South 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. South Dakota’s colleges and universities offer various pathways to licensure for those who have a bachelor’s degree in a subject other than education. If you don’t already have a bachelor’s degree, see our guide to traditional certification in South Dakota. Continue reading to learn more about alternative routes to teacher certification in the state.

Requirements for Alternative Certification

Candidates for alternative teacher certification in South Dakota must have at least a bachelor’s degree and must also obtain an offer of employment as a classroom teacher with a South Dakota public school prior to pursuing the alternative route program. Candidates must also pass the appropriate Praxis content-area exams for the subjects they wish to teach. Note that alternative certification in South Dakota is only available for endorsements in the secondary grades. Once accepted to South Dakota’s Alternative Certification Program, candidates must complete a teacher preparation program. These programs take two years to complete and may lead to either a post-graduate certificate or master’s degree.

Types of Alternative Teaching Licenses in South Dakota

As of 2019, South Dakota recognized only one alternative route to teacher licensure for most candidates, the Alternative Certification Program.

Alternative Certification Program

Before applying to this program, the applicant must have an offer of employment from a school in South Dakota. To be eligible for the program, the applicant must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a major in the subject he or she plans to teach at the secondary grade levels (for career and technical education subjects, an associate’s degree may be acceptable). The applicant must pass an interview-style screening with a Department of Education coordinator. Admitted candidates will complete an online teacher preparation program through one of South Dakota’s program providers. Candidates have two years in which to complete the program, which may be extended for one year upon review. Candidates must also pass the appropriate Praxis subject-area exam(s) and receive a certification recommendation from their assigned school mentor to qualify for full certification.

Testing Requirements for South Dakota Alternative Certification

As is the case for traditional route educators, alternative route educators in South Dakota must pass the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) and Praxis content-area exam(s) for the endorsement sought. Teacher candidates who have at least two years of full-time teaching experience may be eligible to waive the PLT, but not the subject assessments.

Transferring Teaching Licenses from Another State

Experienced teachers with out-of-state teacher certification may qualify for South Dakota reciprocity if they meet the state’s regular requirements for initial certification and complete a three-credit course in South Dakota Indian Studies as well as a three-credit course in Human Relations, each of which must be on the state’s approved course list. For more detailed information on reciprocity, review our interstate reciprocity resource or contact the South Dakota Department of Education.

Schools with Alternative and Master’s Programs in South Dakota

The following school-based teacher preparation programs lead to a certificate or master’s degree and have been approved by the South Dakota Department of Education (DOE). It’s important to check that any program you are considering meets state requirements, as an unapproved program is unlikely to lead to licensure.

  • Black Hills State University (Master’s)
  • Northern State University (Master’s)
  • University of Sioux Falls* (Alternative, Master’s)
  • University of South Dakota* (Alternative, Certificate, 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. South Dakota State Department of Education: https://doe.sd.gov/