Become a Teacher in North Dakota

North Dakota Highlights

Avg. Elementary School Teacher Salary $47,110
Avg. Secondary School Teacher Salary $48,410
Vacation Weeks per Year 15
Pupil/Teacher Ratio 16.2
Expenditure per Pupil $10,523

Teacher salaries were provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics report.

600 E. Boulevard Avenue, Dept. 201
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0440

North Dakota Teacher Shortage Areas

  • Agriculture Education
  • Art
  • Business & Office Technology/Business Education
  • Career Clusters
  • Computer Education
  • Diversified Occupations
  • Driver and Traffic Safety Education
  • Economics & Free Enterprise
  • English Language Arts
  • Family and Consumer Science
  • Health
  • Health Careers
  • Languages/Native American Languages
  • Marketing Education
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education
  • Technology Education (Industrial Arts)
  • Trade and Industrial Education
  • Vocational Information Technology

Teacher Shortage information was provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Shortage Areas Nationwide Listings for 2016–2017, and was determined by examining the most recent data about unfilled teaching positions; positions filled by teachers certified by irregular, provisional, temporary, or emergency certification; and teachers teaching in subject areas other than their area of preparation.

Steps to Becoming a Teacher in North Dakota

Important Note: Education licensure requirements, statistics and other information are subject to change. makes its best effort to keep content accurate; however, the official sources are the state education departments. Please confirm licensing requirements with your state before applying for licensure or renewal. Last updated: 10/28/2016

To earn an initial teaching certification in the state of North Dakota, teaching candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Step One: Complete a bachelor’s degree and other prerequisite coursework required.
  • Step Two: Complete a state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Step Three: Pass required exams.
  • Step Four: Submit a North Dakota teaching credential application.

Continue below for more information.

Earn Your North Dakota Teaching Credential

To earn your North Dakota teaching credential you will have to complete the appropriate amount of undergraduate coursework and standardized tests, as well as an accredited certification program.

Teacher education programs generally combine both curricula and fieldwork. The curricula typically include instruction on foundational knowledge and skills, pedagogy (or the art and science of teaching), and preparing students to research, design, and implement learning experiences in their field of study. Fieldwork can include student teaching, internships, and field observations.

North Dakota issues a two-year Initial In-State License to first-time applicants and the Five Year Renewal License to applicants who have taught successfully for at least 18 months. Various other licenses exist for special situations.

If you already have a valid teaching credential from another state, you may be eligible to earn your North Dakota credential through interstate reciprocity. See the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board’s Routes to ND Licensure for Out-of-State Educators document for more information.

Learn more about earning your North Dakota teaching credential on the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board or read more about getting your teaching credential on

Step One: Prerequisite Coursework in North Dakota

Certified teachers must have at least a bachelor’s degree to teach in any state. Additionally, some states require specific undergraduate credit hours for certification in the areas of specialty. North Dakota’s undergraduate prerequisites are as follows:

Required for all levels and subjects: A minimum of 22 semester hours of professional education coursework, including coursework in educational foundations, educational psychology, child development, teaching and learning theory, educational diagnosis and assessment, inclusive education, educational technology, classroom and behavioral management, and human relations specific to teaching. Also: 10 weeks of full-time supervised student teaching, and some classroom experience before student teaching.

The major (in elementary education, middle-level education, or content-specific education at all grade levels) requires a minimum of 32 semester hours of coursework specific to the major beyond the introductory level.

  • Elementary Education: 34 semester hours or 50 quarter hours of professional education coursework, including at least 12 semester hours in the teaching of elementary school mathematics, science, social studies, reading, and language arts.
  • Middle-Level Education: Must include study of middle-level foundations, adolescent development, reading in the content areas at the middle level, and special methods of teaching at the middle level. Must hold a minimum equivalent of 24 semester hours of content area preparation and methods in the subject area specializations in which they are teaching.
  • Secondary English/Language Arts: 26 semester or 40 quarter hours of professional education coursework
  • Secondary Mathematics: 26 semester or 40 quarter hours of professional education coursework
  • Secondary History/Social Science: 26 semester or 40 quarter hours of professional education coursework
  • Secondary Science: 26 semester or 40 quarter hours of professional education coursework

Step Two: North Dakota Teacher Certification Programs

Teacher certification programs can be taken online or on-site. They typically include an educational theory and classroom skills seminar and a fieldwork component of student teaching in the area. A list of North Dakota colleges and universities with approved teacher preparation programs can be found on the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board.

Step Three: Required Tests for North Dakota

To become a certified teacher in North Dakota, you must complete and pass a basic skills test as well as any subject area competence assessments for the desired subject matter of instruction.

You can learn more about the Praxis exams by visiting the Praxis information page provided by Teachers Test Prep, where you can also access free online Praxis Practice Tests and Praxis Study Guides, plus a variety of paid Praxis Test Prep options for those who need additional help, including live prep classes, one-on-one tutoring, and on-demand online prep.

