The North Dakota Teaching and Certification Resource

Those who wish to teach in North Dakota’s public K-12 schools must first earn certification from the state. The North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board oversees the certification process, which is outlined below for those looking to learn how to become a teacher in North Dakota.

How to Become a Teacher in North Dakota

Like most US states, North Dakota requires all teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree, complete a teacher preparation program, and pass the appropriate content and subject examinations. Those who hold a bachelor’s degree but did not complete a teacher preparation program may be interested in alternative teacher certification in North Dakota.

North Dakota has adopted a tiered licensing structure for teachers. First-time teachers who meet all requirements are eligible for a two-year Initial In-State License. After successfully teaching for 18 months, teachers may upgrade to a license that is valid for up to five years before renewal is required.

Quick Guide

Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in North Dakota

Projected Job Growth


Growth in Teaching Jobs in ND through 20262

Perhaps the most important step towards teacher certification in North Dakota is completing a quality teacher education program at an approved school. To qualify graduates for teacher licensure in North Dakota, a teacher preparation program must be approved for the preparation of teachers by the board of education for the state in which it is located. Visit the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board for information on approved programs. You can also compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs by using the sortable table on our North Dakota schools page.

When evaluating potential schools, it’s also important to confirm that the school is accredited by one of the six regional accreditation agencies overseen by the US Department of Education. This also applies to online and out-of-state programs.

Additionally, schools may hold accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Though CAEP accreditation is not mandatory for North Dakota teacher preparation program approval, it carries a highly respected reputation in the education sector.

North Dakota Teacher Education Requirements

All North Dakota teacher candidates must complete a bachelor’s degree and state-approved teacher preparation program. These programs must include a general studies component, professional studies in education, and content-specific coursework. For certification, the state of North Dakota requires a 2.50 overall grade point average on all college coursework attempted. The bachelor’s degree major must consist of a minimum of 32 credit hours. The coursework requirements vary based on the grade level(s) a candidate seeks to teach; however, all candidates must take an approved course in Native American Studies. For detailed information, consult the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board.

North Dakota Teacher Testing Requirements

North Dakota State SealNorth Dakota is one of the many states that uses the Praxis series of tests for teaching certification. All applicants must pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam. This is a basic skills test that assesses knowledge in reading, writing, and mathematics. Candidates must also obtain a passing score on the Praxis Subject Assessments for the desired area of certification.

Additional North Dakota Teacher Certification Requirements

Prospective teachers applying for North Dakota educator certification for the first time must complete a fingerprint screening for state and federal criminal background checks. Fingerprinting cards can be requested from the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board and official fingerprinting can be done at any authorized law enforcement agency.

North Dakota Teachers Licensing Application Process

Once the steps to North Dakota teacher certification have been completed, candidates should submit their applications to the Education Standards and Practices Board. The following documentation is required:

  • Official transcripts showing proof of bachelor’s degree.
  • Verification of teacher program completion at an approved teacher preparation school.
  • Passing scores on the required Praxis exams.
  • Completed fingerprint card for state and federal background check.
  • Letters of recommendation from recent teaching supervisors.
  • Payment of non-refundable certification processing fee.
  • Completed application for teaching certification in North Dakota.

Initial applications should be submitted online through NDTeach. Visit the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board for further details on teaching certification in North Dakota.

North Dakota Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs

During the 2016-2017 school year, there were 527 K-12 public schools in North Dakota serving an estimated 109,706 students.3 Based on an estimated 9,265 public school teachers, this gave North Dakota a student-to-teacher ratio of 12 to 1.3

Projections estimate that there will be 340 average annual job openings for elementary school teachers, 80 average annual job openings for middle school teachers, and 220 average annual job openings for secondary school teachers in North Dakota through 2026.3 These openings include opportunities due to growth as well as replacement openings as current teachers leave their positions. Elementary school teachers in North Dakota earn an average salary of $55,860, middle school teachers earn an average salary of $60,900, and secondary school teachers earn an average salary of $55,400.4 Visit North Dakota United for regular updates on policy changes, legislation, and job opportunities for educators in North Dakota.

TypeNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers1,220$28,220
Preschool Teachers, Special Education80$56,640
Kindergarten Teachers450$53,440
Elementary School Teachers4,350$55,860
Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School570$56,660
Middle School Teachers1,240$60,900
Middle School Teachers, Special Education180$67,050
Secondary School Teachers2,830$55,400
Secondary School Teachers, Special Education350$58,220
Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education510$57,480

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4

Teacher Shortages in North Dakota

According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, North Dakota broadly has the following shortages5:

  • Administrative (Principal, Superintendent), Pre-K-12
  • Art and Music Education (Art), 9-12
  • Career and Technical Education (Business Technology Education; Career Clusters; Communication Technologies; Computer Science; Engineering Technology; Family and Consumer Science; General; Marketing; Vocational Technology), 9-12
  • Core Subjects (Elementary Education), 1-8
  • Early Childhood (Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education), Pre-K-K
  • ESL Specialist/Consultant (General), Pre-K-12
  • General Shortages (Education General), 9-12
  • Health and Physical Fitness (General), 9-12
  • Language Arts (English), 9-12
  • Mathematics (General), 9-12
  • Science (Biological Sciences; Chemistry; General Science; Earth and Space Science; Physics), 9-12
  • Social Studies (General, Government, History), 9-12
  • Special Education (Administrator; General Curriculum; Hearing Impairment; Interrelated Special Education; Speech and Language Impairment; Visual Impairment), Pre-K-12
  • Special Education (Early Childhood), Pre-K
  • Support Staff (Consultant Facilitator (Instructional/Academic Coach); Education Technology; Learning Specialist; Library/Media Specialist), Pre-K-12
  • Support Staff (Counseling), 7-12
  • World Languages (American Sign Language, French, German, Native American Languages, Spanish), 9-12

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What are the requirements to become a high school teacher in North Dakota?

Answer: High school teachers in North Dakota must be licensed. To qualify for the license, you must have a bachelor’s degree with a teachable major and have completed a teacher preparation program. You must also have participated in at least 10 weeks of student teaching in a secondary classroom and pass a background check as well as the Praxis exams for educators.

Question: Is there a teacher shortage in North Dakota?

Answer: The state of North Dakota reports teacher shortages in many areas including career/technical education, special education, administrative positions such as principals and superintendents, school counseling, and others.5

Question: How do you become a substitute teacher in North Dakota?

Answer: North Dakota offers a license for subs who have at least 48 college credits and can pass a background check. If you are interested in becoming a licensed substitute in North Dakota, you should visit the state’s board of education.

1. North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board: https://www.nd.gov/espb/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, North Dakota: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nd.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/