STEM Teacher Education Program (NC STEP)

A globally competitive, knowledge-based economy is a fact of life for students—now and for the foreseeable future—and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are critical drivers in that economy.

To reduce a potentially crippling workforce knowledge gap and to ensure that all students gain STEM-related skills, North Carolina must fundamentally change approaches to teaching and make these disciplines accessible and relevant. The North Carolina STEM Teacher Education Program (NC STEP) provides an opportunity for those interested in mastering innovative approaches to STEM education that reach all students to successfully prepare them for the new economy. Additionally, the program makes it less cumbersome for talented individuals without teaching degrees to enter the classroom.

What is NC STEP?

An initiative of NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning, NC STEP is an alternative licensure program seeking lateral entry teachers, mid-career professionals and recent college graduates interested in becoming secondary science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) teachers. Administered by NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning and approved by the State Board of Education, this cost-free, non-traditional teacher prep program is supported by a federal Transition to Teaching grant. This program has also been selected as a partner in 100Kin10, a national multi-sector effort to increase the number of STEM teachers by 100,000 during the next 10 years, and has been approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education as an alternative route to teacher licensure.

Who can apply?

NC STEP is a teacher preparation and licensure program designed for a very specific audience. To be eligible, applicants must have at least a bachelor’s degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) related field and have an interest in teaching STEM related courses in a NC secondary school. Applicants who currently hold a lateral entry teaching license are encouraged to apply.

The application deadline has passed for 2015-2016 program.  For more information, contact George Ward at

How long will it take to complete the program?

The 13-month program of study consists of a team-centered mentoring approach with continuous instructional feedback. The program also includes concurrent participation in four online courses through WIDE World at Harvard Graduate School of Education, and participation in aligned seminars and professional learning workshops through NC New Schools. The internship option includes a school-based internship (18 hours per week). There is a three-year commitment to teach in an NC New Schools partner district as an alternatively licensed teacher.

Where will the program be conducted?

Any approved, high-need public secondary school within the NC New Schools/Breakthrough Learning’s network of partnership districts across North Carolina qualify. Please contact us to ensure your school is eligible.

More Information

Click here to request additional information about NC STEP.

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