How to Become a Teacher in North Dakota

Learn how to become a teacher in North Dakota. Browse salaries, careers, and educational requirements.

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by Stefanie Grodman

Updated June 10, 2022

Reviewed by Dr. Samantha Fecich

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How to Become a Teacher in North Dakota
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Teaching can be a fulfilling career for those who enjoy working with children. They can share their enthusiasm for academic subjects with these young learners.

In North Dakota, all K-12 teachers who wish to work in the state's public school systems must hold a state-issued teacher's license.

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Ready to start your journey?

To earn teaching certification in North Dakota, all prospective educators must have a bachelor's degree. This includes the completion of a state-approved educator preparation program, with a 10-week student-teaching requirement.

After completing their education, teaching professionals must pass their Praxis exams. They also must undergo mandatory fingerprinting and background checks before applying for licensure.

According to the North Dakota Career Resource Network, secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $56,610. Middle school teachers earn $61,040, and special education teachers in elementary schools earn $62,660.

Nationally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that between 2020 and 2030, the number of jobs for elementary school, high school, and special education teachers will each grow by 7-8%. This is on par with the 8% projected job growth rate for all U.S. occupations.

How Do I Become a Teacher in North Dakota?

All K-12 teachers in North Dakota public schools must hold a license that corresponds with their grade level and area of specialization. These include licenses for elementary education, secondary education, and for special content areas like music and foreign language.

At the beginning of their education careers, North Dakota teachers can earn a two-year probationary license. After 18 months of full-time teaching, these educators are eligible to apply for a five-year license. They can renew on five-year intervals after completing six semester hours of professional development.

After 30 years of full-time teaching and six semester hours of professional development, late-career teachers are eligible to earn a 30-Year Life License, which does not require intermittent renewal.

Educators from other states must undergo a transcript analysis and can teach with an Out-of-State Reciprocal License in North Dakota.

Meet Minimum Education Requirements

To apply for licensure, aspiring North Dakota teachers must complete a Board of Education-approved teacher preparation program.

These programs consist of both the general course requirements of a traditional bachelor's in education and professional training components designed to prepare educators for licensure, such as student teaching.

Exact course requirements are determined by the grade level an educator intends to teach or whether they wish to teach a specific subject, such a foreign language, computer education, art, music, or physical education.

All licensed educators in North Dakota must complete both an approved Native American studies course and a mental health competency course.

While preparing for licensure, future educators must earn an overall GPA of 2.5.

Minimum Requirements:

Gain Student-Teaching Experience

Teachers in North Dakota must complete a student-teaching experience. These future educators learn skills such as classroom management, curriculum planning, and instruction methods. Student teaching is a full-time immersive commitment and takes place over a minimum of 10 consecutive weeks.

Individuals get student-teaching placement through their college educator preparation program. Throughout the experience, student teachers work alongside licensed educators who serve as mentors. Student teachers also report to a supervising college faculty member who assesses their performance and provides guidance.

Pass Required Certification Tests

To earn a teaching certification in North Dakota, all educators must take a series of standardized tests to verify that their academic knowledge and capabilities are adequate to teach.

The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam is designed to assess fundamental reading, writing, and math abilities. In North Dakota, test-takers must meet at least the minimum score requirements. There are versions of this exam available for different licensure areas, such as:

Aspiring educators must also take the Praxis Subject Assessments that correspond with their grade level and subject of choice, including, but not limited to:

Apply for Certification

To apply for licensure in North Dakota, educators must submit their undergraduate transcripts as proof of a completed bachelor's degree and teacher preparation program.

They must also submit letters of recommendation from faculty supervisors, Praxis exam scores, fingerprinting and background check documentation, and a formal application.

Educators can submit these materials through ND Teach, and they must pay a $30 initial application fee and a $75 processing fee.

How Do I Maintain Teaching Certification in North Dakota?

After earning an initial teacher's license, educators in North Dakota must intermittently renew their license to maintain active certification.

Early-career teachers can upgrade their initial "probationary license" to a five-year license after 18 months of full-time teaching. Those who do not complete the 18 months of teaching experience before their license's expiration date can simply renew their two-year probationary license.

Individuals who hold a five-year license must renew this credential every five years and take part in six semester hours of professional development coursework. Teachers can submit their applications for renewal through ND Teach.

