The Minnesota Teaching and Certification Resource

Those who wish to teach in K-12 public schools in Minnesota must first earn teacher certification. The Educator Licensing Division within Minnesota’s Department of Education 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.

Quick Guide

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 Department of Education.

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.

Minnesota Teacher Outlook
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

Minnesota State SealThe 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 Minnesoda Department of Education online licensing system. Contact the Minnesota Department of Education for further information on teaching certification in Minnesota.

Minnesota Teacher Salary and Jobs

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers6,470$34,770
Preschool Teachers, Special Education670$59,760
Kindergarten Teachers3,060$56,390
Elementary School Teachers27,370$59,840
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School4,510$56,810
Middle School Teachers10,700$61,560
Middle School Teachers, Special Education1,330$62,380
Secondary School Teachers20,100$63,360
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education3,200$63,440
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education400$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 Department of Education website.

Teaching and Education Programs

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1. Minnesota Department of Education: http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/EdExc/Licen/
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