North Dakota Alternative Teacher Certification

The pathways to alternative teacher licensing in North Dakota allow candidates who have a bachelor’s degree and wish to teach in critical shortage areas or technical areas the opportunity to complete teacher preparation and become fully certified in the state. Requests for these types of licenses are typically completed by an official from the school system in which the candidate has been hired to teach.

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 critical shortage area. Though shortage areas change from year to year, for the 2015-2016 school year the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board declared that all teaching content/degree areas are considered shortage areas due to a severe teacher shortage in the state.

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. 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.

Transition to Teaching/Clinical Practice

The North Dakota Transition to Teaching/Clinical Practice pathway to alternative teacher certification in North Dakota is an accelerated program that allows candidates to earn full licensure in as little as one year. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in either an academic shortage area or have qualifications and experience in a career and technical subject area. Those pursuing this pathway must also hold an interim/emergency license or provisional credential as well as a contract to teach in a secondary school in North Dakota.

Prospective teachers admitted to the program complete at least one year of teacher preparation, which is jointly administered by the North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education and Valley City State University. While completing coursework, candidates also teach full-time under an assigned mentor. Each teacher admitted to the program receives an individualized plan of study to qualify for licensure in his or her content area; depending on the individual’s qualifications, more than one year of coursework may be required.

Graduates of the program are eligible for standard initial licensure in North Dakota. For more information, contact the North Dakota Department of Career and Technical Education.

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 II 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 Out-of-State Reciprocal License if he or she has completed an 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 and hold a valid teaching certificate from another state may qualify for an Other State Educator License (OSEL). For more information, see our teacher certification reciprocity resource or contact the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board.

Additional Resources

Schools with Alternative Certification Programs in North Dakota

Because the alternative certification process is complex, we have researched and provided specific school programs below for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree outside of education and want to become a teacher. We recommend you request information from one or more of these specific programs:

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