The South Dakota Teaching and Certification Resource

As in most states, those looking to work as educators in South Dakota’s public education system must earn South Dakota teacher certification. The South Dakota Department of Education oversees the teacher certification process, which is outlined below to help you learn more about how to become a teacher in South Dakota.

How to Become a Teacher in South Dakota

In order to teach in South Dakota, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree and complete an approved South Dakota teacher preparation program. Candidates must also pass the Praxis Principles of Teaching and Learning (PLT) exam appropriate to the grade level to be taught, as well as the Praxis Subject Assessments for the endorsement(s) sought.

Candidates who have earned a bachelor’s degree but did not complete teacher preparation may be eligible for alternative teacher certification in South Dakota.

Those who meet the guidelines outlined above are eligible for an initial five-year teaching certificate. Teachers who earn a master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree or who earn certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) may apply for a 10-year certificate.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in South Dakota

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in SD through 20242

One of the most important steps to South Dakota educator certification is completing a state-approved teacher preparation program at an accredited school. You can view a list of approved programs through the South Dakota Department of Education. Note that schools that are not approved by the Department of Education to offer teacher preparation programs may not qualify graduates for licensure in South Dakota.

Candidates must also complete a bachelor’s degree program at a school accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies which are overseen by the US Department of Education. Candidates completing a bachelor’s degree program out-of-state or online should confirm that the school is accredited by the corresponding regional accreditation agency.

Additionally, most schools will look for accreditation from the nationally recognized Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP accreditation is 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.

South Dakota Teacher Outlook
The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation projects 20 average annual job openings due to growth for elementary school teachers, 10 average annual job openings due to growth for middle school teachers, and 17 average annual job openings due to growth for secondary school teachers in South Dakota through 2024.3 The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that excluding special education, there are about 9,290 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in South Dakota.4 In the state, elementary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $42,510, middle school teachers earn an average annual salary of $43,560, and secondary school teachers earn an average annual salary of $43,530.4 For more information on state education policy and public employment opportunities visit the South Dakota Education Association, a local branch of the NEA.

South Dakota Teacher Education Requirements

Under the traditional route to teacher licensure in South Dakota, candidates must complete a bachelor’s degree as well as an approved teacher education program from an accredited university. South Dakota teacher candidates must also complete an acceptable human relations course and a course on South Dakota Indian studies. To see approved courses for these requirements, refer to the South Dakota Department of Education. Note that South Dakota has a recency requirement that stipulates candidates must have completed six credits of teacher preparation in the last five years. Candidates who have completed education requirements but not within the past five years may qualify for a one-year certificate while they remedy the deficiency.

South Dakota Teacher Testing Requirements

South Dakota State SealTo ensure that all new educators credentialed in South Dakota are highly qualified, prospective teachers in the state must show that they are skilled in their subject area by taking the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) and Praxis Subject Assessments appropriate to their desired certification area.

Additional South Dakota Teacher Certification Requirements

Similar to most US states, anyone looking to work as a teacher in South Dakota must pass a state and federal background check based on fingerprints. However, while any criminal convictions must be disclosed on the application for a teaching certificate, the background check is not usually required to receive a teaching certificate from the state. Instead, the background check process is the responsibility of the hiring school district.

South Dakota Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once all of the steps towards South Dakota teacher certification have been completed, candidates must submit an application with the required documentation, including:

  • Official transcripts showing award of a bachelor’s degree.
  • University recommendation for a teaching certificate, verifying completion of an approved teacher education program.
  • Official Praxis test scores.
  • Completed application form for South Dakota teacher certification.
  • Payment of non-refundable application fee.

Applications may be submited online through the South Dakota Department of Education. Visit the Department of Education for further details on South Dakota teacher certification.

South Dakota Teacher Salary and Jobs

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers1,110$29,550
Preschool Teachers, Special Education40$42,910
Kindergarten Teachers640$40,590
Elementary School Teachers3,850$42,510
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School680$43,550
Middle School Teachers1,970$43,560
Middle School Teachers, Special Education290$44,570
Secondary School Teachers3,470$43,530
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education520$42,760
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education410$44,310

Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4

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: To become a high school teacher in South Dakota you must be certified through the state. A five-year certificate requires the completion of a bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program. Candidates must also pass the Praxis exams required by the state.

Teaching and Education Programs

Searching for Schools...
Matching School Ads

1. South Dakota State Department of Education: http://doe.sd.gov/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation: https://dlr.sd.gov/lmic/menu_projections.aspx
4. US Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, South Dakota https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_sd.htm