The Minnesota Teaching and Certification Resource

The Educator Licensing Division within Minnesota’s Department of Education oversees the Minnesota teacher certification process. Anyone pursuing a teacher certification in the state will have to fulfill certain requirements set by the Division. These requirements are outlined in detail below.

How to Become a Teacher in Minnesota

There are multiple avenues toward Minnesota teacher certification for eligible candidates who would like to start a career as a teacher. Traditionally, prospective teachers will complete an educator-preparation program resulting in a bachelor’s degree or higher from a state-endorsed college or university. Alternatively, professionals who have a bachelor’s degree in another field may be eligible for one of the alternative certification programs offered by the Minnesota Board of Education. These options include an intensive training and mentoring program as well as the relatively new Licensure via Portfolio program.

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Types of Minnesota teacher certifications:

First-Time Full Professional Minnesota Education License. This is available to first time teachers who have completed a Minnesota teacher educator certificate program as well as those looking to work as a school nurse, school social worker, language pathologist, school counselor or school psychologist.
Limited Full Time License. This is available to those who hold at minimum a bachelor’s degree, but have not completed a Minnesota teacher’s certification program. Certain restrictions do apply for this license.
Limited Intern. Temporary license offered in some specific cases.
Two-Year, Short-Call Substitute. Available for those who have a bachelor’s degree, but not in an educational subject. Certain restrictions do apply for this license.
Five-Year, Short-Call Substitute. Available to applicants who have completed a Minnesota teacher certification program, but do not want a full-time teaching license.
Lifetime Short-Call Substitute. Available to retired teachers who have a Minnesota File Folder Number (FFN) and want to teach occasionally or work as a substitute teacher.

In terms of Minnesota reciprocity, teachers with out of state certifications may be eligible for teacher certification in Minnesota based on certain requirements. Out of state teachers and those looking for information on certification renewal should contact the state’s DOE.

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Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Minnesota

Perhaps the most important step to obtaining a teacher certification in Minnesota is completing a quality teacher educator certification program at an accredited school.

When evaluating Minnesota teachers certification program options, all teaching applicants should confirm that their chosen program is offered at a school that is accredited by the state’s regional accreditation organization. The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) is responsible for the accreditation of all Minnesota schools.

Additionally, teaching applicants should also look for a Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness or CAEP accreditation when deciding on teacher programs. CAEP is the result of the recent merger of two formerly separate, but highly regarded accreditation bodies, NCATE and TEAC. Although an accreditation from CAEP may not be mandatory for state approval, most schools will apply for this accreditation because it is seen as a marker of high quality curriculum and process within the educator preparatory sector.

In order to be approved for a Minnesota teacher certificate, teaching applicants must confirm whatever school they choose to attend is in good standing the NCA and ideally, CAEP. Anyone considering online teaching certification should also confirm that the school is accredited, even if it is headquartered out of state.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Minnesota.

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Minnesota Teacher Education Requirements

Like most states, Minnesota educator certification requires prospective teachers to complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and a teacher-preparation program before they can be granted an official teaching license. A new exception to this rule is the Licensure via Portfolio program. Although a bachelor’s degree is still required with this option, the candidate’s professional skills and experience are the basis for certification and may obviate the need for a formal teacher preparation program. Licensed teachers may also need to continue their education either formally or through professional development opportunities offered by their state or district in order to maintain or upgrade their current teaching certificate.

Additionally, The state’s Department of Education requires something that is referred to as the Human Relations requirement. This step towards Minnesota teacher certification means that all new teachers must be able to show evidence of the following:

  • Understanding the contributions and lifestyles of the various racial, cultural, and economic groups in our society
  • Recognizing and dealing with dehumanizing biases, discrimination, and prejudices
  • Creating learning environments that contribute to the self-esteem of all persons and to positive interpersonal relations
  • Respecting human diversity and personal rights
  • The study of American Indian language, history, government, and culture

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Minnesota Teacher Outlook as of 2014
The Occupational Supply & Demand System projects 630 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 210 average annual openings for middle school teachers, and 440 average annual openings for secondary school teachers in Minnesota from 2012 through 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 50,100 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Minnesota excluding teachers in special education (2013). Elementary school teachers make an average annual salary of $61,070, middle school teachers make an average annual salary of $62,390, and secondary school teachers make an average annual salary of $59,840 (BLS 2013). For updates on budget allocation and education policy, visit Education Minnesota.

Minnesota Teacher Testing Requirements

Minnesota State SealCandidates seeking Minnesota teaching certification must undergo basic skills, pedagogical, and subject area testing via the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE). All candidates seeking initial certification regardless of the grade level and content area must take the Basic Skills and Pedagogy test. These tests assess the candidate’s knowledge of fundamentals in reading, writing, math, and principles of teaching and learning. In addition, candidates for certification must take a Content Area test which is determined by the subject area and grade level the candidate wishes to teach.

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Additional Minnesota Teacher Certification Requirements

Like most US states, Minnesota requires all applicants applying for Minnesota teacher licensing to submit to a federal and state background check through fingerprinting.

Minnesota Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once all of the requirements for a Minnesota teacher certification are met, applicants must send in all of the information to the Department or they may submit their applications online. The Minnesota Teacher Certification Office gets very busy during the summer monts, so it’s recommended to send in all information three to four months in advance of your estimated date of employment. The required steps to become a teacher in Minnesota are as follows:

  1. Submission of fingerprints for background check
  2. Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree
  3. Proof of teacher program completion at an accredited teacher preparation school
  4. Completed application for teaching certification in Minnesota
  5. Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee
  6. Passing scores on required examinations

Minnesota Department of Education
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville MN 55113
651 582 8200

Contact the Minnesota Department of Education for further information on teaching certification in Minnesota.

Minnesota Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 6,260 $31,590
Kindergarten Teachers 2,960 $53,730
Elementary School Teachers 25,780 $60,230
Middle School Teachers 8,850 $60,670
Secondary School Teachers 15,070 $58,210

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

Teaching and Education Programs

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1. Minnesota State Department of Education: http://education.state.mn.us/mde/index.html
2. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000

Page edited by Charles Sipe.