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.
- Early Childhood Education Certificate
- Accelerated Early Childhood Education Bachelor's Degree
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.
- I want to be a teacher in South Dakota, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about South Dakota’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
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.
The Occupational Supply and Demand System projects 473 annual job openings in education and library related fields through 2018. In fall 2008 and 2007, the National Center of Education Statistics listed 9,244 public school and 930 private school teachers employed in South Dakota. The average beginning teaching salary in South Dakota, as reported by the National Education Association, is $34,061 and the average overall teaching salary in South Dakota is $39,850, the lowest average among US states and over $15,000 below the national average. Note that this ranking is not reflective of variant costs of living among US states and should be considered within that context. The NEA cites teacher shortages across the state and particularly in special education, math and sciences. With retirement rates expected to increase in the next several years, now is a promising time to pursue teacher certification. 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
Becoming 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.
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:
- Official transcripts of bachelor’s degree along with any additional coursework
- University sign-off verifying completion of an approved teacher education program
- Copy of Praxis II test scores
- Clearance of criminal background check
- Completed application form for South Dakota teacher certification
- Payment of non-refundable application fee
South Dakota Department of Education
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|
|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.
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.
Teaching and Education Programs
- Master of Arts in Education/Curriculum and Instruction
- A.A. in Education
- M.A. in Education/Secondary Teacher Education
- And more...
- MS in Education (for Existing Teachers Grades K-12)
- MA in Teaching (for Aspiring Teachers Grades 5-12)
- Education, MS - Teaching and Learning
- Career College Administration Graduate Certificate
- Education, Joint MS - MBA (Online)
- And more...
- Global Training and Development - EdS
- E-Learning - EdS
- General Education - Doctor of Education
- And more...
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.