South Dakota Alternative Teaching Certification Programs
According to a report by the National Center for Education Information, between 1985 and 2009, the South Dakota Department of Education issued only 26 certificates to persons entering teaching through alternative routes. But don't let those numbers stop you. If you would like to make a career change into secondary school teaching, South Dakota offers some viable alternative certification options.
However, those seeking to become elementary school teachers are largely out of luck. The state's two main paths to alternative certification are open only to secondary school candidates.
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It's also worth noting that all teachers, regardless of their certification path, must take a three-credit American Indian studies course and a three-credit human relations course. That's because nine American Indian tribes are located within, or partially within, South Dakota's borders, and American Indians make up a large percentage of the state's minority population.
The South Dakota Department of Education's alternative certification program is open to candidates with a minimum of a bachelor's degree who have received an offer of employment from a state accredited school. Candidates are assigned a district mentor and have a maximum of three years to obtain full professional licensure. They may complete required coursework at a regionally accredited college or university or through an online secondary certification program available at Black Hills State University, Dakota State University, Northern State University, South Dakota State University or the University of South Dakota.
If you'd like to have your tuition costs reimbursed and are willing to teach in a high-need area for at least five years, consider the Northern Plains Transition to Teaching Program. Managed through Montana State University this alternative certification path is open to aspiring secondary school teachers in South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. This is a distance-learning program. Candidates enter the program first and then find placement as a teacher after taking three qualifying courses. Full professional licensure through NPTT takes one to three years to complete.
Schools in South Dakota:
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