Become a Teacher in South Dakota

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Teaching in South Dakota Snapshot

$42,960Secondary School Teacher Salary
$44,110Elementary School Teacher Salary
$9,939Public School Spending Per Student

All career and salary information pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 pupil expenditure information was provided by Governing


800 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501
(605) 773-3134

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Steps to Becoming a Teacher in South 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: 04/22/2020)


Prerequisite Coursework in South Dakota

Teacher education programs generally consist of two elements: curricula and fieldwork. Curricula includes pedagogy (the science of teaching), instruction on fundamental skills and knowledge, and preparation in designing, researching and implementing learning experiences in particular fields of study. Fieldwork typically includes student teaching, internships and field observations.

To teach in the U.S., teachers must, generally, hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Some states have additional requirements of undergraduate credit hours for certification in specialty areas. South Dakota requires all teacher preparation programs to include South Dakota Indian Studies. South Dakota does not list any other specific course or credit hour requirements, but every college or university teacher preparation program will have requirements of its own. Additionally, there are a few additional course requirements for those pursuing alternative or reciprocal certification. Contact your teacher preparation program or the South Dakota Department of Education for more information.



South Dakota Teacher Certification Programs

To teach in South Dakota, individuals must successfully complete a teacher education program from an accredited college or university. A list of approved teacher preparation programs in South Dakota can be found here.



Required Tests for South Dakota

In many states, to become a certified teacher, you must successfully complete a basic skills test, in addition to subject area competence assessments specific to your area of instruction. Teachers in South Dakota are not required to take a basic skills test, but they must complete the relevant Praxis test as part of their subject area competence assessment. The South Dakota Department of Education maintains a list of the relevant Praxis examinations for each subject area on its website.

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

South Dakota teaching certificates are normally renewable every five years. If you already have a valid teaching credential from another state, you may be eligible to earn your South Dakota credential through the interstate reciprocity.

Learn more about earning your South Dakota teaching credential on the state Department of Education’s website. Get more information about obtaining your teaching credential in general on and Certification Map

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 South Dakota

Those who have earned bachelor’s degrees from accredited colleges or universities in an area other than education and who have not earned a teaching certificate can still teach in South Dakota by obtaining a five-year alternative teaching certificate by fulfilling specific requirements, including on-the-job classroom training; district mentorship and orientation; coursework in teaching management, classroom preparation, South Dakota Indian Studies courses, and more; as well as state Praxis II examinations.

The Lewis and Clark Region Troops to Teachers program also offers an alternative certification pathway for qualified military personnel who wish to make the transition from the armed services to service in public school classrooms.

South Dakota Teacher Certification Information & Links

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Transferring Your Certification

Certification Reciprocity in South Dakota

When applying for their Initial Certificate in South Dakota, teachers with prior contracted teaching experience on a valid out-of-state teaching certificate may submit a Verification of Experience form in lieu of passing a Principles of Learning and Teaching Praxis exam. Besides this, they must meet all other requirements for their Initial Certificate, such as paying the nonrefundable fee, providing official transcripts from all attended postsecondary institutions, and obtaining university sign-off for their teacher preparation program. To inquire about your specific situation, contact the South Dakota Department of Education.

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

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Jobs, Benefits, and Opportunities for Teachers in South Dakota

South Dakota Teaching Jobs

Individuals searching for South Dakota teaching jobs can create a free account and browse available teaching positions through the Associated School Boards of South Dakota’s (ASBSD) Teacher Placement Center. Its database, which is updated daily, enables users to submit resumes to local school district recruiters. Many high-needs schools in South Dakota also recruit through Teach for America and Troops-to-Teachers.

Learn more about finding a teaching job on

South Dakota Teacher Salary and Incentives

According to 2018 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average South Dakota teaching salaries range from $43,000-$44,000, depending on grade level. A recent statute aims to raise statewide average teacher salary to $48,500. According to the state Department of Education, South Dakota teachers who teach in shortage areas may also receive other incentives, such as loan cancellations.

Learn more about teacher salaries on

South Dakota Teacher Benefits and Retirement

South Dakota teacher retirement benefits are provided by the South Dakota Retirement System (SDRS). According to SDRS, teachers in South Dakota with at least three years of service can retire at 65 with full benefits or at 55 for reduced benefits,and teachers whose age and years of service total at least 85 can retire for full benefits at any time. For more information regarding benefits and valuable retirement planning resources, visit the SDRS website.

Learn more about benefits for teachers on

South 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 South Dakota for the 2020-21 school year as reported by the U.S. Department of Education.

  • Art and Music Education
  • Career and Technical Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • Health and Physical Fitness
  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Special Education (Non-Core)
  • World Languages

Financial Aid in South Dakota

South Dakota residents are eligible for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program and the TEACH Grant, which offer financial aid to students in return for agreements to teach in high-need schools.

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

Career Advancement

Professional Development for South Dakota Teachers

The Department also provides professional development resources on its website, including tools, guides, and webinars.

Benefits of a Master's Degree in South Dakota

Although public school teachers are generally not required to have a master's degree in the field of education, educators are increasingly realizing the value of an advanced degree. Since the No Child Left Behind Act and the Every Child Succeeds Act, greater emphasis has been placed on teacher performance, teacher qualifications, and student results in the classroom.

A master’s degree may have a lot of weight in the job market depending on where you are looking, especially since those who hold a master's degree typically make more than those with only a bachelor’s degree.

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

Explore Sponsored Program Options in Education

Featured 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