How to Become a Teacher in North Dakota

How to Become a Teacher in North Dakota

Aspiring educators beginning their journey of becoming a teacher in North Dakota must first earn a bachelor's degree. They will also need to enroll and graduate from a teacher preparation program. Most educators in North Dakota complete their teacher preparation program at their undergraduate institution. All new educators will also need to pass the appropriate Praxis tests and complete a Native American Studies course.

The North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) handles all applications for licensure.

North Dakota Teacher Preparation Programs

North Dakota has approved twelve higher educational institutions to offer teacher preparation programs. The following institutions offer state-approved programs:

  • Dickinson State University
  • Mayville State University
  • United Tribes Technical College
  • University of Jamestown
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of Mary
  • Minot State University
  • North Dakota State University
  • Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College
  • Sitting Bull College
  • Trinity Bible College
  • Turtle Mountain Community College
  • Valley City State University

In 2016 the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) entered into a partnership with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP approval ensures a high standard across the state for teacher certification programs.

Many of the aforementioned schools operate on the bachelor's level, but some do offer master's degrees that lead to certification.

North Dakota Teacher Education Requirements

North Dakota requires educators to have majored in a teachable subject during their bachelor's degree. Their program must also offer a general studies coursework component, as well as an educational professional studies class. Prospective teachers looking to become an elementary school teacher will need to complete thirty-four semester hours of professional education. If they are looking to become a secondary school teacher, they will need to complete twenty-six semester hours of professional education.

North Dakota requires educators to complete at least ten weeks of student teaching. This student teaching must correlate directly to the endorsement area and grade level they intend to seek certification in.

Teachers must graduate with greater than a 2.5 GPA.

While coursework requirements will vary between programs and the aspiring teacher's intended grade level, all new educators must complete a Native American Studies course. In 2021 North Dakota passed a law that requires school districts to teach Native American history in K-12 classrooms annually. By 2025 Native American history will be a requirement for graduation, so it is therefore imperative that educators are knowledgeable on the subject themselves.

North Dakota Teacher Testing Requirements

North Dakota educators must pass the Praxis Core. Passing scores on the Praxis Core exam for North Dakota are 173 in Reading, 173 in Praxis Core Writing, and 170 in mathematics.

Educators will also need to achieve Praxis passing scores on the appropriate Praxis Subject Assessments or Praxis II exams.

These Praxis test requirements must be completed by the time of application.

Additional Requirements for North Dakota Educators

Anyone seeking a teaching license in North Dakota must pass a state and federal criminal background check. They will also need to submit fingerprinting for the background check. They can request a fingerprinting card from the ESPB. They may also go to a local police station to complete this requirement.

It may take up to three weeks to process a background check.

North Dakota Teacher Licensing Application Process

Potential teachers will need to access the ND Teach portal when applying for their North Dakota teaching license. They will complete their application online by submitting the following documents:

  • Completed ND Teach application form
  • A non-refundable fee
  • Fingerprint card for criminal background checks
  • Official transcripts from all higher educational institutions they have attended
  • Verification of completion of a state-approved teacher preparation program
  • Praxis exam passing scores
  • Letters of recommendation from teaching mentors

The state of North Dakota will review each application within eight weeks of submission.

Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification in North Dakota

North Dakota has created two primary alternative routes to licensure: the Alternate Pathway License and the Alternate Access License.

The Alternate Pathway License - American Board allows the individual to enroll in an online teacher preparation course. This course is an accelerated program that guides new educators to licensure with an experienced mentor while they teach. This program is called the American Board and is approved as an alternate pathway by the EPSB. The EPSB has approved a few online accelerated programs, including the Certification Central program. While these programs are mostly online, prospective teachers will still need to meet the ten-week student teaching requirement during their program.

The Alternate Access License is only granted to individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in a teaching endorsement area of critical need. The school board will need to request this license and prove that there are no other qualified candidates. The aspiring teacher will need to submit a plan to the school board that details how they intend on meeting the requirements for full licensure.

Educators who are operating with alternative licenses must still pass all of the appropriate Praxis tests for North Dakota educators.

Teacher Reciprocity in North Dakota

Educators who hold a valid teaching license in good standing in a different state are eligible to apply for a teaching license in North Dakota. North Dakota encourages educators to earn a teaching license in the state that the teacher preparation course was completed. This would make you eligible for the OSEL.

While North Dakota is a member of the NASDTEC interstate agreement, out-of-state teachers will still need to undergo a transcript review. If they have not met the Native American Studies coursework requirement, they can teach under the Out-Of-State Reciprocal license while they work to complete any deficiencies.

Tiered Teaching Licenses in North Dakota

North Dakota operates on a tiered teaching license system.

Initial In-State License: Issued to all new educators who have met all of North Dakota's requirements. Valid for two years.

Two-Year Renewal: This license is intended for individuals who have less than eighteen months of teaching experience and who have completed all of the requirements for the probationary license.

First Five-Year License: This license is designed for educators who have met all of the requirements for the North Dakota Professional License and have more or equal to eighteen months of teaching experience in North Dakota. This license is valid for five years

Five-Year Renewal License: To apply for this license, teachers must hold the First-Five year license and have completed six hours of re-education. This license is valid for five years.

Alternate Access License: This license is designed for individuals who do not hold a traditional teaching license but have completed their bachelor's degree in a teachable content area. This license is requested by the local school board in areas of extreme need. The individual holding the alternate access license is expected to work towards licensure in the three years that this license is valid.

Initial Alternate Pathway License - American Board: This license is designed for individuals who have met the requirements for the American Board of North Dakota licensure. This license is valid for two years.

Out-of-State Reciprocal Licensure: This license is intended for individuals who have completed a bachelor's degree and a teacher preparation program out-of-state. The EPSB will conduct a transcript review. These individuals will need to meet the requirements for North Dakota licensure. They will be able to complete testing requirements within four years from the day the license was approved.

Other State Educator License (OSEL): This license is for educators who hold an out-of-state teaching license. If they have not passed any state-required exams within the last two years, they will have two years to complete the required Praxis exam(s) for North Dakota licensure. There will be no additional requirements.

Thirty-Year Life License: Teachers who have held a North Dakota teaching license for thirty years and meet all of the requirements for their current license may apply for the thirty-year life license. This license never expires.

Substitute Teaching Licenses in North Dakota

Individuals applying to be a substitute teacher in North Dakota will need to provide the following:

  • Official transcripts that document at least forty-eight hours of college-level coursework
  • Background check completed with the ESPB
  • Completed online application
  • $85 non-refundable fee

A substitute teaching license in North Dakota is valid for two years and will expire on the applicant's birthday. The applicant will be eligible to substitute in any K-12 classroom.

North Dakota Teacher Salary and Outlook

Public school educators in North Dakota on average earn $56,072. As they gain more experience, they will see a rise in their salary. Many public schools in North Dakota are small and rural. In districts like Fargo, the base pay will typically be higher.

North Dakota has a wide range of districts. The largest district is in Fargo, which is home to twenty-two schools and eight hundred and twenty-six educators. On the other end of the spectrum is Bowbells 14, which has two schools and ten educators.

Many school districts in North Dakota currently have a variety of openings for elementary and secondary school educators. Educators who specialize in math and science are in the most need.

Expert Contributor

Nadim Tabsch

Nadim Tabsch is an adjunct English professor with over 15 years of experience. He has deep expertise in Literacy and Social Sciences and has been an educator at the elementary, middle school, high school, and collegiate level. Nadim graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education from Barry University and a Master's degree in Literacy from the University of New England.

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