The South Dakota Teaching and Certification Resource

South Dakota is a great place to work as a teacher. Like most states, anyone looking to work in the education system must hold a South Dakota teacher certification. There are various pathways that lead to certification, depending on education and experience. The South Dakota Department of Education oversees the teacher certification process, which is outlined in detailed below.

How to Become a Teacher in South Dakota

In order to teach in South Dakota, a candidate must obtain a South Dakota teacher certification by fulfilling the state requirements. Like most US states, South Dakota requires all state educators to hold a bachelor’s degree, complete a South Dakota teachers certification program and pass the required examinations.

South Dakota offers certification in areas similar to other states – elementary education (which covers grades K-8), secondary education (which covers grades 7-12), special education, and K-12 areas (e.g., art, music, foreign language). First time teachers can only apply for the Initial certificate.

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For experienced teachers with out-of-state teacher certification, South Dakota reciprocity is permitted granted applicants fulfil the remaining requirements. For more detailed information on reciprocity or about the South Dakota teacher certification renewal process, contact the state’s Certification Office.

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in South Dakota

One of the most important steps to South Dakota educator certification is completing a state-approved teacher preparation program at an accredited school. US schools are accredited by six regional accreditation agencies, which are overseen by the US Department of Education. South Dakota schools are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). All applicants evaluating teacher certification programs should confirm that their chosen school is NCA certified. Candidates looking for online teaching certification programs should confirm that the host school is accredited by the corresponding regional accreditation agency.

Additionally, most states will look for an accreditation from the national recognized Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness or CAEP. CAEP is a newly formed organization that is the result of a recent merger between TEAC and NCATE, two highly regarded accreditation organizations. Under the new name, CAEP will continue to be a marker of high quality and rigorous standards in terms of curriculum and process in the teacher preparation sector.

See our list of CAEP accredited schools in South Dakota.

Quick Guide

South Dakota Teacher Education Requirements

Many applicants for a South Dakota teaching certification follow the traditional route to licensure. These applicants have completed an approved teacher education program from an accredited university. If an applicant has completed such a program, completed six credit hours within the last five years, and passed the appropriate Praxis II exam for the desired certificate, he or she can receive an initial teaching certificate. Each time a teacher in South Dakota wishes to renew his or her license, six credit hours of education courses must be earned. South Dakota teacher candidates must complete a human relations course and a course on South Dakota Indians studies.

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South Dakota Teacher Outlook as of 2014
The Occupational Supply & Demand System projects 130 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 60 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 100 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in South Dakota from 2012 to 2022. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that excluding special education, there are about 9,270 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in North Dakota (2013). In the state, elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $40,400, middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $41,140, and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $40,530 (BLS 2013). For more information on state education policy and public employment opportunity please visit the South Dakota Education Association, a local branch of the NEA.

South Dakota Teacher Testing Requirements

South Dakota State SealBecoming a teacher in South Dakota does not require a basic skills test such as the Praxis I. However, applicants must show that they are competent in their subject area by taking the Praxis II exam in their desired certification area. This exam contains sections on general education knowledge and skills as well as subject-specific topics.

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Additional South Dakota Teacher Certification Requirements

Similar to most US states, anyone pursuing teaching certification in South Dakota mus pass a state and federal background check through the process of submitting fingerprints. The fingerprinting process can be completed by the submission of fingerprint cards to the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

South Dakota Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once all the steps towards South Dakota teacher certification have been completed, applicants should send in their application packet with the required documentation. Processing time can take up to ten weeks in the summertime, so it’s recommended to send in applications with ample time. The following documents are required:

  1. Official transcripts of bachelor’s degree along with any additional coursework
  2. University sign-off verifying completion of an approved teacher education program
  3. Copy of Praxis II test scores
  4. Clearance of criminal background check
  5. Completed application form for South Dakota teacher certification
  6. Payment of non-refundable application fee

South Dakota Department of Education
Certification Office
800 Governors Dr.
Pierre, SD 57501

Visit the state’s Department of Education for further details on South Dakota teacher certification.

South Dakota Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 930 $29,180
Kindergarten Teachers 540 $38,780
Elementary School Teachers 3,930 $39,900
Middle School Teachers 1,940 $40,310
Secondary School Teachers 3,480 $40,070

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

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Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in South Dakota

Question: What are the requirements to become a high school teacher in South Dakota?

Answer: The requirements for being a high school teacher in South Dakota include being certified through the state. A one-year certificate can be earned by having a bachelor’s degree with education coursework. To get a five-year certificate requires the same, but also passing the Praxis II test.

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1. South Dakota State Department of Education: http://doe.sd.gov/
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.