South Dakota Teaching Certification

south dakota

Learn how to become a teacher in South Dakota (or administrator). Choose the description of certification you are most interested in or situation that best describes you:

South Dakota Educ. Statistics

Avg. Elem. Teacher Salary $39,350
Avg. Sec. Teacher Salary $39,310
Teacher Retention (?) 95%
Average Admin. Salary $68,120
Vacation Wks/Yr 15

Getting Involved...

Investing in our future is vitally important and strangely difficult. In order to fight oppression from the greedy and power-hungry elite, to better our ways of life with advancing technology, and to increase our country's overall views toward the concept of acceptance, we need education to be a priority. Learn how you can be a spoke in this terribly important wheel. See how South Dakota measures up to the rest of the country by viewing the percentage of state revenue going toward education in each state. (see State Education Spending vs. Overall State Revenue).

Learn AboutYour Governor'sTrack Record
Learn about your Governor's views and voting record with regard to education. (see South Dakota Governor's website).
Give YourKnowledge PowerBy Voting
Hold your public servants accountable. It is our duty as residents of South Dakota.
Help Make Education A Priority 


Initial South Dakota Teaching Certification

The South Dakota Senate recently passed a bill requiring all school districts in the state to have a policy against bullying. Each school’s anti-bullying policy will be locally controlled under this bill, which was supported by the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, the School Administrators of South Dakota and the South Dakota Education Association. With this measure, South Dakota is demonstrating its commitment to creating a safe and positive environment for students and teachers in its public schools. Find schools offering teaching certification programs in South Dakota.


Education Requirements

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If you are an aspiring teacher in South Dakota, the South Dakota Department of Education Office of Teacher Quality ( or 605-773-3134) expects that you’ll complete an approved teacher education program in-state. At least six credits of your teacher preparation program must have been taken during the five years period prior to applying for certification. This program must be at the bachelor’s level, at minimum, and be taken at a college/university that is either accredited by one of the regional accreditation agencies or by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Additionally, after receiving certification, you must take a Human Relations course and a South Dakota Indian Studies course.

Did you attend a teacher education program out-of-state? The South Dakota Department of Education may accept your credits if the school is accredited by one of the regional accreditation agencies or by NCATE. You may have other coursework to complete before receiving full teacher certification.

If you attended a teacher education program in a foreign country, your transcript must be evaluated by a foreign credential evaluation company, listed here, prior to applying for South Dakota teacher certification.

Certification Options

The teaching certificate you are issued is dependent upon your qualifications. You will receive a Five-Year Certificate if you complete educational and examination requirements. If you are lacking in either of these areas, you may receive a One-Year Certificate to give you time to fulfill these requirements. A Ten-Year Certificate is issued if you have a graduate degree or National Board certification.

All teachers must meet core content standards for their area(s) of certification. You can find the standards here.



The Praxis website provides a comprehensive overview of examination requirements for South Dakota teachers.

Basic skills testing:

Your college or university may ask you to pass the Praxis I Basic Skills Exam in Reading, Writing and Mathematics during your teacher education program. The South Dakota Department of Education requires you to pass the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching exam pertinent to your area/grade level of certification.

Content area assessment testing:

You must pass the Praxis II content examination that applies to your area of certification:
  • Early Childhood Regular Education
  • Birth-Preschool Education Endorsement
  • Elementary Education K-8
  • Elementary Education K-8 with 5-8 Middle Level Education
  • Middle Level (Grades 5-8):
    • Language Arts
    • Mathematics
    • Science
    • Social Studies
  • Secondary Education (Grades 7-12):
    • Language Arts:
      • Composite
      • Drama/Theater
      • English Education (Composition/Literature/Speech)
      • Speech/Debate
      • Mass Communications Endorsement
    • Mathematics Education
    • Science Education:
      • Biology
      • Chemistry
      • Earth Science
      • Physical Science
      • Physics
    • Social Science Education:
      • Economics
      • Geography
      • Government and Political Science
      • History
      • Psychology
      • Sociology
  • All Grades (K-12):
    • Art Education
    • Health
    • Music Education (Composite, Vocal and Instrumental)
    • Reading
    • Physical Education
  • World Languages (K-12):
    • French
    • German
    • Spanish
  • Special Education:
    • Early Childhood Special Education
    • Birth-PK Special Education Endorsement
    • Special Education K-12
    • Special Education K-8
    • Special Education Endorsement 7-12
  • Career & Technical Education (Grades 7-12):
    • Agriculture Education
    • Business Education
    • Family & Consumer Sciences
    • Technology Education

Experience Requirements

You will gain valuable practical experience during your South Dakota teacher education program. This will start with a practicum, which will take place in a real classroom in a South Dakota school. Here, you will observe real teachers in action and possibly get the chance to lead the class yourself at times.

Secondly, you will enroll in a student teaching field experience. You will be placed into a classroom congruent with the grade level and subject matter you plan to teach. You will lead the class in instruction, apply classroom management techniques, and perform all other duties a classroom teacher would be expected to perform. Your performance will be assessed and evaluated continuously by certification officials from your school as well as by a mentor classroom teacher.

document application requirements

Document and Application Requirements

Once you have completed the educational, experience and examination requirements, you may apply online for initial teacher certification in South Dakota. You may pay application fees online as well. Additional documents that must be forwarded to the South Dakota Department of Education include:

  • Official college transcripts
  • University Sign-Off, completed by certification officials at your teacher education program
  • Copies of Praxis II score reports

Mail all of the above documents to South Dakota Department of Education, Certification, 800 Governors Dr., Pierre, SD 57501. Once your application has been accepted and finalized, a printable teaching certificate will be emailed to you.


Criminal History Background Check

When you begin student teaching, you will be subject to a criminal background check, initiated by the school district for which you will student teach. Your fingerprints will be taken and submitted through the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). More information on this process will be provided to you by your school.

As part of the teacher certification application process, you will be asked to complete and attest to a conduct review statement. This will state, among other things, that you have not been arrested or charged with a criminal offense. It also authorizes the Department of Education to review any records maintained by the State of South Dakota, Tribal entities and/or the Federal Government.


Contact Information

Contact these certification officials at South Dakota colleges and universities with teacher education programs for more information on studying to become a South Dakota teacher.

Contact the South Dakota Department of Education Office of Teacher Quality at or 605-773-3134 for more information on teacher certification in the state.

**Teacher Retention Sources - U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education, Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey, 1999–2000 (“Public School Teacher Questionnaire,” “Private School Teacher Questionnaire,” and “Public Charter School Teacher Questionnaire”), and 2000–01 Teacher Follow-up Survey (“Questionnaire for Current Teachers” and “Questionnaire for Former Teachers,” Table 1.01). Washington, DC.

State estimations based on analysis by Richard Ingersoll, Professor of Education and Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, from the National Center for Education Statistics Student and Staffing Survey, and therefore include a slight margin of error.