to serve in the principal role within their district at the same time if necessary. An overview of the requirements and guidelines, as well as supporting documents and applications, can be found on this page.

Am I eligible for the Fast-Track Principal Expert Residency Preliminary Certificate or the Building Level Administrator PK-12 Fast-Track Certificate?

Comparison (Differences in BOLD) Fast-Track Principal Expert Residency Preliminary Certificate Building Level Administrator PK-12 Fast-Track Certificate
Experience Minimum of ten (10) years of experience as a teacher or support professional Minimum of ten (10) years of experience as a teacher or support professional
Evaluation Ratings Highly Effective or Effective Highly Effective or Effective
Degree Holds a Master’s degree or higher Holds a Master’s degree or higher
Internship N/A Completion of a year-long, minimum of three hundred (300) hours, internship where currently employed
Leadership Consistent leadership within the LEA Consistent leadership within the LEA AND has led a district or school-wide initiative
Coursework/Test School finance, school law, and program evaluation OR test School finance, school law, and program evaluation AND test
Renewal Employer Recommendation based on performance and progress (Must complete coursework or test and internship during renewal cycles) *3 renewals During the first renewal cycle, individuals must complete a RIDE-approved leadership development program

Applications and Requirements

Additional Resources


Foreign Credentials

Applicants seeking certification on the basis of foreign (non-U.S.) coursework and/or diplomas must provide the Office of Educator Quality and Certification with a detailed equivalency report or course-by-course evaluation of any college-level credit completed.

Independent evaluations must be made by one of the nationally recognized agencies approved by NACES® or by a RIDE-approved vendor.

NACES is an association of independent, nongovernmental organizations which provide credential evaluation services to individuals who have completed part or all their education outside the United States.

You can view a listing of vendors that are approved by RIDE to evaluate foreign credentials.

If you are a vendor and wish to apply to be a RIDE approved Foreign Credential agency, please complete the application and submit to eqac@ride.ri.gov

Certification Endorsement

Provider Applications and Approval 

On December 4, 2018, the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education approved updated educator certification regulations that include endorsements. While RIDE does not require endorsements for school assignments, adding an endorsement to current, existing, and valid Rhode Island certificate(s) is designed to expand and recognize an educator's specialty area expertise. 

RIDE accepts applications, annually, from providers who are interested in offering a professional learning series or courses that will lead to an approved endorsement in one of the following areas:  


The Endorsement application window is open from December 15, 2022 and will remain open until January 31, 2023. 

The Literacy/Dyslexia Endorsement application has been revised to ensure alignment with Rhode Island's Right to Read Act legislation expectations. The Right to Read Act expectations require rigorous and intensive study of the Science of Reading and Structured Literacy. As a result, all educators who complete a program from a RIDE approved Literacy/Dyslexia Provider will meet the expectations for proficiency within the Right to Read Act legislation. Please see the Rhode Island Right to Read Act page for additional information and guidance on proficiency and awareness requirements for educators.  

International Teacher

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) promotes the sponsorship of J-1 visas, enabling certified out-of-country PK-12 teachers to temporarily work in Rhode Island public schools. As an LEA, you have the opportunity to host certified international teachers of diverse national backgrounds within your district. International teachers can help fill shortage areas while increasing participation in cross-cultural activities in your schools and communities and enhancing Rhode Island students’ knowledge and value of foreign cultures and customs. Interested LEAs should contact the following RIDE-approved J-1 Visa sponsors.

J-1 Visa Teacher Sponsor Application

The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) promotes the sponsorship of J-1 visas, enabling certified out-of-country PK-12 teachers to temporarily work in Rhode Island public schools. Providers applying to be RIDE- approved J-1 teacher visa partners must complete this application.

As a designated sponsor, you will make available qualified foreign teachers of diverse national backgrounds, increase participation in cross-cultural activities in our schools and communities and enhance Rhode Island students’ knowledge of foreign cultures and customs.

Please allow 4-6 weeks for application review. Providers will receive a letter indicating their approval status.