North Dakota Teaching License Guide


How To Become a Teacher in North Dakota

For those wondering how to become a teacher in North Dakota, all licensing, preparation programs, and professional development are governed by the North Dakota Education and Standards and Practices Board (ESPB).

To receive a North Dakota teaching license, candidates must have at least an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. This requirement also includes the completion of an educator preparation program.

The Initial In-State License is a two-year North Dakota teacher certification issued to those who have met all of the requirements for licensure. To get a North Dakota teaching license with a degree in a subject area other than education, the ESPB offers the Alternative Access License.

How To Get a North Dakota Teaching License

Knowing how to get a North Dakota teaching license includes understanding the certifications the ESPB offers to candidates. Here are the most common ones:

  • Initial In-State License - a two-year certification for those just completing their educator preparation program and degree.
  • First Five Year License - for those with completed certification requirements and who have been teaching in the classroom for at least 18 months.
  • Five Year Renewal License - for those with a current Five Year License and under a teaching contract for at least 30 days.
  • Interim Substitute License - a North Dakota substitute teaching license for those who have at least 48 hours of college credit (valid for two years).

North Dakota Teacher Preparation Programs

Candidates who want to know how to become a teacher in North Dakota must be prepared to complete a teacher preparation program. A few state-approved educational institutions that offer such programs:

  • Dickinson State University - the School of Education offers an educational program and Bachelor's Degree programs in Elementary Education and Technology Education.
  • North Dakota State University - the School of Education offers 14 different degree programs in Secondary Education and three in K-12 Education including Art, Music, and Physical Education.
  • University of North Dakota - the Department of Education several undergrad and many advanced degree programs.
  • University of Jamestown - the Teacher Education Program offers Elementary Licensure, Secondary Licensure, and K-12 in specific area programs.

North Dakota Teacher Educational Requirements

For candidates to earn a North Dakota teacher certification, they must complete at least a Bachelor's degree program and an educator preparation program. Candidates should check with their future college or university to ensure that they meet the requirements and are state-approved.

A North Dakota teaching license requires coursework relevant to the candidate's chosen field. This means that applicants must check with both the ESPB website and the educational institution to ensure they are taking the required courses.

As in most other states, candidates are required to complete a certain amount of classroom observation hours as part of the preparation program. Near the end of their degree program, students should serve as a student-teacher working under an experienced certified teacher.

Praxis North Dakota Exam Requirements

Depending on the grade level and content area the candidate is pursuing, the Praxis North Dakota requirements may vary.

Required exams for prospective educators are:

  • Praxis I, or the Core Academic Skills for Educators (Reading, Writing, Math)
  • Praxis II, or the Subject Area exams (in the chosen content area)
  • Principals of Teaching and Learning, or PLT (specific grades and content levels)

Candidates who already have at least an undergraduate degree in another subject area can choose to take an alternative teacher certification program.

North Dakota Praxis Core Academic Skills

To earn a North Dakota teacher certification, candidates must take and pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam. This test includes three sections (reading, writing, and mathematics). Candidates must meet the Praxis passing scores in all the three sections or receive a composite score of 466. This means that test-takers can score below the qualifying score in a section as long as they meet a minimum total score.

The various scores for the Praxis Core Academic Skills exam are:

Praxis Exam
Questions Format Time to Test
Reading 156 149 56 Selected-Response 85 minutes
Writing 160 153 40 Selected-Response
2 Essay Questions
100 minutes total
Mathematics 150 143 56 Selected-Response or
90 minutes

Praxis II Exam

Subject area exams for North Dakota teacher certification include:

  • Early Childhood: requires Praxis II Early Childhood Education 5025, which includes 120 selected-response questions given over a period of two hours.
  • Elementary Education: requries the Elementary Education: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment exam, which has 120 selected-response questions given in 130 minutes.
  • Middle School Education: requires the test for the desired middle school subject area The number of questions, format, and time allotment varies.
  • Secondary School Education: exact exams depend on the content area and number/type of questions and time allotment vary.

Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT)

Candidates seeking a North Dakota teaching license in Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School, or Secondary education will have to pass the Principles of Learning and Teaching, or PLT, exam.

The PLT exam is designed for candidates to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the areas of instruction, assessment, and professional practices and takes two hours to complete. The PLT contains 70 selected-response questions and four constructed response questions.