They should start the application process six months before their certifications expire to allow for processing time.

Career Outlook for Teachers in North Dakota

North Dakota is currently experiencing a significant teacher shortage. As of the 2019-2020 school year, there has been a shortage of licensed educators in all grade levels and academic areas.

This gives licensed educators an opportunity to launch their teaching careers in North Dakota. Salary potential depends heavily on the school district you work in and your experience level.

Although earning a master's degree in education is not required, a relevant graduate degree can help teachers compete for positions in higher-paying districts. A master's degree also may qualify educators to work in administrative positions or other leadership roles.

Below are job descriptions and average salaries:

Special Education Teacher — Elementary

These educators work with K-5 students with a variety of learning needs. They may lead smaller classes, accompany students in general education, or work with children individually. Special education teachers collaborate with school social workers, parents, and other educators to create plans to meet students' learning needs.

North Dakota Average Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $60,430

Elementary School Teacher

These professionals work with K-5 students in a classroom setting. They oversee children's academic, social, and emotional development. Elementary school teachers cover fundamental subjects, such as language arts, reading, math, spelling, social studies, and science.

North Dakota Average Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $55,940

Physical Education Teacher

Physical education teachers instruct students in sports and fitness-related activities. Through an activity-oriented curriculum, these educators promote cooperation, physical fitness, and healthy lifestyle choices while overseeing students' safety.

U.S. Average Annual Salary (as of February 2022): $47,680

Secondary School Teachers

Secondary school teachers work with students in grades 9-12. These educators must have a highly developed understanding of their respective subject areas. They often take students' postsecondary readiness or standardized test performances into account when developing curricula.

North Dakota Average Annual Salary (as of May 2021): $56,090

Career and Technical Education Teachers

These educators conduct and design courses to help high school students learn the fundamental skills of a trade or vocation. Like traditional secondary educators, technical education teachers plan grade-level-appropriate lessons, activities, and assessments. They must also strictly enforce safety protocols. Their lessons often integrate hands-on components of skills like welding or carpentry.

North Dakota Average Annual Salary: $60,440

Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching Certification in North Dakota

How do I get teaching certification in North Dakota?

To qualify for a teaching certification in North Dakota, you have to earn a bachelor's degree, completing a state-approved educator preparation program. This program requires at least 10 weeks of full-time student teaching. Faculty supervisors will then recommend educators who fulfill these requirements for licensure.

Prospective educators must also pass the The Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam and any necessary Praxis Subject Assessments. Before applying for licensure, aspiring teachers must also complete a fingerprint card and pass both state and federal background checks.

Can I teach in North Dakota without certification?

To teach in North Dakota public schools, you must earn a state-issued teaching license.

Those without full certification may be able to find work in certain private schools in the state. They may also work as preschool teachers or teacher's assistants or aides.

Some individuals who already work in the education field may pursue a more streamlined route to certification through an Alternate Access License. This credential, designed to more efficiently fill teaching positions in shortage areas, allows educators to complete coursework while working.

How long does it take to become a teacher in North Dakota?

A bachelor's degree in education program typically takes full-time students four years to complete. After graduation, individuals can apply for licensure. It can take several weeks for applications and background checks to process.

Often, educator preparation programs have more requirements than traditional bachelor's degrees, such as student teaching. Some students may not be able to complete all their requirements in that four-year timeframe. Many times, these individuals take an extra semester or two to complete all the necessary requirements.

What can I do with teaching certification in North Dakota?

Licensed teachers in the state are typically qualified to work in North Dakota public school systems in the subjects and grade levels that correspond with their licensure areas.

Teachers usually choose concentrations or tracks within their educator preparation programs that correspond with their intended grade level or area of specialization.

In North Dakota, educators can be licensed in early childhood education, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, elementary education, and secondary education. They can also pursue content areas like physical education, foreign languages, music, and art.

How do I become a substitute teacher in North Dakota?

Individuals interested in substitute teaching in North Dakota can earn a two-year interim substitute license. This credential allows substitute teachers to work in K-12 classrooms in all North Dakota public schools.

To qualify for this certification, candidates must have completed at least 48 semester hours of college coursework.

Applicants also must pass a background check and pay an $85 application fee. Some school districts may have their own staffing requirements. And certain schools may require substitutes to hold at least an associate or bachelor's degree.

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