Minnesota Alternative Teacher Certification

Jan 02, 2019

The path to becoming a full-time teacher in Minnesota is not necessarily a straight one, and plenty of options exist if you don't have an education degree or even student teaching experience. Check out how you can become a teacher through alternative means!

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While Minnesota requires teachers to be licensed for full-time employment and contracts, a full teacher education program may not be necessary, depending on qualifications. In fact, examinations can also be skipped in favor of professional experience.

Alternative Requirements for Minnesota Teacher Certification

Average Salary for Teachers in Minnesota (2017)* $58,790 (Kindergarten), $63,490 (Elementary), $64,780 (Middle), $65,290 (Secondary)
Required Degree Bachelor's; master's can be substituted for teacher preparation program
Degree Field Varies with professional experience
Testing Requirements Not necessary with proper training and/or work experience

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Alternative Education Requirements for Minnesota Teacher Certification

Regardless of subject area, all teachers in Minnesota absolutely must have a bachelor's degree, even if it isn't in the education field. Normally, all future teachers in Minnesota are required to undergo a proper teacher education program, which includes a student teaching experience. However, other options are available for those who have taken a different path in their education. For example, a master's degree can be substituted for student teaching when applying for a Tier 2 License in Minnesota. You could, for example, teach classes with a Master of Science in Athletic Training. Courses in this program can include pathology and medical conditions, general medical assessment, and therapeutic interventions.

Educators could also get into teaching without a master's, having taken at least eight upper-division credits in a subject area. For instance, while earning a bachelor's in another field, potential teachers could choose to minor in computer information science. Upper division credits are taken in web applications and user interface design, introduction to networking, and introduction to software engineering.

Alternative Requirements in Testing for Minnesota Teacher Certification

Typically, educators are required to pass the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examinations (MTLEs) in several key areas. One exam that cannot be bypassed is the MTLE Essential Academic Skills (EAS) test. Consisting of three subtests in mathematics, reading, and writing, this general assessment is a basic requirement for all full-time educators in the state of Minnesota. All three sections contain multiple-choice questions, and the writing subtest also contains a long-form writing assignment. The three sections do not have to be taken concurrently, but all three must be passed to receive credit for passing the entire exam.

In lieu of taking the pedagogy tests, teachers coming from an alternative/non-traditional path can take the content-area test in their field. A wide variety of subjects exist in the MTLE tests, including business, life science, and visual arts. With the exception of the world language exams, all content-area tests contain two multiple-choice subtests, and passing scores of 240 are required on each subtest to be considered a pass.

Licensing Alternatives for Minnesota Teachers

Minnesota contains two other kinds of licenses for teachers who have not undergone a teacher preparation program. A Tier 1 license can be obtained by anyone with a bachelor's degree, but this license must be jointly applied for by the teacher and state. This license is good for one whole year and can be renewed up to three times, although there may be cases where more renewals are granted. It is important to note that unlike all other licenses, Tier 1 does not grant teachers continuing contract rights, and thus, they are not included in the bargaining unit.

Tier 2 licenses are for teachers who have a bachelor's degree, and if they are lacking a teacher preparation program, a master's degree as well. If a teacher has neither a master's nor has completed a teacher education program, they will need two of the following prerequisites:

  • Eight upper-division credits in a given subject area
  • Training in area-specific teaching methods
  • Passing scores on state tests in an experienced area
  • Two or more years of experience teaching in an appropriate subject area

All teachers must go through a background check by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Additional Resources for Alternative Minnesota Teaching Certification

If you plan to take the MTLE Content-Area Tests, Study.com has you covered! Our database of study guides includes review material for many content-area tests, including the ones listed below:

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