The Minnesota Teaching and Certification Resource
Those who wish to teach in K-12 public schools in Minnesota must first earn teacher certification. The Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) oversees the Minnesota teacher certification process. The requirements are outlined below to help you learn how to become a teacher in Minnesota.
How to Become a Teacher in Minnesota
Prospective Minnesota teachers must complete a bachelor’s degree and an educator preparation program from a college or university approved by the state. Prospective teachers must also complete the National Evaluation Series (NES) Essential Academic Skills Test and the state’s series of content and pedagogy assessments for educators, the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE).
Professionals who have a bachelor’s degree but did not complete traditional teacher preparation may be eligible for alternative teacher certification in Minnesota.
- I want to be a teacher in Minnesota, 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 Minnesota’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.
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Minnesota
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in MN through 20242
Perhaps the most important step towards earning teacher certification in Minnesota is completing a quality teacher preparation program at an approved school. A list of approved programs that qualify graduates for licensure in Minnesota is available through the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB).
When evaluating bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program options, prospective teachers should confirm that the programs considered also hold accreditation from one of the six regional accreditation agencies recognized by the US Department of Education.
Additionally, schools may also hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Although accreditation from CAEP is not mandatory for state approval, this accreditation is seen as a marker of high standards for teacher preparation.
See our list of CAEP accredited schools in Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development projects 44 average annual job openings due to growth and 612 average annual job openings due to replacements for elementary school teachers, 15 average annual openings due to growth and 215 average annual openings due to replacements for middle school teachers, and 31 average annual openings due to growth and 458 average annual openings due to replacements for secondary school teachers in Minnesota from 2014 through 2024.3 The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are 58,170 elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers in Minnesota, excluding teachers in special education.4 Elementary school teachers in the state make an average annual salary of $59,840, middle school teachers make an average annual salary of $61,560, and secondary school teachers make an average annual salary of $63,360.4 For updates on budget allocation and education policy, visit Education Minnesota.
Minnesota Teacher Education Requirements
To earn Minnesota teacher certification, prospective teachers must complete a minimum of a bachelor’s degree as well as an approved teacher preparation program. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Education requires teacher candidates to take an approved course in human relations from a Minnesota college or university. Most candidates will complete this coursework as part of the teacher preparation program curriculum.
Minnesota Teacher Testing Requirements
The Minnesota Department of Education has adopted the National Evaluation Series (NES) Essential Academic Skills Test to measure candidates’ basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics and also administers the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLE) to assess candidates’ teaching skills and content area knowledge. All prospective educators seeking initial certification must take the Essential Academic Skills Test and the MTLE general pedagogy test, which measures skills in the principles of teaching and learning. In addition, candidates must take the MTLE content area test aligned to the subject area(s) and grade level(s) they wish to teach.
Additional Minnesota Teacher Certification Requirements
Like most US states, Minnesota requires all candidates applying for Minnesota teacher licensing to complete a federal and state background check based on fingerprinting. Instructions on completing the fingerprinting requirement are provided through the state’s online licensing system.
Minnesota Teachers Licensing Application Process
Once all of the requirements for Minnesota teacher certification are met, candidates must submit an application for a teaching license. The required documents are as follows:
- Completed fingerprint cards for background check.
- Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree.
- Proof of program completion at an approved teacher preparation school.
- Completed application for teaching certification in Minnesota.
- Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee.
- Passing scores on the required examinations.
Applications should be submitted online through the Minnesota Department of Education online licensing system. Contact the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) for further information on teaching certification in Minnesota.
Minnesota Teacher Salary and Jobs
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||670||$59,760|
|Elementary School Teachers||27,370||$59,840|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||4,510||$56,810|
|Middle School Teachers||10,700||$61,560|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||1,330||$62,380|
|Secondary School Teachers||20,100||$63,360|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||3,200||$63,440|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||400||$58,390|
Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2015.4
Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Minnesota
Question: What courses do I need to take to become a teacher in Minnesota?
Answer: In addition to completing a state-approved teacher preparation program, teaching candidates in Minnesota must pass an approved human relations course. Candidates must also earn the specified number of content hours in the subject(s) they wish to teach to qualify for a license in that subject area. For a detailed breakdown of required hours by license type, consult the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB) website.
Teaching and Education Programs
1. Minnesota Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board (PELSB): https://mn.gov/pelsb/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
3. Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development: https://mn.gov/deed/data/data-tools/employment-outlook/
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Minnesota: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_mn.htm