Additional North Dakota Teacher Certification Requirements

North Dakota teacher certification requirements include fingerprints taken at an authorized location such as a sheriff or police department. The ESPB will conduct a background check as well through the BCI and FBI. Candidates should expect this step to take around three weeks or longer to complete.

North Dakota Teaching Application Process

A teaching application can be completed as soon as other criteria are met. Candidates should submit required documents such as official transcripts, background check information, fingerprint cards, and test scores.

Candidates should complete their application with ND Teach along with a $30 application fee. They will also need to pay for their Initial In-State License fee, which is $75.

Alternative Path(s) for a North Dakota Teacher Certification

While many individuals take the traditional route to a North Dakota teacher certification, there are others who decide later in life to go into education. The ESPB has made the process as seamless as possible by developing an alternative path to becoming an educator in the state.

The Alternate Access License is issued to those candidates who have at least an undergraduate degree in an area of shortage within a North Dakota school district. This process requires a request from a school district that has the shortage.

The Alternate Access License is good for three years during which the teacher must be working toward earning their coursework from an accredited college or university.

North Dakota Teaching Certification for Out-of-State Licenses

Out-of-State educators who want a North Dakota teaching license should follow the ESPB instructions. Depending on the status of the teaching license from the other state, the ESPB will work to ensure all requirements are met.

North Dakota participates in the NASDTEC, or National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification Interstate Agreement. Therefore, educators from other states can earn their North Dakota teaching license subject to certain coursework and testing.

For those who have completed a teacher preparation program in another state but have not earned their certification, the ESPB may issue them an Out-of-State Reciprocal License, which is valid for two years. This allows them time to complete any requirements needed to earn their North Dakota teacher certification.

The OSEL or Other State Educator License is issued by the ESPB to candidates who have a current teaching license in another state. This license may be a two or five-year certificate and is subject to ESPB evaluation of current credentials.

The Initial In-State License, which is issued to first-time educators, is valid for two years, after which they must prove they have been actively teaching for at least 18 months. Candidates can then apply for the Five Year License.

Educators who have a Two Year North Dakota teacher certification who have renewed once before will need to complete eight hours of professional development to be considered for either renewal or an upgrade to the Five Year License.

Those with a Five Year License are required to earn six hours of professional development to renew their license. It is recommended that all required courses be completed throughout the five-year period so that the certification does not expire.

Advancement opportunities for North Dakota educators often require additional education and training. Candidates who earn a higher degree can add this to their license and can then be considered for other positions within their school district.

North Dakota Teacher Salary and Job Outlook

North Dakota currently has more than 1,000 public and private schools across the state with more than 100,000 students enrolled. The ESPB has developed plans to try to counteract the teacher shortage across the state. This plan includes creating the Alternate Access License that allows individuals who have other degrees to get their certification in an area where there is a shortage of teachers.

The following chart shows the averages for a North Dakota teacher salary, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Teaching Position Average salary
Preschool Teacher $28,260
Kindergarten Teacher $56,790
Elementary Teacher $55,850
Middle School Teacher $61,040

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I get a North Dakota teaching license?

    To get a North Dakota teaching license, individuals must complete at least an undergraduate degree and a teacher preparation program at an accredited college or university. Additionally, they must pass the appropriate certification exams and other requirements outlined by the ESPB.

  • What is a passing score on Praxis in North Dakota?

    The passing score on Praxis in North Dakota depends on which exam an individual is taking. Since there are a number of exams, it is recommended that candidates refer to the ESPB or Praxis website for more information.

  • How do I get certified to teach in North Dakota?

    Getting certified to teach in North Dakota requires at least a Bachelor's degree and completion of an educator preparation program. Candidates are required to take the Praxis exams for the area they wish to teach.

  • Can I become a teacher with bachelor's degree?

    Yes, candidates can become a teacher with a bachelor's degree. If the degree is in education, candidates should also complete an educator preparation program. If the degree is in another subject, candidates can apply for an Alternative Access License if they have an offer from a school district.

  • How much are teachers paid in North Dakota?

    Teachers are paid a range of salaries ($28,000 - $61,000) depending on the specific position at a certain grade level. It is recommended that candidates visit the websites of the school district they wish to teach in to confirm any salary data.