North Dakota Alternative Teacher Certification

Alternative teacher preparation programs, also known as non-traditional programs, are designed for those who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and typically lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree. If you don’t already have a bachelor’s degree, visit our guide to traditional certification in North Dakota. Continue reading to learn more about this pathway to licensure.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

Candidates for North Dakota alternative teacher certification must typically have a bachelor’s degree in the subject they wish to teach and be willing to complete a post-graduate teacher preparation program. Candidates must also have an employment offer from a public North Dakota school in order to apply for a license.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in North Dakota

North Dakota offers two main paths to alternative teacher licensing in academic or career and technical subjects. These pathways are designed for those who hold a bachelor’s degree in a teachable subject but have not completed teacher preparation. For more information on these alternatives, contact the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board.

Alternate Access License

The North Dakota Alternate Access License can be issued in any shortage area where a school can not find a regularly-licensed teacher. Candidates for this route to North Dakota licensure must have a bachelor’s degree in the content area they wish to teach and must have an employment offer from a school district to teach that subject. The school district must request the Alternate Access license on the candidate’s behalf. Candidates must complete an acceptable alternative teacher preparation program through a North Dakota university within three years of the issuance of an Alternate Access License. A plan of study for completing this requirement must be submitted with the application for a license.

Once the license is issued, candidates may teach full time while fulfilling the program requirements. After graduating from the teacher preparation program and successfully teaching for at least one year candidates are eligible for initial teacher certification.

Alternate Pathway License – American Board

North Dakota recognizes American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence certification as a pathway to licensure. This pathway to alternative teacher certification in North Dakota is an accelerated program that allows candidates to earn full licensure in as little as two years by meeting licensure requirements while teaching full-time under the mentorship of an experienced teacher. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree.

Testing Requirements for North Dakota Alternative Certification

To qualify for North Dakota teacher licensure candidates must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam, which measures skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. For academic subjects and career and technical education subjects for which a Praxis subject-area exam is available, candidates must also pass the Praxis II.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

An out-of-state candidate can qualify for a two-year Other State Educator license if he or she has an active license in another state, completed a state-approved teacher education program in another state, and meets all of the North Dakota requirements for the desired certificate. Candidates who meet North Dakota’s education requirements but do not hold a license in another state may qualify for an Out-of-State Reciprocal license. For more information, see our teacher certification reciprocity resource or contact the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board.

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in North Dakota

The school-based certification programs below lead to the award of a certificate or master’s degree and have been approved by the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB) for the preparation of teachers. Since programs that are not approved by the ESPB will not qualify graduates for licensure, it’s important to check that the programs you are considering will meet the requirements before enrolling.

  • Dickinson State University (Master’s)
  • Mayville State University* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • North Dakota State University (Master’s)
  • University of Mary (Master’s)
  • University of North Dakota* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • Valley City State University (Master’s)

*Schools with an asterisk offer programs that can include paid classroom placements, subject to qualifications and experience. The student may be responsible for securing their own placement. Contact program(s) of interest for further information.

Additional Resources

1. North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board: https://www.nd.gov/espb/
2. North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education: