Become a Teacher in North Dakota

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Teaching in North Dakota Snapshot

$56,250Secondary School Teacher Salary
$55,630Elementary School Teacher Salary
$13,760Public School Spending Per Student

All career and salary information pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 pupil expenditure information was provided by Governing's most recent data 2016


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

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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 update: 04/27/2020)


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: Professional education coursework is required in order to become licensed as a teacher in North Dakota. Coursework requirements can be met by attending a state approved teaching program. Supervised student teaching, and some classroom experience before student teaching, are also required in order to become licensed as a teacher in the state of North Dakota.

The major (in elementary education, middle-level education, or content-specific education at all grade levels) requires coursework specific to the major beyond the introductory level. Certification options include:

  • Early Childhood
  • Kindergarten
  • Elementary Education
  • Secondary Education

Also, content areas for PreK to Grade 12 certification include:

  • Art
  • Foreign Language
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Computer Education


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



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 Teach.coms' Ultimate Guide to the Praxis Exams and read more about teacher certification tests on

Initial Teaching Certifications

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

Discover an 8-week Online Teaching Short Course from Harvard's Bok Center

Learn more about an 8-week short course from Harvard's Bok Center

Earn recognition of your ability to develop and deliver a memorable teaching experience when you receive a premier certificate from Harvard’s Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, in association with HarvardX, upon successful course completion.


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 two-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.

An Initial Alternate Pathway License is also available for those who have met American Board for North Dakota licensure requirements.

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

North Dakota Teacher Certification Information & Links

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Transferring Your Certification

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.

To find out what other state teaching licenses can be used in North Dakota, check out our Teacher Certification Reciprocity page on

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Jobs, Benefits, and Opportunities for Teachers in North Dakota

North Dakota Teaching Jobs

The State Of North Dakota Department of Education’s website aims to develop and administer human resources information for easy access by current and prospective teachers. The state also maintains the site North Dakota Council of Educational Leadership which is home of the most complete job listing service for North Dakota’ schools.

Learn more about finding a teaching job on

North Dakota Teacher Salary and Incentives

In 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, North Dakota teachers earned an average of around $55,000-$56,000 per year, depending on grade level taught. North Dakota plans to reinstate their loan forgiveness program for teachers serving in high need areas in 2021.

Learn more about teacher salaries on

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

North Dakota Teacher Shortage Areas

A teacher shortage occurs when there are not enough teachers in key subject areas, which has been partly caused by years of teacher layoffs during the Great Recession, a growing student population and fewer people entering teacher preparation programs, according to the Learning Policy Institute.

The following is a list of teacher shortage areas in North Dakota for the 2020-2021 school year as reported by the U.S. Department of Education

  • Art
  • Early Childhood Teacher (PK)Elementary Teacher (K-8)
  • English as a Second Language
  • General Shortages
  • Health and Physical Fitness
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education
  • Counseling
  • Academic Coach
  • Learning Strategist
  • Education Technology
  • World Languages

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

Career Advancement

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 school 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 6 semester hours of professional development, per the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board.

Benefits of a Master's Degree in North Dakota

In Fargo Public Schools, with a master’s degree in the field of education earned $1,000 to $11,000 more annually than teachers with a bachelor’s degree, depending on years of experience, according to the Fargo Public Schools 2019-2021 Salary Schedule.

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

Explore Sponsored Program Options in Education

Sponsored Online programs
University Name Type of Program Program Description
University of Southern California Master of Arts in Teaching The online Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from the USC Rossier School of Education prepares you to become a transformative K–12 teacher. Through live online classes and enriching field experiences in your community, you can earn your MAT in less than 18 months without relocating.
Harvard University's Bok Center Advanced Certification in Teaching The 8-week Teaching and Learning Strategies for Higher Education online short course is delivered by Harvard’s Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, in association with HarvardX. Students in this course will engage deeply with the most relevant research on effective teaching methods in the higher education context, while refining their own practices, portfolio, and teaching philosophy.


Last Updated May 2020