Read more about teacher certification tests on

Return to the top

Featured Online Programs

Explore your career options in education:

Boost your credentials: in this 8-week online course, you'll engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective and engaging teaching methods in the higher education context. Refine your own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy and set yourself apart as effective educator.

BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons is the highly respected Master of Science in Behavior Analysis program delivered online from Simmons College. The program prepares students for leadership roles in the rapidly growing field of applied behavior analysis.

Counseling@NYU offers an online master of arts in Counseling and Guidance program, with concentrations in school and bilingual school counseling to prepare students to become collaborative leaders elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. Part-time and full-time options are available to fit student schedules.

Vanderbilt University's Peabody College offers an online Master of Education in human development counseling with a specialization in school counseling for students interested in becoming school counselors and making a meaningful difference in K–12 settings.

The Master of Arts in Teaching degree (MAT) is for aspiring teachers who want to gain the skills and knowledge they need to become great educators.

The online Master of Science in Teaching program prepares aspiring teachers (grades 1-6) for initial teaching certification or dual certification in teaching and special education.

Sponsored Programs

Alternative Certification in North Dakota

Aspiring teachers who received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in an area other than education and have not earned a traditional teaching certificate can still become teachers by earning an alternative teaching certificate and satisfying specific requirements. In North Dakota, a one-year Alternate Access License is issued to individuals who have degrees in content areas where a teacher shortage exists. The teacher then meets coursework requirements while teaching in the classroom.

A one-year Interim Substitute License may be issued to individuals with a minimum of 48 semester hours of college coursework to fill in temporarily during a teacher shortage in a particular area.

In addition, North Dakota is served by The Lewis & Clark Region Troops to Teachers program.

Return to the top

Benefits of a Master's Degree in North Dakota

In the Bismarck Public Schools, beginning teachers who started out with a master’s degree in the field of education earned $5,685 more annually than teachers who started out with a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bismarck Public Schools 2016–2017 Salary Schedule.

Learn more about the benefits of a Master of Arts in Teaching vs. Master of Education on  

Return to the top

Certification Reciprocity in North Dakota

Certification reciprocity is a system that allows teachers certified in one state to work in another. To inquire about your specific situation, contact the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board. For more information, see the reciprocity page.

Return to the top

Financial Aid in North Dakota

North Dakota residents are eligible for North Dakota National Board Certification Funding, the Applegate/Jackson/Parks Future Teacher Scholarship, and the TEACH Grant, a grant that gives financial aid to students in return for an agreement to teach in a high-need field in a low-income area.

Learn more about how to finance your master's degree on

Return to the top

North Dakota Teacher Salary and Incentives

In 2015, North Dakota ranked 34th in the nation for teacher salaries, with an average salary of $52,128, according to the National Education Association’s Rankings of the States 2015. For the 2013–2014 school year, teachers who did not possess a college degree earned an average of $46,204; teachers with bachelor’s degrees earned an average of $44,833; teachers with master’s degrees earned an average of $59,757; and teachers with doctorate degrees earned an average of $95,638, according to the North Dakota Administrative and Instructional Personnel Data in Public Schools report.

Learn more about teacher salaries on

Return to the top

North Dakota Teacher Benefits and Retirement

The North Dakota Retirement and Investment Office oversees the Teachers’ Fund for Retirement (TFFR), which all North Dakota public school teachers automatically become members of. North Dakota teachers receive benefits from TFFR based on a tier system. Tier 1 benefits are awarded to teachers whose years of service and age equal 85 (for example, 55 years old and 30 years of service). Tier 2 benefits are awarded to teachers whose ages and years of service equal 90. North Dakota teachers are eligible for early retirement at 55 years of age. Tier 1 and Tier 2 benefits are quite similar. For more benefits information, see the TFFR Member Handbook.

Learn more about benefits for teachers on

Return to the top

Professional Development for North Dakota Teachers

All schools in North Dakota are required by the Department of Public Instruction to engage in continuous professional development activities; however, the professional development activities or events are left up to the discretion of schools or schools districts, so these activities can vary. Many North Dakota schools participate in group discussion and data charts professional development, in accordance with the national No Child Left Behind Act. To renew an existing license, current teachers must complete a minimum of 4 semester hours of professional development, per the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board.

Return to the top

North Dakota Teaching Jobs

Job Service North Dakota is an extensive online portal containing teaching jobs in North Dakota. Maintained by the North Dakota state government, Job Service North Dakota also publishes news about North Dakota jobs and provides an interactive map that links to job resources that are specific to various North Dakota counties. Before searching the online database, users must register, which is free. After registration is complete, users can browse for teaching jobs by location, salary, school, and specialty.

Learn more about finding a teaching job on

Return to the top

Sponsored Program